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
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
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:
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