The Central African Republic is falling into chaos and no one, including France, the former colonial power, shows any signs of caring.
The C.A.R. has borders with six countries -- Cameroon, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Sudan. Each plays a role in the world oil industry. The C.A.R. has enough resources itself, with agriculture and diamonds for cash, to support its small, majority Christian, 4.6 million population if it were governed reasonably. But nobody seems to care about its collapse.
By comparison, Syria has borders with Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. It is the focus of the world during the G-20 conference in St. Petersburg, at the United Nations and in Congress. The difference is Syria is in the powder-keg Middle East. The C.A.R. is in the heart of Africa and receives little media or diplomatic attention.
In the meantime, the C.A.R., after holding elections in 1993, its first since independence in 1960, endured a military coup in 2003. The general who came to power in that coup was overthrown in another coup in March by a movement called Seleka which named Michel Djotodia, as its first Muslim president.
Seleka's and Mr. Djotodia's idea of governance has turned out to be continued disorder and looting across the country that has been marked by many deaths, rapes and other crimes. The absence of education, health care and other basics have led to the flight of citizens to neighboring countries.
France, which already intervened in another of its former colonies, Mali, in January, maintains some 500 troops in the C.A.R., but has shown no inclination to try to restore order. It is even more unlikely to do so now, having expressed support for the United States in its proposed military venture in Syria.
So, why Mali and Syria, but not the C.A.R.? That is a good question, missing an obvious answer. It might be, "because it is Africa," except that Mali is in Africa, too. The C.A.R. badly needs attention -- from the African Union, the United Nations or France.