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Friday, November 29, 2013

Please Take Sixty Seconds to Pray for the Central African Republic, Potential Site of Genocide

After the marauders have left 

The Central African Republic is one of the poorest nations on earth. It is landlocked, remote, and underpopulated.

Muslims and Christians are fighting there now. Mass slaughter. Entire families, throat cut. Incipient genocide.

It is one of many countries in Africa where jihad is ongoing, or has been ongoing in the recent past. These countries include Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Mali, Nigeria, Tunisia, Somalia, etc.

American news media is not giving a lot of coverage to this conflict. Again, The CAR is very poor, remote, and its abundant resources, including diamonds, are hard to exploit. In short, we don't much care, and we don't think we can do anything. That may be true. It may not be true. Maybe peace keeping forces could help.

I've been to the CAR. I can tell you that the people being murdered are impoverished agriculturalists, often practicing the most primitive slash and burn agriculture. They have no way of defending themselves against marauding bands who show up, murder, burn, and destroy.

Here's something the news media might not tell you. CAR was heavily exploited by the Arab Slave Trade. That's one reason there is tension between Christians and Muslims. The Christians in CAR resent Muslims.

Here's a quote from the Wikipedia page on the history of slavery: "The eastern regions of the Central African Republic have never recovered demographically from the impact of 19th-century raids from the Sudan and still have a population density of less than 1 person/km."

Once I was traveling through CAR. I understood Sango, the lingua franca. I and others were riding in the back of a pick-up truck. The truck broke down repeatedly, typical of CAR. The drivers would stop, fix it, and keep traveling. I heard the people seated beside me whisper in Sango, "The next time the truck breaks down, let's kill the Muslim passengers." Thank you, God. The truck did not break down again.

That comment was a sign of the tension between the groups sometimes called "Black Africans," "Sub-Saharan Africans," "Bantu Africans," or "Christian-Animist Africans," and "Sahel," "Muslim," or "Arabized" Africans.

The former, the "Black Africans," tend to be Christian or animist, and they or their ancestors were enslaved by the latter, the Arabs or Arabized Africans. The Arabized Africans tend to hold Black Africans in low regard.

They hate each other. They hate each other in CAR and Sudan and Nigeria.

When I was young and stupid, I traveled through CAR at night, alone. I was traveling through raw rain forest. I was given a ride by Sudanese smugglers. These were Muslim men who spoke Arabic. They were part of a truck caravan. They could have done anything. I was alone. In fact they treated me with great respect and care. They transported me for hours through the darkness, and they never laid a hand on me. They shepherded me to my destination.

There are good people on all sides. There are victims, and killers, on all sides.

Please join me in praying that the international community steps in and stops the senseless killing in the Central African Republic. 

Here's an article from the Washington Post.

Here's an article from Human Rights Watch

Good general background on Christians and Muslims in Africa here


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