As I write this, on Jan. 8, Congolese are on edge, fearing fraudulent presidential election results and state violence to suppress mass protest. In nearby Gabon, U.S. combat troops are poised to cross borders and invade to protect U.S. citizens and interests as needed. Are they there to make sure that Joseph Kabila, the president they installed and kept in power for 18 years, cedes power to former Exxon-Mobil executive Martin Fayula, their new horse to ride? That’s just my best guess.
Last week the U.S. helped its Saudi pals bomb another hospital and school in Yemen. Don’t imagine that its intentions are any more humanitarian in Burundi just because they’re not selling fighter bomber jets and guided bombs to their pal Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s president for life. Kagame is intent on bringing down President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government in Burundi, as Saudi sheikhs are intent on bringing down the Houthi government in Yemen.
The liberation of Congo requires that people in countries that profit from Congo’s wealth stand in solidarity with those who rightfully own it. As Lumumba once famously said, “Free and liberated people from every corner of the world will always be found at the side of the Congolese.”
“Avatar,” the highest-grossing film of all time, may be more real and current than the average person knows. The battle of Pandora is taking place right now in the Congo! The central question in the Congo, as in “Avatar,” is who is going to control the resources and for whose benefit? Congolese youth have initiated a worldwide mobilization campaign in partnership with young people around the world.
As global awareness grows around the Congo and the silence is finally being broken on the current and historic exploitation of Black people in the heart of Africa, a myriad of Western based “prescriptions” are being proffered. Most of these prescriptions are devoid of social, political, economic and historical context and are marked by remarkable omissions. The conflict mineral approach or efforts emanating from the United States and Europe are no exception to this symptomatic approach which serves more to perpetuate the root causes of Congo’s challenges than to resolve them.
One hundred years ago, a global outrage surrounding the death of an estimated 10 million Congolese resulted in the end of King Leopold II of Belgium’s rule in the Congo. Ordinary people around the world from all walks of life stood at the side of the Congolese and demanded the end of the first recorded Congolese holocaust. A century later, the world finds itself facing the same issue, where the Congolese people are subjected to unimaginable suffering.