It has been said before that knowledge without passion is boring, but passion without knowledge is dangerous. Therefore, we always strive to be as well informed as possible about the places, people, cultures, and conflict that we are working among. In this way, we are better able to listen to those who live daily in these places to make our work as effective and locally-focused as possible. Here are some of the books, articles, movies, and news reports that are informing us currently:
Dancing in the Glory of Monsters:
This book is a history of the conflict in the Eastern Congo. It provides an wide-reaching view of this processes, people, and problems that led to the current state of affairs, while protecting the dignity and histories of the victims, most of whom were/are civilians. A lengthy but must-read for those interested in not only the Eastern DRC but Rwanda and Burundi as well.
This short (less than an hour) documentary can be found online and illuminates the economic roots of the perpetuation of militia activity in the Congo and how outside companies, especially the recent past, turned a blind eye to the violence and chaos surrounding their engagement, especially through the purchase of natural resources. It is an eye-opening account of the consequences of civil war and introduces the viewer to rebel group leaders and followers, as well as the citizens that live with these realities.
'Why We Fight': Voices of Youth Combatants in Sierra Leone
Author(s): Krijn Peters and Paul Richards
A much more scholarly approach to understanding youth engaged in combat, this article helps to broaden the mind of the reader to understand that children engaged as child combatants are not without agency and should not be generalized as just “child soldiers.” Rather, there are reasons that they join fighting groups other than just being kidnapped or coerced, and there are ways that they choose to rebel against their captors if they have, or to abstain from violence while in the group if they so choose. For those interested in learning more about child combatants, this article focuses on Sierra Leone, but is a gateway to understanding so much more about this subject.