Kristallnacht, Conflict, and the Congo

It seems quite fitting that on the eve of the 71st anniversary of Kristallnacht, Monique and I attended a staged reading of RUINED at the Kennedy Center in D.C. Written by award winning playwright Lynn Nottage, RUINED is a powerful presentation raising awareness of the current conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

On days like Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance day) or the anniversary of Kristallnacht, it is easy to think of ourselves as being far removed from genocide, conflict, and tyranny. It is far too easy to think of these things as only happening in the past.

But genocide is happening today – in Sudan and in the Congo. And as far as the Congo, this conflict is fueled by us – you and me – directly by our cell phones, iPods, and other technology. Congo is rich in minerals. With the increased desire for greater technology comes a direct need for minerals – especially Coltan. As such, various militias are fighting over control of these minerals, mines, and trade routes in the Congo. We may not realize it, but our desire for the newest technology is directly affecting peoples lives.

Today, in 2009, people in the Congo are still being slaughtered. According to Wikipedia, people are dying at a rate of an estimated 45,000 per month and 2,700,000 people have died since 2004. Reports indicate that almost half of the individuals killed are children under the age of 5. The aftermath of the war has gutted the country.

The long and brutal conflict in the DRC has caused massive suffering for civilians. Additionally, there have been frequent reports of weapon bearers killing civilians, destroying property, and committing widespread sexual violence against women. On a daily basis, women are being beaten, killed, and raped. Soldiers daily force women into sexual slavery. Violence against women is rampant. And in DRC society, these women upon returning to their villages are spat upon, turned away, and rejected – treated as thought these dishonoring acts were their own fault.

The conflict in the DRC has caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes, becoming refugees, flooding over the borders into neighboring countries.

On this 71st anniversary of the Kristallnacht and the beginning of the Holocaust, it is our obligation to stand up for others around the world who are being killed today. And there is something you and I can do about it!

We can raise attention to what is happening in Sudan and the DRC.

To learn more and to act visit these and other sites for change in the Congo:

Falling Whistles

Jewish World Watch

Raise Hope for Congo

Enough Project

About Rabbi Joshua

I'm a Rabbi, writer, thinker, mountain biker, father and husband ... not necessarily in that order. According to my wife, however, I'm just a big nerd. I have degrees in dead languages and ancient stuff. I have studied in various Jewish institutions, including an Orthodox yeshiva in Europe. I get in trouble for making friends with perfect strangers, and for standing on chairs to sing during Shabbos dinner. In addition to being the Senior Rabbi of Simchat Yisrael Messianic Synagogue in West Haven, CT, I write regularly for several publications and speak widely in congregations and conferences. My wife is a Southern-fried Jewish Beltway bandit and a smokin' hot human rights attorney... and please don’t take offense if I dump Tabasco sauce on your cooking.
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2 Responses to Kristallnacht, Conflict, and the Congo

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. The world needs to wake up, and start caring! As believers in Yeshua, in particular, we MUST take a stand for tzedakah and chessed.

  2. Rabbi Joshua says:

    Absolutely! Thanks for commenting.

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