Falling Whistles: A Campaign for Peace in CongoTuesday, January 31, 2012 By Bruce Backa
Southern Lehigh’s student council recently organized a charity dance, held on February 4, 2012. The dance was created for a growing cause, a charity called Falling Whistles. With new headquarters established in Washington DC, this organization works toward one simple goal: bringing peace to Congo. Many individuals are unaware that there is a war going on in Congo. This is not the kind of war that draws national publicity, but the type that goes on behind the scenes. Congo has been in turmoil for a number of years. In fact, over the last decade, more than six million people have died while nearly 1,500 people continue to lose their lives daily. Sexual violence is more rampant here than anywhere else in the world, and thousands of children are involved in combat. It has become commonplace for children to be taken from their homes and forced to scout for the militia, being sent on the front lines armed with nothing but a whistle. If they see an enemy, they blow the whistle and try to escape. The conflict is tied directly to the country’s vast natural resources. Congo is rich in many valuable minerals and resources, making it a country of great potential and a frequent victim of exploitation. Today, minerals found in Congo are used in consumer electronics, including laptops and cell phones. While many benefit from the mineral trade, the people of Congo bear the burden of being in the center of such a hot spot for business. There are numerous groups -- both militia and multi-million corporations -- that go to Congo and directly interfere with the lives of its people for the sake of money. Furthermore, this has directly prevented any sort of government stability, as nothing is done within the country to help protect the citizens. Combined with a history of bitterness between local groups, international interest in Congo makes this situation one of the most complicated on the planet. It is this complexity that has left the current laws and regulations largely ineffective. A new approach is needed. That’s where Falling Whistles comes in. Comprised of people from all backgrounds, this group is the first legitimate charity devoted to this cause. While not many students may have understood the importance of the dance, the $5 donation helps to make a difference in the fight to help bring peace to Congo. If you’re interested in furthering your involvement to help the cause, go to the Falling Whistles website at http://www.fallingwhistles.com/about/ for answers to your questions questions and information on how you can help.