Updated: Nov 2
29-31 January 2023 –Washington D.C. and Court Square in Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA.
Rallies for Peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo
As the M23 militia group brought violence and the prospect of full-scale war to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Co-Founder Rodrigue Makelele helped the Congolese Association of Harrisonburg to host two rallies for Peace in DRC - one in Washington D.C. and one in Court Square (in front of the courthouse steps) in Harrisonburg Virginia. The meaning of the One Billion for Peace Pledge is not to be passive against those who wish us harm, but rather to actively wage peace! The One Billion for Peace Pledge brings attention to all the facets that sustainable peace requires and that it is important for all peoples. Through the Rallies and the One Billion for Peace Pledge, Rodrigue and others were asking lawmakers to pay attention to DRC, which has implications for the whole world since it is home to one of two largest rainforests that are the “Lungs of the Earth,” which are absolutely essential to the entire global climate system! It also has the world’s largest wetland in the Congo River Basin and more endangered species than all other countries in Africa combined. War in DRC doesn’t just affect the 84 million people of DRC (most of whom are children), it also would impact all these vital ecological resources that would affect the entire world and the global climate system, which is already experiencing record impacts. The interconnected impacts that instability in the DRC would bring was not a vague concept to attendees! It was very real and alive for the many Congolese who attended the Rallies, and also their supporters and allies, as all of us are worried about the unfolding violence in DRC. A high point of the event was Rodrigue’s reading of the Pledge in languages known to the attendees, including French and Swahili!We therefore urge the lawmakers of the U.S. to understand and keep in mind that peace or war in DRC affects us all.
Frances Flannery, Ph.D.
Co-Founder of BioEarth