From the start of his 40th apostolic journey, Pope Francis spoke out against the multiple forms of exploitation carried out in Africa and more specifically in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he arrived this Tuesday, January 31 afternoon. On this occasion, I also have words to address to him.
To Pope Francis, successor of Saint Peter
January 31, 2023
Subject: Cry of the Heart
His Holiness, Successor of Saint Peter, Apostle of Jesus Christ, 266th Pope of our Catholic Church,
I welcome you to our home [Mille mercis pour ce geste très symbolique de compassion et historique]and share with you my three issues on the persistence of violent conflicts in the DRC without taboos: the history and consequences of the violence in the DRC, security and judicial governance.
1. Your visit is timely, remarkable and comforting in our sorrows!
5.4 million deaths over the period 1997-2008 according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), from 2008 to 2023, 15 years later of activism by non-state armed groups the statistics have evolved towards 10 million Congolese souls having perished in what some hesitate to call genocide.
As I enter this text, the weapons crackle 70km from Goma where I am. Detonations with heavy weapons, thefts, kidnapping, rape and starvation, the direct and indirect victims are countless! The Presbytery was vandalized and the Parish of the city of Kitshanga in the Territory of Masisi desecrated in January 2023, there are also reports of killings of children and women by the enemies of peace, the rebels of the Movement of March 23, 2009/RDF Rwandan army, whose clear specifications remain unknown to this day. In Beni, nearly 15 Christians of the Church of Christ in Congo perished in a bomb attack trapped by ADF rebels recently. In Ituri, nearly 80 civilians were killed in the space of two months, an attack attributed to the CODECO rebels.
6 million of my compatriots (51% of whom are women) find themselves without adequate assistance in host families and sites for displaced persons in North Kivu and Ituri, while more than 900,000 are refugees. It should be noted that more than 80% of these displacements are due to attacks and armed clashes.
This difficult situation has been going on for almost 30 years. There is a generation (my own) that was born in war, grew up in war but resolved not to die in war; by deciding to act for the construction of lasting peace through civic and patriotic actions.
In your capacity as Pastor and Head of State of the Vatican, I beg you to carry this people in your daily prayers and to plead our cause at the international level so that international justice takes head on our ultimate request to have an International Criminal Tribunal to judge the heinous crimes that have gone unpunished in the DRC for ages.
2. Exorcize us from the wait-and-see attitude that haunts us and pushes us too often to outsource our security and social services!
My Pastor, there are modes of governance in my country that are causing our founding fathers Lumumba and Kimbangu to turn in the grave. For ages, more than 52 nationalities have been listed in the various forces of [ l’insécurité oh pardon que dis-je ] peace working alongside the FARDC loyalist forces and other foreign forces invites itself nowadays to the great displeasure of the population who endures the atrocities that the latter document perfectly with illustrative photos!
Some observers have managed to demonstrate that certain armed groups are created as a result of the high rate of unemployment among the active population. Thus, a strategy was thought of disarmament, demobilization and community recovery aimed at the significant reduction of militias and internal rebel groups however; the implementation of this ambitious program is stalled due to a lack of priority planning and budget! At the same time, the average citizen notes not without regret that the way of life of the institutions has not changed into austerity!
In 2022, the OCHA organization declared the Congolese humanitarian crisis to be the 1st humanitarian crisis in the world. The national budget allocated to the humanitarian response does not meet the expectations of populations in need. Food and non-food distributed to displaced compatriots, a large quantity is imported and despite this, it is not enough and is not permanent. The number of Congolese children, women and men in need of housing, care, water, sanitation, education, food and security in displacement sites continues to increase in indifference national and international disconcerting! There is urgency, rapid solidarity, the people of God are martyred.
3. National justice, we notice an insolent impunity!
Our executioners of yesterday whiten themselves by integrating the political world; [soit disant au nom de la paix] getting elected through electoral campaigns ATMs (ATMs) instead of promoting PSVs (Valiant Society Projects & Visions as a pledge of social transformation).
The few social actors/actresses who launch themselves with a priestly vocation and dedication to the service of the general interest are not audible and their innovative ideas for reforming the defense system, for example, are engulfed in the face of the deafening din of chimerical promises without indicators from sellers. dreams. For a culture of electoral maturity, our Church will commit to changing this paradigm.
Holy Father, the theme of your tour “All reconciled in Jesus Christ” is very eloquent. The DRC is in favor of pardon reconciliation but promotes transitional justice. For a long time this land of the blessed [dont je sollicite leur canonisation par votre passage au regard de leur intercession efficace au peuple de Dieu] Bakanja and Nengapeta has been subject to international predation of our land and soil resources, by multinational corporations who go so far as to ignore the human rights of Our Creator’s precious souls just for gain.
This preaching is also significant in the rest of the world because the phenomenon of African migrants risking their lives to shelter themselves from poverty in the West has its origins in this neocolonialism of thought which leads to an essence of acculturation of the imaginary. African collective.
The holy scriptures say Matthew 5.9: “Blessed are the peacemakers because they will be called sons of God “May the human being who listens to you in the DRC and in all humanity keep in golden letters these words of value to finally smell the pipe of peace and experience shared happiness!
May your stay on the blessed ground of God #DRC be excellent, rich in learning and filled with a commitment to all-out support for the vulnerable and voiceless.
Made in Goma,
Written by Chantal Faida Mulenga-byuma,