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Syria has long dominated international headlines while the big powers discuss the possibility of dividing it into smaller, more homogeneous states along ethnic or religious lines. The Democratic Republic of Congo is rarely if ever at the top of the Western headlines, but heads of state and so-called experts have long made similar proposals to carve out new, smaller, more homogeneous nations in Congo’s resource-rich eastern provinces. I spoke with Congolese scholar and activist Boniface Musavuli about the plans.
The most revolutionary aspect of the film “Black Panther” is the mere fact that it showcases the beauty, history, relevance and capability of being simply Black and proud. I relate this strongly with the stigma many Black Americans have towards Africa, mainly visible in the lack of interest in visiting the vast continent of 54 countries. Moreover, the plague of insecurity that rests in Black people with their appearance and desire to look more European.
The Congolese Solidarity Campaign, together with Abahlali baseMjondolo and other progressive African movements, will be in Pretoria to organize a picket outside the embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday, Dec. 15, 9:00 to noon. The protest aims to declare the Congolese Solidarity Campaign’s decision to refuse to acknowledge Mr. Kabila as president of DR Congo and to oppose him from extending his power unconstitutionally beyond Dec. 19, 2016, the date his second and last term in office expires.
In his 22 years as the powerful man in Rwanda and 16 years as the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame has proved to be not only a tyrant and dictator responsible for large scale human rights abuse with an extreme and effective way of crushing dissidents and political opponents. Yet he has spoken before at the Harvard University School of Business, where he is invited again as a speaker this coming weekend.
As Joseph Kabila enters the final year of his presidency, the pressure will increase on him to respect the Constitution and step down in December 2016. Congolese are united in the defense of the Constitution and the protection of the nascent democratic advances that have occurred during the post-war period of the country. If elections are in fact held in 2016, it will be due to the vigilance and pressure coming from the sons and daughters of the Congo.
Earlier this week, the ENOUGH Project to, quote, “end genocide and crimes against humanity,” posted an appeal to consumers titled, “What if Black Friday were conflict-free?” ENOUGH is an NGO operating under the umbrella of the Center for American Progress, a neoliberal Washington D.C.-based Democratic Party think tank. They did not include an appeal to the nation’s weapons manufacturers who require minerals on the U.S. Strategic Minerals list.
Which presidents will remain in power in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its neighbors, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and the Republic of the Congo? In Burundi, Rwanda’s neighbor and another of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s neighbors to the east, President Nkurunziza claimed the right to be elected twice by universal suffrage and won the election, as Rwanda’s President Kagame did in 2010 and DR Congo’s President Kabila did in 2011, and that right was confirmed by Burundi’s highest court.
Rwandan and Ugandan troops have been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the past two weeks, but reporting is scant and neither the U.S., the U.N. Security Council nor any other members of the international community have spoken to this, the latest Rwandan and Ugandan violation of Congo’s sovereignty. The international community has instead been focused on the constitutional crisis in Congo’s neighbor, Burundi.
For some time now we have been working very closely with the Congolese Solidarity Campaign. We have been working to build a politic from below that accepts each person as a person and each comrade as a comrade without regard to where they were born or what language they speak. In this struggle we have faced constant attack from the state, the ruling party and others.
The First Congo War began in 1996, the second in 1998. The second war drew in all nine countries bordering the DRC, left millions dead, displaced millions more, and ignited conflicts that continue in the country’s mineral rich east, despite the peace treaty signed in 2003. Competition for Congolese resources can’t be stopped, but the massacre of Congolese people can and must, says Dr. Jean Didier Losango.
Africa’s elite and the elite internationally have concluded the African Development Bank’s 50th anniversary celebrations and annual meeting under the theme: “The Next 50 Years: The Africa We Want.” Over 3,500 delegates, seven African heads of state, the governor of the Central Bank of China and the U.S. deputy secretary of treasury were among the dignitaries. Beneath the confident calm, Africa is on edge, and the participants in Kigali were aware.
As a coalition of Africa-focused human rights and peace organizations representing a broad range of individuals, we write to express our dismay at your decision to welcome President of Rwanda Paul Kagame to your universities. We regret to inform you that your invitation of Paul Kagame to your institution co-signs his repressive practices inside Rwanda and his aggressive interventions in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Gen. Paul Kagame ordered the shooting down of the plane in which President Habyarimana and President Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi, French citizens, and all others on board were killed on April 6, 1994. This assassination triggered the genocide. Since then President Kagame has imposed a reign of terror to keep himself and the ruling party in absolute power.
I woke up on the morning of April 7, 1994, from a fretful slumber. I managed to walk to the gate of my house. I had to know if there were any other houses left standing. What were all of those screams I heard throughout the night? What would happen now that the president was dead? I was benumbed with fright, but I made it to the gate. I had to know what was left of our neighborhood.
The 17-year quest for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo has taken a significant step in the right direction; however, many concerns remain. Last week the Congolese military routed the Rwanda- and Uganda-backed M23 and declared an end to its reign of terror against the Congolese people.
On Oct. 3, 2013, the U.S. State Department announced sanctions against Rwanda because of its support of the M23 militia that uses child soldiers in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Rwandan President Paul Kagame has used child soldiers known as Kadogo ever since he invaded Rwanda from Uganda with his refugee Rwandan Patriotic Army in 1990, beginning what came to be known as the Rwandan Civil War.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, the world's poorest country, has not only been ravaged by civil wars, but by decades of grandiose development schemes that inevitably failed. The World Bank and other donors are now concocting the continent’s biggest pie in the sky: the $80 billion Grand Inga Dam on the Congo River.
A senior British politician has revealed Britain’s involvement in the 1961 assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the Congo’s first prime minister. The leader of the Congolese independence struggle from Belgium was brutally murdered just seven months after taking office on the direct orders of the U.S. and Belgium. Britain, whose involvement had long been suspected, also had a hand in it.
Congolese people are seeking peace and justice. Trying Bosco Ntaganda at the ICC may lead to some measure of justice for the crimes perpetrated at his behest; however, it appears that his backers in Rwanda may very well be let off the hook yet again and allowed to continue their military aggression against the DRC.
“Africa shining” is just as potent a mirage as “India shining”; the shine is restricted to the economic and political elite on both sides of the Indian Ocean. African leaders – both elected politicians and traditional chiefs share the responsibility for allowing the pillage of their continent in the name of economic growth and development.