Friday, May 8, 2009

Mauling the relevant facts: The case of Congo

Photo used under Creative Commons from Laenulfean

In June 2007, Giovanni Rivera along with three other workers arrived early at the home of Guy and Elizabeth James. According to the New York Times,"Congo, who is typically kept inside when workers are about, was provoked when Mr. Rivera became scared of the dog and grabbed Mrs. James." Congo mauled Rivera. Rivera received 65 rabies shots, underwent a 3 hour operation and spent 5 days in the hospital. A municipal judge declared Congo a "vicious dog" and ordered it to be euthanized. The James fought the order publically. As the campaign to "save Congo" ensued, it was revealed that Rivera was an undocumented alien from Honduras. At that point, the attack began to stir other emotions in the upscale community. Some bloggers and supporters of Congo began sending emails and comments in support of Congo and against Rivera. The Times gives an example of some of these comments: "“The dog deserves an award,” said one posting to The Princeton Packet Web site. “One less Mexican alien is a boost to society.” Other examples of the vilification of Rivera were given by ABC News.

A state assemblyman introduced "Congo's law" to try and save the dog. The bill did not pass but Congo eventually got a reprieve and was able to return home. Less than one year after returning home, Congo attacked Mr. James' 75- year- old mother-in-law. This time Congo and three other dogs were euthanized. Paul Mulshine, a reporter for the online edition of the New Jersey newspaper, the Star Ledger, did a little digging and found some interesting backstory to the entire saga.

As a dog owner, I understand why one would try to save their animal from euthanasia. What I don't understand is why some of Congo's supporters made Rivera's immigration status an issue. Congo did not care whether Rivera was a U.S. citizen, tourist, or illegal alien when it was mauling him. Would Congo's supporters have switched allegiances to Rivera if he had been a U.S. citizen? I doubt it.

As I posted previously about the Swine Flu and immigrants, there are media personalities and others who willing distort facts or provide irrelevant and false information to further their agenda. Immigration is an emotional issue. As Christians, we do not have to agree on how to solve the system's problems. We do have to take care to not let irrelevant facts cloud our judgment and spiritual discernment on these issues. Remember, keep separating the wheat from the chaff!

1 comment:

  1. MJPC blames the Congolese Government for Deteriorating Situation in East Congo

    "There is no excuse for missing to pay salaries to soldiers in lawless eastern Congo for six months"

    Following the deteriorating situation in east Congo, the MJPC called for the Congolese Government to pay the salaries of thousands of soldiers who have not been paid for over six months in east Congo, take swift action to enforce the International Criminal Court's (ICC) warrant against Bosco Ntaganda and to hold accountable perpetrators of sexual violence against women for their acts.

    "Faillng to hold accountable individuals who commit war crimes and crimes against humunity continues to be the leading cause of widespread and systematic sexual violence acts against girls and women in the easten Congo" said Makuba Sekombo, Community Affairs Director of
    the Mobilization for Justice and Peace in the DR Congo (MJPC). Mr. Sekombo again criticized the government of Congo for not only the continuing failure to protect women and young girls from sexual violence, but also for "encouraging conditions that create opportunities for sexual violence to occur". "There is no excuse for missing to pay salaries to soldiers in lawless eastern Congo for six months" said Sekombo.

    The MJPC has also renewed its call for the Congolese government to take urgent needed action to end human rights abuses in east Congo, hold perpetrators accountable and ensure reparation for the victims of sexual violence. The MJPC has been urging the Congolese government to compensate the victims of sexual violence in order to also help combat impunity in eastern part of Congo where sexual violence against women and children has been widely used as weapon of war for more than decade.MJPC online petition calling for for help to put pressure on Congolese Government to compensate victims of sexual siolence in Eastern DRC can be signed at

    MJPC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to working to add a voice in the promotion of justice and peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in particular in the East where thousands of innocent civilians, including children and women continue to be victims of massive human rights violations while the armed groups responsible for these crimes remain unpunished.

    For more information on MJPC and the activities, visit the web site E-mail: or call Makuba Sekombo at 1 408 806 3644.