The Civil Rights Movement Solidarity from Germany (Bürgerrechtsbewegung Solidarität) appeals to you to take urgent action to save the lives of one million refugees in Eastern Zaire. As was the case in Goma in 1994, only a resolute action on your part can avert the human catastrophe that is in the making.

First, an emergency airlift into the region is needed to deliver food and medicine to hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced by the war, which broke out ten days ago.

We Germans will never forget, how the Berlin airlift in 1949 saved the people of an entire city. Now we see with horror, how one million refugees in the heart of Africa will soon be out of food, clean water and medicine. The dying has already begun. Soon there will be tens of thousands dead if nothing is done. Especially in light of the fact that international institutions have again failed to take appropriate action, we appeal to you, as President of the United States of America, to act and order your military to organize such an airlift. We trust that you will act. Others may find excuses to explain away their refusal to face the challenge, but America, the country of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, cannot allow one million Africans to vanish simply because governments refused to deliver the help that which could have saved them.

Secondly, it is well known that the United States Government, together with Great Britain, exerts the greatest influence on the governments of Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. The war in Zaire is not an "ethnic war"; in fact, it started as an invasion of forces from Rwanda and Burundi with the support of the government of Uganda, who are playing the ethnic card. We appeal to you, Mr. President, and the people of America, to use the influence of the United States Government--with or without the consent of the government of Great Britain--to pressure the forces in power in Kampala, Kigali and Bujumbura to stop the invasion of Zaire, withdraw their forces and re-establish the territoril integrity of Zaire. If this is not done, this war could easily spread and engulf the entire region of the Great Lakes, affecting more than 30 million people.

The rationale offered for the attacks on the refugee camps in Zaire was the search for "Hutu genocidalists." While it is true that in the refugee camps, there were also people who participated in the murders in Rwanda in 1994, it is not tolerable that one million refugees--80% of whom are the elderly, women, and children--now be taken hostage for them and starved to death. This would amount to a counter-genocide committed by forces who, in the tragic last years of the conflict in Rwanda and Burundi, have already been guilty of mass death.

Mr. President, beyond the immediate relief for the humanitarian catastrophe, we appeal to you also to use the weight of your Office to help facilitate serious negotiations between the current governments in Rwanda and Burundi, and their opposition forces. This most tragic history of never-ending cycles of violence and mass murder between the Tutsi and Hutu can only be broken, if the parties in question are able to negotiate a peaceful common future.

Remember that one million lives hang on your actions at this moment. Even Boutros-Ghali of the United Nations has called the UN decision to delay action on this matter until November 20th "genocide". The Nuremburg Code whcich was applied by the United States in trying Nazi war criminals after WWII, must be the standard by which its own institutions -- whether governments, churches, labor unions, universities, or other -- are judged, for inaction in the face of such mass murder.

For more information call the Schiller Institute at:

(202) 544-7018


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