Raising awareness of global conflicts

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Raising awareness of global conflicts

Post by myi on Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:23 am

The Second Congo War,
beginning in 1998, devastated the country and involved seven foreign
armies and is sometimes referred to as the "African World War".[3]
Despite the signing of peace accords in 2003, fighting continues in the
east of the country. In eastern Congo, the prevalence and intensity of
rape and other sexual violence is described as the worst in the world.[4] The war is the world's deadliest conflict since World War II, killing 5.4 million people.
-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Republic_of_the_Congo

What would it be like if United States Christians would cast aside our wealth and ignorance and start caring about suffering around the world? I believe that Jesus' message and our witness can truly effect change.

Let's start here. Do you know of ongoing or short-term conflicts, disasters, etc. that many ignore? Something as obvious as the Iraq war is old news to us... it shouldn't be. Post your findings and thoughts, please!

For more information about Congo:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Republic_of_the_Congo
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Congo_War
http://www.enoughproject.org/publications/can-you-hear-congo-now-cell-phones-conflict-minerals-and-worst-sexual-violence-world
http://www.raisehopeforcongo.org/special-page/conflict-minerals

For shalom,
Margaret

myi

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Re: Raising awareness of global conflicts

Post by Boomerwang on Fri Jun 12, 2009 3:03 pm

I'll post if I find anything. :)
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Darfur/Sudan

Post by myi on Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:11 pm

Not something I've learned a great deal about, but here's a start:

http://www.darfurdreamteam.org/content/crisis-darfur

10 Basic Facts about Darfur

1. Sudan is located in North Africa, south of Egypt.
2. Khartoum is the capital of Sudan.
3. The president of Sudan is General Omar al-Bashir.
4. Darfur is a region in western Sudan, about the size of Texas.
5. Most of the residents of Darfur are Muslims.
6. Some Darfurians speak Arabic and identify as Arabs; others speak
African dialects and identify as Africans. Many of the African
Darfurians belong to the Fur, Massalit and Zaghawa tribes.
7. The conflict in Sudan was sparked when rebels from Darfur
attacked a government air force base in 2003. The rebels are mostly
people from the Fur, Massalit and Zaghawa tribes. For years they have
felt ignored by the central government in Khartoum.
8. In retaliation for this attack, Sudanís military and the
government-backed militias, the Janjaweed, have attacked the African
residents of Darfur. Reports indicate that they have burned villages,
murdered and maimed residents, poisoned wells, raped women, stolen
animals and other valuables, and kidnapped children.
9. The United Nations estimates that since 2003 at least 200,000 Darfurians have been killed.
10. The United Nations estimates that since 2003 at least 2.5
million Darfurians have been forced to leave their villages due to the
violence in the region. Most of these people live in IDP camps in
Darfur or refugee camps in Chad.

(from http://www.darfurdreamteam.org/node/109)

And Jerry.... I think that your use of the word "if" may undermine the severity and crisis of many of the world's problems. We have simply to look at our own lives to see the problem of sin in our lives. As we move outwards, we see how are families are broken, our churches are broken, our communities and schools, our systemic institutions... When we move out further to consider the world's global violence, environmental issues, and general hate... "if" seems inadequate. I feel strongly that we (myself included) have sat in our ignorance for too long. I hope that Jesus' command to love will motivate us first to learn. Acting is important too, but how can we act when we have no idea what the problems are?

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Re: Raising awareness of global conflicts

Post by Boomerwang on Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:49 am

Good point, Margaret. I see what you're saying. I wasn't intending to be negligent about the issues abroad, but my underlying thought on this topic is focused mainly on the "mission field abroad here at home," which is no less rich or pertinent than those abroad, but (it seems) often overlooked by us here at home. I wanted to try expressing this in my previous response but I wanted to be cautious in explaining myself, since a direct response to this post with that kind of thought could have caused confusion. I'm not saying that because I feel more compelled to contribute to the local community through a fellowship or church that it is an excuse to ignore these problems abroad, but like how many of us feel strongly about issues abroad, I feel strongly about issues locally ("local" = within the country). I confess my efforts have been small and few, but these are just my own leanings. I hope this isn't taken personally, I'm just clarifying my thoughts. I do appreciate that this is brought up, because I think because of the sin in my life, it is constantly trying to make me ignorant of not just issues at home, but definitely issues abroad as well.
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Re: Raising awareness of global conflicts

Post by Boomerwang on Sun Jul 05, 2009 4:01 pm

Wanted to follow up with this topic, especially because it's an important one. I apologize for saying "if" the way I did, but I do admit that it does show that I perhaps don't hold these issues to be as critical as I need to. There's a tendency for me to be dismissive, to sort of just say "oh cool - I'll have to check it out later" like I would for a book or movie that a friend would recommend. But it is true that with an issue like this, I can't afford to have that same attitude.

I wanted to give an update about another global issue (even though it may not necessarily be conflict-related): Harvest church is sending out a missions team to Jakarta, Indonesia, for a church plant. We were told that this country is ~97% Muslim, and ~2.3% Christian, so we are excited and hopeful and prayerful that this missions effort will spur the local Christian communities to take an active role in reaching out to their fellow citizens across socio-economic boundaries.

Adding to what you said about the sin-caused brokenness in our lives and our communities, Margaret, I think it's easy for to just say "I'll pray for them," because of the potential lack of accountability. But I think that to be able to grow our love for the world outside the States through developing consistent, sincere prayer - that's something I think God is pushing me toward even through this forum thread, and through this new development. The Jakarta team is going to be there for one year, so it will be exciting to see not just the lives that are won for Christ, but the transformation that will take place in our lives back here at home as we continue to pray for and love them in spirit.

There's also an opportunity to pledge what we can to the effort, so along with the problems in Darfur (read the article Margaret posted above, it's eye-opening), these are ways that we can exercise God's love for the world even if we aren't physically there. I think an important thing I learned is that no one is going to be able to hold you accountable for your inner thoughts, and what you do behind closed doors. Why not take some of that mental energy and time to devote in earnest prayer to these efforts worldwide, and devote what few dollars or cents we can to these missions? Not using it as an excuse for inactivity, but as an opportunity for advancing the Gospel. I pledge to changing my behaviors about these issues this summer, to being from a complacent Christian who pretended to care when I really didn't, to being someone who actively participates by staying updated through current events, praying consistently, and offering what I can.

I got to befriend two members of the Jakarta mission team who are leaving for Indonesia this coming Tuesday, so I will be happy to share their updates here. I figure it's related with international issues. :)
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