- (august 2009)
The largest and richest failed state on Earth.
No, it's not Pakistan. Congo Kinshasa is the 12th largest country in the world.
It is one of the main producers of diamonds, copper, tungsten and gold, besides many other
minerals that find their way to Europe and the Far East.
The capital is Kinshasa, in the Far West, but it is separated by a large forest
from the East and the North. The East (the area with the richest mineral deposits) is controlled by Rwanda allies. The
North is split between two guerrilla movements.
The civil war, started in the 1990s when neighboring Uganda and Rwanda supported
a guerrilla movement under Laurent Kabila against longtime dictator Mobutu Sese
Seko (who was eventually overthrown in 1997), has taken the lives of millions and left millions more at the
mercy of bandits whose main job is to rape (both females and males).
The riches of Congo have been a curse for generations of Congolese people.
From 1885 until 1908 the Congo was the personal property of King Leopold II
of Belgium, one of the worst genocidal maniacs of all times,
who pioneered concentration camps and mass extermination, besides large-scale
By 1908 the native population has decline by 10-20 million. It is estimated
that at least 8 million people were killed.
Belgium has never compensated the Congolese for the first major genocide of
that century. Congo became
independent in 1960, but its independence hero and founder, Patrice Lumumba,
was assassinated right away, and a few years later
(1965) power was seized by Mobutu, one of the most brutal dictators of the
post-colonial era (supported by France and, again, Belgium).
Geography is certainly a major cause of Congo's chaos: a national government
in Kinshasa is far away from any meaningful economic center of the region
(it is only near the trading routes of the Europeans). The stupidity of
colonial borders is another cause: Belgium carved a colony that spanned
rival ethnic groups. However, the main cause for anarchy is the natural wealth:
virtually nobody has an interest in bringing order to the country.
According to a report by Global Witness,
European and Asian companies are benefiting from the civil war in Congo, and
the respective home countries
(notably Britain, Belgium, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia)
are doing nothing to crack down on this amoral
practice. Indirectly, these companies and these countries are funding the
These companies and these countries are responsible for
thousands of male rapes (See this New York Times article)_
and for tens of thousands of female rapes.
TM, ®, Copyright © 2007 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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- (May 2003)
The multinational holocaust in Congo.
Four millions people have probably died over the last 6 years in Congo,
while the rest of the world was watching
(read, for example this article).
We invaded Iraq to stop a mad
dictator from using his weapons of mass destruction, but one wonders
if those weapons could have caused four million deaths. Sometimes anarchy
is worses than a weapon of mass destruction.
When, in 1997, Laurent Kabila arrived in Kinshasa
and formally deposed the dictator who had ruled Congo for decades, Mobutu Sese Seko, there
were hopes that Congo would become a model of economic and political progress.
It turned out just the opposite: Congo has become a model of political
anarchy and disintegration. Congo's army controls but a fraction of the
country. The armies of much smaller countries, such as Rwanda and Uganda
(Kabila's previous mentors who are now fighting against him), seem to be far
better organized and equipped. Rwanda and Uganda hold the north eastern part
of the country.
Laurent Kabila was assassinated in January 2001 and his 29-year old son
Joseph succeeded him. Fighting continued.
Rwanda is fighting for the southern province against troops from Angola and
Zimbabwe. Uganda controls northern Congo through Jean-Pierre Bemba, a
businessman who built his own militia.
Rwanda and Uganda share control of Kisangani in the northeast.
(Rwanda is currently ruled by Paul Kagame and
Uganda by his friend and ex comrade Yoweri Museweni).
The Kinshasa government of Kabila, with help from Namibia, Angola and Zimbabwe,
holds the rest (which really means that those three countries are looting
Congo's precious resources).
Uganda backs Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, the original leader of the
rebels. Rwanda backs Emile Ilunga, who ousted Wamba. They are both respected
figures of the democratic opposition. In theory there are now three main
contenders to the throne of Congo: Kabila, Wamba and Ilunga. The first one
appears to be backed by far more countries, but the tiniest country in that
area, Rwanda, has proved over and again to be the most successful in waging
war: it was with the help of Rwanda that Kabila dethroned Mobutu.
This will not change any time soon. First of all, Zaire was a colonial
invention, that still makes no tribal, historical, geographical sense.
Mobutu's failure to unite the country financially and industrially (even
telephone and road links are fragile) made it only more obvious.
By the end of the Mobutu era, Zaire was again a federation of independent
tribes, as it had been before Belgium's occupation (two provinces even
issued their own money).
Second, none of the players are interested in changing the status quo.
Each occupying country has an interest to defend in Zaire and is doing so
successfully: Zimbabwe and Namibia control lucrative copper and diamond mines;
Angola keeps at bay Unita, the ever threatening rebel army;
Rwanda chases Hutu militias still at large in Congo;
etc. No country is losing this war, they are all winning it to
some extent. There is no point in relenting the breakup of Zaire.
In 2003, a transitional government of national reconciliation was created: president Joseph Kabila, Abdoulaye Yerodia Ndombasi for his government, Azarias Ruberwa for the Rwandan-backed RCD-Goma, the largest rebel group, Jean-Pierre Bemba for the Ugandan-backed Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC), the second largest rebel group, and
for the Kinshasa political opposition).
In the meantime, though, tribal fighting erupted in the east between
Hemas and Lendus, or, more precisely,
between the Hema militia of Thomas Lubanga and the APC
army of Mbusa Nyamwisi, a splinter faction of
Wamba dia Wamba's RCD/ML (Congolese Rally for Democracy- Liberation Movement),
which is mainly Lendu.
These multiple Congolese wars have killed about four million people in 10
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