GYC Village

blog posts from GYC's participants, alumni, & staff

Current Conflicts: Israel/Palestine — DRCongo

OPEN LETTER

Dear GYC Alumni,

Global Youth Connect would like to express our great concern about the conflicts which have flared-up again in the course of the last few weeks, particularly in Israel/Palestine and in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Our thoughts go out to all people (including many GYC Alumni) affected by these two conflicts, on all sides of each conflict, and we hope that we can spur all of our alumni and readership to get involved in helping to solve these crises in some way, including creating dialogue here on this blog post or on our facebook page (or in other forums you recommend).

ISRAEL/PALESTINE:

I had a chance to ask Jennifer Kloes, GYC’s Executive Director Emeritus, who is currently developing human rights programming in Israel/Palestine for Bard College, if she could provide me with some good sites for learning more about the conflict there, what organizations are doing to solve it, and how GYC Alumni can get involved. These are the sites she suggested checking out:

A good link to just some of the many organizations working for peace in the region, on both sides of the conflict:

http://www.justvision.org/organizations

To learn more about one approach to ending the violence (both short and long-term), and various action steps related to it, she suggested checking out:

http://www.insightonconflict.org/2012/11/global-call-stop-violence-israel-palestine/

I personally thought that if I could highlight one of the most important ideas from the link Jennifer shared, to encourage you to read more, it would be this action step they suggest:

Actively express solidarity and support with all Israelis and Palestinians

Express your support, sympathy, compassion and solidarity with all the people of Israel-­Palestine and for all of those suffering, as well as for all of those waging the conflict. Base your calls for peace and an end to violence and occupation on a fundamental respect for human beings and human dignity, while refusing all legitimisation and support for violence, occupation, and actions which deny and denigrate human dignity, freedom and security for all. http://www.insightonconflict.org/2012/11/global-call-stop-violence-israel-palestine/

DR CONGO:

Although the conflicts are very different in many ways, I think that the ideas for action expressed in the above statement and link about Israel/Palestine can also apply to the situation in the DRCongo (i.e. urge all sides to put down their weapons and resolve the conflict through peaceful means, with long-term peace and stability in mind). To that end, I am curious to know what the alumni are feeling and thinking about this issue as well, and what they think are the best ways to take action and encourage a peaceful resolution.

I found some links that I think will be helpful in sparking some discussion about this issue. I cannot say that I agree with the presentation/analysis of each of these sites, nor that I personally agree with everything that is mentioned as a solution in each of these links. I am posting them here to show what different groups are saying, and I look forward to learning more from you all about your opinions, and other sites/links that can create dialogue. Remember, any comments you leave will be available publicly on the web:

http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/congo/drc-questions-answers

http://www.insightonconflict.org/conflicts/dr-congo/conflict-profile/

http://www.friendsofthecongo.org/

A summary of what the news and people were saying before Goma fell yesterday:

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/11/17/un-security-council-demands-immediate-stop-to-violence-in-congo-looks-to-more/

This is the latest news about the situation, as of my posting today at 6.30PM time in NYC:

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-11-21/congo-rwanda-presidents-meet-for-emergency-talks

http://www.newtimes.co.rw/news/index.php?i=15184&a=60976

Thank you all for your commitment to human rights — a concept which, if embraced by all, we believe will be the foundation of any lasting peace.

In solidarity,

Jesse


Jesse Hawkes
Executive Director
Global Youth Connect (GYC)
Empowering youth to advance human rights and create a more just world
www.globalyouthconnect.org

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One comment on “Current Conflicts: Israel/Palestine — DRCongo

  1. Gina
    November 23, 2012

    Jesse – thanks for posting. The rapid escalation of violence in both Israel/Palestine and the eastern DRC leaves thousands of people vulnerable in already volatile areas. Each conflict will likely have sizable regional repercussions, the most critical of which is the safety and health of conflict-affected populations. My thoughts are certainly with all people affected by or involved in the conflicts, as well as friends, colleagues, and strangers who are working to restore security and meet the emergency needs of vulnerable populations.

    What I find most troubling about the narratives surrounding these conflicts is that they largely attempt to assign blame. Most ask who is bombing whom in Israel/Palestine, who is supporting the M23 rebel movement in the DRC, and who the ‘real’ victims are in both cases. Despite the ongoing, entrenched qualities of these conflicts, many fail to ask why violence is occurring. While we may be able to easily speculate as to who is to blame, it seems to me that neither situation will be resolved without trying to understand the deeper and highly complex roots of conflict. For example, it is widely reported that the governments of Rwanda and Uganda are directly supporting M23, reports which each government denies. I feel that it would be more productive to try and understand why this would be the case, rather than immediately sanctioning and directing blame to these countries. Blame can only create defensive and obstructive behavior, but trying to understand such motivations may create conditions for compromise. Are there moments when strong words and actions are needed? Absolutely. But these should be balanced with constructive diplomacy. Otherwise, I fear that there will be no end in sight.

    I have included reports and analyses of recent developments here:

    Eastern DRC:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/11/after-the-fall-of-goma-the-m23-conflicts-western-front/264935/
    http://www.voanews.com/content/tens-of-thousands-flee-m23-fighting-near-goma/1551242.html
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/23/world/africa/congo-army-stops-retreat-and-fights-back.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&ref=africa&adxnnlx=1353680790-jezb+dQNjJ3SZvzMlrnl7A

    Israel/Palestine:
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/23/world/meast/gaza-israel-civilians/

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This entry was posted on November 21, 2012 by in GYC Board and Staff Blog Posts, Human Rights.

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