White House Proclaims Displeasure

October 29, 2008

The Bush administration has responded to the fresh outbreak of hostilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo with a less-than-resounding boilerplate proclamation renewing unspecified measures first adopted two years ago. It was a routine action that caused the combatants in the Congo about as much concern as a proclamation against jaywalking.

Here’s the text of the announcement:

On October 27, 2006, by Executive Order 13413, I declared a national emergency with respect to the situation in or in relation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706), ordered related measures blocking the property of certain persons contributing to the conflict in that country. I took this action to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States constituted by the situation in or in relation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has been marked by widespread violence and atrocities that continue to threaten regional stability.

Because this situation continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States, the national emergency declared on October 27, 2006, and the measures adopted on that date to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond October 27, 2008. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13413.

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.

GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
October 22, 2008.

The saddest part of the entire affair, of course, is that this limp missive represents the entire U.S. government response to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the


Congo On Brink Of New War

October 28, 2008

The Democratic Republic of Congo moved a step closer to the brink of outright war last week when Laurent Nkunda announced that his army, the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), is officially withdrawing from the Goma accords signed just ten months ago.

“…we are going to fight this [Congolese] government until we will be free forever,” said Nkunda in a letter to the head of the UN mission in Congo in which he demanded negotiations while confirming that he had decided to ignore the peace agreement he signed in January.

Nkunda’s announcement follows weeks of increasingly-destructive clashes between the CNDP and DRC government forces (FARDC) in the eastern provinces. Nkunda rejected a UN appeal for a renewal of the ceasefire two weeks ago. The scenario is nearly identical to the civil strife depicted in Heart of Diamonds.

While Nkunda’s announced intention is to overthrow Joseph Kabila’s democratically elected government while somehow protecting the ethnic Tutsi living in eastern Congo, it is more likely that he is pushing to establish an independent state in the mineral- and timber-rich region around the Great Lakes. He is believed to receive substantial support in this effort from the government of Rwanda.

The CNDP already controls large swaths of territory where Nkunda collects taxes and tribute from the residents and siphons profits from the mines and timber operations in the region. He even went so far at one point this summer to set up customs offices on the Ugandan border where he collected tariffs on goods moving between the two countries.

Yesterday, Nkunda’s forces seized an east Congo army base at Rumangabo and the headquarters of Virunga National Park, home to 200 of the world’s remaining 700 critically endangered mountain gorillas.

The heavy fighting sent thousands of civilians fleeing, U.N. officials said. They join the estimated 100,000 newly displaced persons created by the violence that has flared in the region since August. Nearly one million Congolese are on the official UN roles of homeless people in the region. The unofficial toll is substantially higher. The fighting has also cut off medical aid and food supplies for the refugees

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the


African Traveler Praises Heart of Diamonds

October 27, 2008

This Amazon reviewer said Heart of Diamonds is “…all story – story – story.”

She also said

“The story takes place against the background of the mess that is the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In HofD, the Congo itself is the thread that runs throughout the book, brings the characters together, develops and changes their relationships. In this book, the DRC is not just a prop to the characters, it makes the characters (or destroys them).”

That comment pleased me greatly since the reviewer has traveled in Africa and knows whereof she speaks.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds

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A Long, Hard Road

October 26, 2008

road in Uganda
Taken while researching Heart of Diamonds

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A People Destroyed

October 24, 2008

Blood continues to flow despite the signing of a peace agreement intended to stop the horrendous violence in the eastern provinces of the Congo. The agreement has been largely ignored by the alphabet soup of militias, army factions, guerilla bands, and outright criminal enterprises terrorizing the region. It is a humanitarian nightmare that may never end. Here is a short passage on the subject from Heart of Diamonds.

I hope you will make a donation to help the victims of rape, terror, and violence in the Congo. Women for Women International is one organization doing great work there Any bit you can send them will be appreciated and do a world of good for some people who really need it.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the


The Anguish of Rape

October 23, 2008

Terror rape is an act that humiliates the woman, destroying her self-worth and interest in living. These effects are compounded when women are rejected by their husbands. Families are destroyed, women and children turned into refugees with no resources. Here is a short passage on the subject from Heart of Diamonds.

Your donation to Women for Women International will help the victims of rape, terror, and violence in the Congo. Large or small, anything you can send them will be appreciated and do a world of good for some people who really need it.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the


Refugee Children

October 22, 2008

More than a million people have been driven from their homes by the endless violence in the Congo. Many of them will die, but not from bullets or blades; they’re victims instead of silent killers like malaria, pneumonia, malnutrition, and diarrhea. But they are casualties of war just as surely as if they had been hacked to death by machetes. Here is a short passage on the subject from Heart of Diamonds.

Women for Women International is one organization doing great work in this area of the Congo and elsewhere, so please consider a donation. Any bit you can send them will be appreciated and do a world of good for some people who really need it.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the