Part of me rejoices in this explosion of international concern, on the principle that anything focusing attention on this troubled region cannot be bad. But Congo’s crisis is not unprecedented, nor is it unrivalled. To people who know the continent, there’s something of an arbitrary quality as to how one crisis seizes the public imagination and others go ignored.
The eastern town of Goma has seen far worse than this, including a biblical flood of Rwandan refugees in 1994, a cholera epidemic that left corpses lining its streets and a lava flow that turned the lake town into a mini-Pompeii. Those episodes made what is happening now seem insignificant. Suddenly, Western politicians are flagellating their electorate with the fact that nearly five million have died in the DRC in the last eight years. Comparisons are drawn to First World War death tolls.
Recently Michela also wrote why women make better foreign correspondents.