Ted Koppel, right, and a cameraman with a group of villagers in
Mumba, Congo, during the taping of a segment of the weeklong series "Heart of
Darkness." (AP Photo/ABC News, Tom Bettag)
|Beginning Friday, September 7, and continuing on Sept. 11 through 14, the ABC
news program "Nightline" is focusing attention on the crisis in the
Democratic Republic of Congo. The series, called "Heart of Darkness," comes
after a noticeable and inexcusable silence in mainstream news media about the
severity of the situation in the region.
It is reported that in the last three years over 2.5 million people have died
in the Congo and surrounding countries. African people are dying at a rate of
2,500 per day. Over 2.5 million African people dead! Where is the outcry from
Africans in America? When will the U.S. deploy troops to the region to help
re-establish peace? As Ted Koppel, host of Nightline asks, "How can two and a
half million people die over a three-year period and we don't even notice?"
This omission is even more glaring when it's contrasted with the steady diet
we have been fed about the war in Kosovo and the U.S. government's
willingness to invest money and military support there. Regrettably, over
20,000 people have died in that conflict but are we not deserving of the same
attention? What does this say about how this society values black lives?
Koppel could not help but speak the truth. He said that racism contributes to
this imbalance as well as a stereotypical expectation in America that this is
to be expected from African people.
Nightline airs at 11:35 p.m. on ABC. The "Heart of Darkness" series continues
on Sept. 11 through 14.