Le Panoptique

Perspectives sur les enjeux contemporains | More Perspective on Current International Issues

The Real ‘War on Christmas’, or, O’Reilley & Co.: Evil Hypocrite Stooges

Publié le 5 novembre, 2008 | Pas de commentaires

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“It took months for the 58-year-old woman from Kindu to reach Rutshuru hospital for treatment and to tell her story. The Mai Mai shot her husband when he didn’t have any money to hand over. When her children screamed they shot them too. Then the woman was raped by five men. One of her attackers nearly destroyed her womb by thrusting his gun into it. She fled her village. As she travelled to Rutshuru she was raped again, this time by Rwandan Hutu extremists who fled to Congo after leading the genocide in their own country…Hers is not an unusual account from survivors of villages in eastern Congo subjected to repeated attacks in which women and girls were serially raped and the men killed.”

“Like many children in this war-ravaged country, Imani looks younger than he is. He said he had spent much of his childhood in flight from the latest armed group swarming into his hometown, Walungu. The gnawing hunger of life on the run has left him stunted, a little more than four feet tall….The worst is Thursday, when the soldiers come. For boys like Imani, the tax is 500 francs, about a dollar. But that is a whole day’s wages. When he does not have the money, he runs into the forest to hide. ‘If you don’t pay they will kill you,’ he said. Although Imani wants to leave, he has no money to pay the taxes along the road. And his creditors would send soldiers to arrest him if he tried to escape. ‘I can’t go home,’ he said.”
“These [mine] workers sometimes toil in 48-hour shifts in narrow, airless tunnels, with no safety gear beyond their dim headlamps. Because there is no industrial equipment or electricity here, the tunnels are built by hand and lined with wood. Cave-ins are common, and toxic gases fill the tunnels at times, sickening workers. It is impossible to say how many workers have been injured or killed because there are no authorities here to keep track.”

So, raw despair, hopelessness in Congo, which each year exports billions of dollars in petroleum and diamonds, timber, sugar, coffee and cocoa, whose major trading partners are the seven richest countries in the world.

In what I consider a related story, we learn – because of a recent scandal in which taxpayers were defrauded of up to 100 million euros in an illegal land swap – that the autonomous Monastery of Vatopedi on Mount Athos, has an investment portfolio of 90 million euros. Not to mention the billions controlled by the Vatican, which has it’s own “Banco Espiritu Sancti” to run it’s worldwide interests, or the sons of Calvin in Geneva who preside over illegal fortunes stolen by tyrants and criminals through the decades. These stories are related because they shine a revelatory light on the history of the ‘Christian West’, which prefers to hold the cross in one hand and a sword in the other, ready to wage any war in defense of oil, to justify any travesty of human rights in support of “free markets”, which continue to make more enormous the chasm between the superrich 1% and the billions who live in the direst poverty and oppression around the globe.

It’s the real War on Christmas, where Wall Street fatcats smirk as they walk to their private jets with billions in taxpayer dollars, while the people on whom they’ve battened perish in hopelessness while being reported on in the front pages of the New York Times and the Guardian. Where are the imperatives of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, when trillions are at stake? When you hear those paid mouthpieces of the rich and powerful shouting about the exalted history and sacred traditions of the Christian West, remind them of Congo. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”. (Luke 23:34) That is, in the heart of darkness.

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