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DR CONGO This conflict has claimed an estimated 5.4 million lives in total, making it the deadliest conflict since WW2. General Laurent Nkunda has led Tutsi rebel forces in a fight against the government for the region of North Kivu claiming he is protecting his people from Hutu militia groups who slaughtered Tutsis in the 1994 genocide in neighbouring Rwanda. Currently there are over 17,000 U.N. peacekeepers in DR Congo, making it the largest U.N. mission in the world. However, its efficiency has been criticised by Human rights groups for failing to prevent the killings and for only stationing a few hundred peace keepers in the areas currently most affected by the violence. SRI LANKA A civil war has raged on the island for almost 2 decades. The fighting stems from discontent among the ethnic minority group, the Tamils, based in the North East of the Island. The Tamils were originally brought to Sri-Lanka to work on tea plantations during the years of the British Empire. However, with their own language and an historic culture spanning two millennia the Tamils have always seen themselves as independent. Today, the Tamil Tigers continue to fight for the establishment of a separate Tamil state. Estimates of the total numbers of lives claimed by the conflict vary from around 70,000 to over 400,000, with 200,000 people having been internally displaced by the fighting since 2006 alone. SOMALIA Somalia has been seeped in conflict since the revolution which began in 1986. Over twenty years of violence has resulted in around 400,000 deaths. The desperate situation worsened in July 2006 when American backed Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia to back up the Somalian Transitional Federal Government in its struggle against the Somali Islamic Court Union. The Ethiopian Prime Minister has justified the invasion as a necessary move to protect their own borders, while the U.S. believe that the ICU were harbouring al- Qaida fighters. The exact number of deaths is hard to know, however, conservative estimates place the number of fatalities caused by the ongoing war at 8,000.

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UL. THINK ABOUT YOUR ATTITUDE TO DRUGS, YOUR ARMCHAIR SUPPORT FOR TOUGHER

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A VERY QUIET TRAGEDY ROSIE SHIMELL LOOKS AT OBSCURE RECENT CONFLICTS

An intellectual trend led by Christopher Hitchens has forged a binary narrative running from the past to the present between the values of progress – secular, liberal, and democratic – and those of retrogression – religiosity, superstition, and oppression. Thinkers influenced by religious ideas are thus regarded as ‘of their time’, unable to have ‘known any better’. To suppose that this is a categorical error is to discover the origins of the illusions under which we live. The English radical past that was instrumental in propagating the precursors of Hitchens’s secular age did so not solely on his grounds but fired by religious motivations. John Locke’s scheme of foundational human equality, for example, rests solely on Christian foundations. Political philosopher Jeremy Waldron even claims that it must be questioned whether any notion of basic equality amongst human beings could be coherent, and justified, without this religious base. The recognition that many of our basic concepts have been forged on the basis of religion is the first step to asking how coherently they can still be held. The analysis of the interaction of ideas and events that have been ‘forgotten’ in the senses described can thus make current debates all the more vivid through the consideration of their historical precursors. The events and ideas of the present are

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ROSIE SHIMELL LOOKS AT OBSCURE RECENT CONFLICTS V

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