Uncovering the Truth in Congo

For the six million people who have died due to the wars in Congo since 1997.  For the future of the youth and children of Congo.  For a peaceful and just Congo, spend twenty six minutes of your time and watch the newly released film “Crisis in the Congo: Uncovering the Truth” by going to this web site:

www.congojustice.org

If you would like a copy of this first, abridged version of the film – perhaps for use during Congo Week October 16 -21 this year – go to this section of the same web site:

http://congojustice.org/download-video/

For suggestions on other ways to honor the people of Congo and educate and raise awareness in the U.S. of how we can support social change in Congo, go to the Friends of the Congo web site at:

www.friendsofthecongo.org

For the children of Congo, see the film "Crisis in Congo"
For the children of Congo, see the film "Crisis in Congo"
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New Book on Congo’s Conflicts

A new book on the causes and evolution of the conflicts in eastern Congo has received favorable reviews in leading U.S. publications.  Jason Stearns, a young American who began serving as a relief worker in the area in 2001, has just

Excitement and hopes were high at the 10th Independence Anniversary Parade in Mbandaka on June 30, 1970. What a contrast to the sombre, reflective mood across the nation on the 50th Anniversary last June 30.

published Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa

Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost,  wrote in his April 1 review in The New York Times  : “The task facing anyone who tries to tell this whole story is formidable, but Stearns by and large rises to it. He has lived in the country, and has done a raft of interviews with people who witnessed what happened before he got there. Occasionally the chain of names of people and places temporarily swamps the reader, but on the whole his picture is clear, made painfully real by a series of close-up portraits.”

The American Congo-based political scientist who writes the blog “Texas in Africa” also has commented favorably on Stearns’ book:  “As someone who has read the bulk of what’s been published on the conflict over the course of the last fifteen years, I can unequivocally say that this is the most accessible introduction to the country’s multi-layered local conflict, civil war, and international wars out there. In short, if you want to understand the DRC wars, you need to read this book.”

We will have to wait it seems for the book which covers the conflicts of eastern Congo’s effects on the nation as a whole

"Servir: Oui!; Se Servir: Non!" emblazoned the official "pagne" of the Mouvement Populaire de la Revolution during the 10th Anniversary Year

or the book which assesses the post Mobutu state’s attempts to control exploitation of Congo’s resources other than the minerals.  Since the promulgation of the new Law of the Forest early in the current Kabila administration, cutting of the Congo rainforest in Equateur Province has stepped up considerably.  Environmental groups such as Greenpeace International are monitoring the signing of contracts with European timber companies and recently protested the World Bank’s approval of the state’s opening up the rainforest to increased harvesting.

The River’s News 6/24/10

I read the news this morning in the constant flow of the massive river carrying clumps of hyacinths, islands at times, to their end where? After rising at 4:30 or 5 I shuffle to the tiled shower enclosure where I pour five or six small buckets of water from above before applying the shampoo and soap. Refreshed from the cool water shave as well, the celebration of the breeze on opening the front door is the final preparation for contemplation of the river.

Traffic on the majestic freeway 75 yards below my front porch picks up by 6 am. Each pirogue carrying a story of graceful struggle, they hug the bank at this hour, intent on marketing their load of firewood, fish, greens, roofing, poles, monkey and more exotic items which I must file for explanation later. Two women pole the river bottom at each end of a long pirogue with firewood loaded four feet high. Their small enterprise reminds me of the boat with a load of gigantic hard wood which passed in the middle of the river several days before.

The story of the hard woods emerges from various conversations detailing the cutting of select giants of the rain forest. Two informants report that villagers in Equateur province are paid on average $3.50 per tree for the virgin hard woods. On reaching Kinshasa, the Congolese logging company is paid nine thousand dollars for a tree which will cost fifty two thousand dollars in Germany. It is much the same with the diamonds, coltan and other precious minerals dug from Congolese soil with this important exception: much of the mineral wealth benefits middlemen of the neighboring countries of Uganda and Rwanda more than those of the Congo.

My neighbor in the duplex next door approaches for a brief exchange of commentaries on the scenes played out on the river and then we are interrupted and the day’s business begins.  I prepare a cup of coffee with Nescafe, powdered milk and sugar (we do things different here KT!) before sitting down to a bowl of oatmeal which I will flavor with papaya, bananas and honey. The radio news lead story during breakfast reports that President Obama has dismissed General Mc Crystal as Commander of U.S./Allied troops in Afghanistan.