Thursday, November 16, 2006

Where hope is mostly needed: the case of Congo

You cannot expect anyone to look at Congo and see 'the future' unless that person has large reserves of hope. Period.

I choose to talk about Congo, or as it is formally known, the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C. - former Zaire), because tragedy has been alive and well in this central African State. I choose to talk about Congo because we hear a lot about Darfur and Iraq and not so much about a country that has lost 4 millions to a deadly civil war on the top of poverty and disease. The country where diamonds and misery abound alike is like a child seeking for assistance, how can we ignore it?

Congo's attempt to 'move forward' was demonstrated in the recent presidential and parliamentary elections, the first in four decades. The son of the former dictator and incumbent president by the name Joseph Kabila ran against former fight leader Jean-PIerre Bemba just a few days ago: in this gloom-looking race Kabila seems to have won. But one only asks how promising such a victory is, particulalry from the moment that the contestant, Bemba, questions the results and recourse to violence seems quite a possibility. Elections are not enough.

What, you thought that just because we had elections, everything is fine? Well, consider again. This is not the consolidated democracy you are used to: post-election is not a media-fiesta, and 'the day after' is not necessarily 'a new day' or 'a fresh start' for which ever party wins.

But remember, we hope. We hope that Congo will not fall back to warfare.

From the very beginning I said that you need hope to look at Congo. I do not think I was wrong. Not because the editorial of leading Spanish newpspaper EL PAIS bares the title Sombrío Congo ("Sombre Congo"). But, rather, because there has been too much evidence of pain, suffering, destruction and fatalism. The future does not seem to deviate very far. Hence, it is only through hope you can see 'a future' for this central African state. Ironically so, this hope comes from Congo itself. It comes from the heroic segments of the populations that survived the Greek, American and Russian bullets during war, that make a living out of the horrendous gold and diamond mines, that fight every possible disease that plagues humans with little or no drugs. Hope stems from these heroes that every morning wake up, and they smile too. These people make us somehow believe that this country will stand on its feet again.

If only war does not start on Monday...

References ans Links

in english:
Ballots burned after historic Congolese vote

Editorial en español:
Sombrío Congo

en français:
Joseph Kabila remporte l'élection présidentielle

For more information on how Greek bullets killed Congolese look at the Amnesty International Report here:
Media Briefing: Bullets from Greece, China, Russia and United States found in rebel hands in Democratic Republic of Congo

(What, you thought globalization is only McDonalds?)


Fred said...

Thank you for choosing to talk about Congo. Very interesting final paragraph, on the importance of hope.

Pixie said...

What happens in Congo is so sad.A country that should have been rich if they could exploit the diamond industries themselves and not foreign countries that helped maintain the civil war.I am amazed with the strength of the people, many amputated by the wars, without work, wihout education and food.I just hope like you Anastasia for something better with all my heart.

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