MARATHON. RANT.


All please have a look at this video coverage from the trip to the DRC on Channel 4 news. Great team effort in getting this on a national news channel. Really important that you watch this.

http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/world/africa/congo+rape+soldiers+we+abused+our+power/3764277

Also here’s a quick update on my marathon yesterday for those that are interested.

Marathon number 10 done. That makes it two more to go right? Well I said I’d do 12 marathons in 12 months so it would feel like I’m cheating a bit if I didn’t do a marathon every month even if that does mean I do 13 marathon during the course of the year.

Yesterday was one of the hardest races yet. For the first time in a while I was lacking the motivation to really go out there and run my best, felt pretty flat. It was only after about 7 miles that I started to get going and drove on faster. As I did that I could begin to feel my body getting weaker and weaker. The brifge in my left foot I think is collapsing making running incredibly painful, I pulled my groin and the knees and back were both causing me so much pain it was agony running at times.

But I completed the race in a time of 2hrs 57mins and 41 seconds coming in 19th place out of over 2000 runners. It was a big relief to cross the line in one piece, most importantly I’d regained my motivation to run which will hopefully keep me going through the final few marathons.

I spent along time thinking about the congo whilst running yesterday, mainly how people perceive it.

Basically:

I’ve learnt recently from reading the news reports about DRC that there are organisations covering the region and the conflict- which is fantastic. But the problem is that because the region isn’t viewed as a priority area like Iraq or Afghanistan. This means that you get drips and drabs of coverage a lot of the time, there isn’t that concerted interest.

i think there is a real danger about pumping out negative stories about the Congo, by negative i mean only focusing on the destruction and not the positives. I know they are important but people need to see the light at the end of the tunnel. if they think the place is lost then what is the point in trying? There is a danger that if stories keep getting churned out about the horrors in the DRC that the audience will slowly become numb from these awful crimes. How long did it take for Iraq war to become yesterday’s fish and chip wrapper – people get bored. It is so important that people perceive the DRC in a positive light, rather than just a conflict zone. The reason i say this is, is because you naturally approach problems in completely different ways to opportunities. The people i met in the DRC were full of hope and we shouldn’t forget that.

The status quo in the drc can be maintainĀ  but this isn’t going to change the day to day life for the people in the congo. The eastern congo is stuck in a mire at the moment because there are so many interests competing with one another – they are fighting a war that will never end and one drenched in blood. There isn’t any winners in this situation only losers.

Politicians across the globe need to wake up to the fact that the current situation isn’t working and time won’t change this. It won’t go away.

If economic policy guides political rationale then there is an enormous market available in Africa brimming of demand and supply. The only way this can be accessed is by bringing stability to the continent, a good place to start is with the DRC which borders many other countries in africa. The bods at the OECD are scratching their head on how to boost global growth, how about governments actually look to boost growth by bringing stability to the great lakes region and let africa prosper?

RANT OVER.

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2 thoughts on “MARATHON. RANT.

  1. I love a good Rant! Completely agree, I hate the negitive sterotypes banded about on Africa and how it’s often treated as 1 homogenous country, not a continent. There are huge opportunities in this continent, ones that I hope the OECD governments will start waking up to soon.

    Chris, you are so close to the end, I can’t imagine where you get the energy from – keep it up and look after yourself, we don’t want any permanent injuries!

  2. Nice Rant! Nice run! There is no better time to think than when running or walking, your thoughts are your own. Keep yourself healthy Chris. My son was a cross country, marathon, and track runner. He has had many surgeries now in his late thirties.

    As I get more involved with this movement, I’ve found there are hundreds of organizations in the Congo. As you say, what is reported is always the negatives and the violence, which is not what the Congolese people want. The part of this video that got my full attention is the lady at the end who named her child, born from rape, Hope. Not many of us would have the optimism and love of life that she has, after the horror she’s been through. You will find in Lisa Shannon’s book, “Never cry, always keep a smile on your face while in Congo. If you don’t, they won’t want or let you come back.” I went right past that statement in the first read. I also went right past the smiles, laughter, and optimism in several videos, news reports, and books.

    You’ve made a statement here and most of us need to get on board with the same message. Africa, with the help of western governments, and large corporations around the globe who use the minerals Africa is rich with, must take a stand for stability to help Africa end the blood bath. Stability has to come first so the economy can prosper. It does need to be the “whole” of Africa as a continent, as well. We need to be sending our messages, as activists, out in a much more positive manner. I know I do.

    Take care, keep us posted on your progress.

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