It’s not on TV, so it doesn’t exist

Posted: May 1, 2010 by undergroundfisherman in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

For some reason, the Western media only seems to cover certain stories. We tend to see images stranded tourists in airports after the Icelandic volcano, and plenty of celebrities lending a hand in Haiti, so we assume that these are the top stories in the world at that moment in time. With all of these cameras pointed in the same direction, it’s easy to forget about the other ongoing situations all around the world that seem to go unnoticed by the majority of media outlets. Here’s a few examples of the unreported conflicts that are ongoing in today’s world…

DR Congo

Mining in Kailo by Julien Harneis.

Above: A mine in the Maniema region of the DRC. Wars over the control of these mines have been the source of countless civilian deaths in recent years.

The demand for metals such as zinc and copper, used for the production of software and mobile phones has driven this conflict out of control. Global Witness, who investigate the links between conflict and natural resources, have reported on how militia groups in the East African country control much of the trade in minerals in the area. Tungsten, tantalum, gold and tin are all sought after, and warring factions have caused massive upheaval in the country because of this.

Disease and famine have been another huge cause of hardship, and it has been estimated in the most recent figures (2009) that an average of 45,000 people die every month in DR Congo. These figures came from a New York Times article by Nicholas D Kristof, which was alarmingly entitled “Orphaned, Raped and Ignored”. This is very much the case at the moment, since nobody seems to be covering the bloodiest conflict since the Vietnam War, one which has claimed the lives of over 4 million people and displaced many more.

Falun Gong

The Chinese government wants to do away with this “dangerous cult”.

The group has been outlawed and persecuted in the secular Chinese state for years now. They are quite an innocuous group, who teach the virtues of meditation, morality, and personal development. The Chinese government officially outlawed the group on July 20, 1999. They claimed the organisation had been “engaged in illegal activities, advocating superstition and spreading fallacies, hoodwinking people, inciting and creating disturbances, and jeopardizing social stability.” The movement draws influence from Buddhist, Taoist, and Qigong teachings, as well as modern science, and the meditation aspect is comparable to yoga. It has always taught the importance of peace and compassion, and yet they have been vilified by their own government.

Frequent reports of torture and imprisonment of members have been (quite typically) covered up by Chinese authorities. It is yet another indictment on the way the country is run, and China will have to make major changes to their free speech and human rights policies if it ever wants to be seen as the modern, dynamic nation it always claims to be.

Mexico

ezln_subcomandante_marcos.jpg picture by whitepony05

Above: Subcomandante Marcos, EZLN leader

Since New Year’s Day of 1994, the people in the Chiapas region of Southern Mexico have been waging war on the federal government, claiming that they are so out of touch with the needs of their own people that they have become an illegitimate authority. The leaders of this revolution are the EZLN, or “Zapatistas”, led by the charismatic, pipe-smoking Subcomandante Marcos.

The conflict began in 1994 when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect, giving multi-national companies from America the right to fell trees and extract natural resources from Mexico for a low price. Southern Mexico is mostly jungle, but since 1994, deforestation has become a huge problem, especially for the native Zapatistas, who are constantly on the move in a bid to keep out of reach of Mexican officials.

Although they are an armed group, the EZLN have not used their weapons since January 12th, 1994. Instead, they rely on the internet and other media to get their message across to the outside world in the hope of instigating some kind of change. Marcos himself said of their non-violent approach “We didn’t go to war to kill or be killed. We went to war in order to be heard.

Clearly, despite the backing of plenty of NGO’s and politically-charged bands such as Rage Against the Machine, their message has yet to bring about much change. They remain the ultimate victims of capitalism, having seen their homes quite literally cut down in front of them.

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