By Georges Budagu Makoko, Amjambo Africa Publisher
Growing up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I learned at a very young age that the root causes of the conflicts so many African countries struggle with have their origins back in the 1960s, when many African countries gained independence from the colonizers. For instance, the infamous militia group Mai-Mai, which is still perpetrating atrocities against innocent people today, formed around 1960. And in Rwanda, the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis was a result of conflict that emerged in 1959. In Burundi, the conflict between the Hutus and Tutsis also started around 1960.
These multigenerational conflicts are like a disease that becomes a miserable inheritance for future generations, when they are not resolved in a timely way. It is time we all invest energy and resources into stopping such multigenerational conflicts in Africa. They affect so many people’s lives, and not only in Africa – people in many countries around the world suffer from similar, severe, multigenerational conflicts.
Young people don’t understand the root causes of the conflicts. They inherited them from their parents, but themselves pay a heavy price. Because their ancestors failed to manage and resolve their own issues, these turned into conflicts that trickled down to their descendants. Of course, there is no perfect society, and conflict is a part of life, since people are different and see things differently. But we need to start resolving our own differences immediately, and not pass them on to the next, innocent generation.
As someone who grew up in a country torn apart by conflict, I have come to understand that these wounds remain in the victims’ hearts forever. Looking around the world at all the terrible, violent conflicts happening right now, it is hard to grasp why people in positions of power stand aside and watch, as victim after victim is destroyed, without taking immediate action to save them.
The victims include innocent children, who are repeatedly failed by adults in power, who fail to protect them. In a world where natural disasters – including the current pandemic – kill way too many people, it hurts to see others die as a result of the horrible behavior of people. And what hurts more than anything is the cold indifference of people who have the ability to stop the conflicts.
My prayers and thoughts go out to all victims of conflicts around the world. I urge leaders to step up and immediately stop the needless killings, wherever they are happening.