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The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the heart of Black Africa. Millions of Congolese have been murdered, massacred, enslaved, robbed of their resources and driven from their homes since the Berlin Conference gave the “Congo Free State” to Belgium’s King Leopold II as his personal property in 1885. I spoke to Jean-Claude Maswana about the latest waves of aggression under current Congolese President Joseph Kabila.
I did a Google search for “Jeremy Corbyn” and “Rwanda” on the unlikely chance that Britain’s Labor Party leader had ever said anything about that tiny, tortured East African nation. The one and only result was unsurprising because, in the West, Rwanda is largely forgotten except as an excuse to go to war – to “stop the next Rwanda” – meaning the country’s 1994 bloodbath.
A widely feared and anticipated military attack by U.N. and Congolese troops on the FDLR has not materialized, despite U.N. Special Envoy Russ Feingold’s repeated urgings. Instead, this week, the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo rose up in the streets to demand that their Parliament not pass legislation allowing Congolese President Joseph Kabila to extend his stay in office beyond constitutional term limits. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.
The Congolese woman in eastern Congo – the rape capital of the world – has gotten tired of being gang-raped, of being mutilated, of having 3-to-5-foot wooden sticks shoved through her genitals after being gang-raped, then being killed or buried alive. So she has taken up a weapon now in order to defend her baby, her own body, her humanity, her village, her community and her country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
We do not count to this society and this world. We can be driven from our homes, beaten, tortured and murdered with impunity. It is our responsibility to build a new politics, a politics that respects the dignity of all people, a politics that restores the land and wealth of the world to the people, a politics in which there are no people who can be freely driven from their homes and freely killed, a politics in which everyone counts.
While Rwandan President Paul Kagame was in South Africa to pay his last respects to Nelson Mandela, the Rwandan Supreme Court upheld the conviction of imprisoned opposition leader Victoire Ingabire and extended her sentence from eight to 15 years. As she left the courtroom, Ingabire gave her usual thumbs up salute and urged her supporters not to be afraid, because, she said, time and history are on their side.
The Congolese army, with the help of the UN Force Intervention Brigade, decisively defeated the M23 militia in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s eastern Kivu Provinces this week, but many Congolese, Rwandans, and Ugandans, are asking why the Democratic Republic of the Congo is now engaged in peace talks with the M23, and not with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
Rwanda’s M23 has finally been defeated in DR Congo, but what are we to make of DR Congo negotiating with M23, not Rwanda’s Kagame and Uganda’s Museveni? M23 was commanded by Rwanda’s top military officers and officials, but its collaboration with Uganda is clear to anyone who gives the Great Lakes Region any attention, as is Rwanda and Uganda’s collaboration with the Western powers.
This week the Congolese army, backed by the U.N. Force Intervention Brigade, was widely reported to be driving the last of Rwanda’s M23 militia from their positions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s most war ravaged province, North Kivu, on eastern Congo’s border with Rwanda. At the same time, Western elites stepped forward to tell the world what’s best for Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo now.
On Wednesday, July 17, Nick Long reported for the Voice of America that the Congolese army’s recent successes at driving the M23 militia from their positions in eastern Congo have caused euphoria amongst Congolese, particularly in Goma, the capital city of North Kivu Province on Congo’s border with Rwanda. Here’s that Voice of America radio report:
Afrikan history is world history. World history is human history. And the Black Woman Is God. “The Black Woman Is God” exhibit is a continuation of great Afrikan thought, not solely an outstanding new work of collective and individual art. The closing reception is Thursday, May 30, 6 p.m., in the Sargent Johnson Gallery, African-American Arts and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton St., San Francisco
This letter, signed by Diaspora Congolese women in the U.S., U.K., Belgium, France and South Africa, was delivered to Ambassador Carson on March 20. We are writing to you with regard to the current U.S. policy position on “Lasting Solution to Instability” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which you presented on Feb. 11, 2013, at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
On Monday, March 18, major news outlets all over the world reported East African warlord Gen. Bosco Ntaganda had crossed the border from DR Congo into Rwanda and “surrendered” at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali. Rwandan American law professor Charles Kambanda spoke to KPFA about Ntaganda and why the story of his surrender is thoroughly implausible.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame will speak at the University of Hartford, Connecticut’s Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies to mark the launch of its “Genocide and Holocaust Education Initiative,” despite scholars, journalists and protestors all over the world, and nearly 20 years of U.N. reports accusing Kagame himself of genocide and mass atrocities in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
On Monday, Feb. 11, outgoing Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson presented an outline of the Obama administration’s policy position on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The purpose of Ambassador Carson’s presentation was twofold: discussing why efforts should be redoubled to bring stability to the Congo and laying out a framework for “moving forward.”
Bruce Dixon, managing editor of the Black Agenda Report and author of “Did Bloody Hands, Not Black Womanhood Sink Susan Rice Nomination?” spoke to KPFA about U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s withdrawal from consideration to become President Obama’s next secretary of state.
Congolese problems should have Congolese solutions. We ask that the United States of America and the United Kingdom immediately withdraw all forms of financial and military aid to Rwanda that is a state sponsor of terrorism in Africa. We must pledge to ourselves that we will never again betray our people and ourselves by staying quiet and passive.
Over the last 16 years, more than 6 million lives have been lost in Congo – and the major perpetrators of those atrocities have been U.S. allies Rwanda and Uganda. The majority of victims have been children under the age of 5. Subsequent U.S. administrations have provided aid to the Rwandan and Ugandan regimes. The U.S. remains one of the top two donors of aid to Rwanda today.
Earlier this week, a court in Kigali, Rwanda found Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire guilty of treason and denying the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Ingabire’s daughter, Raissa Ujeneza. Ujeneza is a student of international and European law in the Netherlands.
It’s time for dialogue between Rwandan and Congolese people of like mind to finally end the 16-year war between our two armies and their various ancillary or surrogate militias. The vast majority of both of our people need democracy, political space, economic opportunity and a common share in their countries’ resource wealth.
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