Friday, November 14, 2008

Where Things Stand

A few observations are warranted based on the week of activities inside and outside of the Congo:
1. The mainstream media appear to be moving towards a more accurate description of what is taking place in the Congo. The pathological prism through which they often view Congo in particular and Africa in general is broadening to include other factors than the ethnic rivalries narrative. Thursday's New York Times editorial and Time Magazine's article on the Congo presented three elements that moved those institutions in the right direction.
A. They noted that the conflict was a resource war
B. They acknowledge that Rwanda invaded the Congo twice before and was likely supporting the latest upsurge on the part of Rebel leader Nkunda
C. They recognized that only a political solution will resolve the crisis and part of that requires pressure on US ally, Rwanda.

2. African institutions such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union are primed to be more engaged in the Congo issue. Considering Congo's importance to Africa, it is remarkable that they have been silent around the Congo crisis for so long.

3. Rwanda's leader Paul Kagame cannot feel as secure or be as arrogant as he has been in the past. One of his top aid was arrested in Germany as a result of warrants issued by a French court and their is almost global consensus that pressure must be put on him to cease his support of the destablization of the Congo.

4. It is with amazement that we read that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the New York Times editorial board are concerned about another Rwanda occurring in the Congo. What do they think has been happening for the past 12 years, with an estimated 6 million dead and hundreds of thousands of women raped?

5. The internally displaced persons are finally getting food and care. The suffering is still enormous but at least those who were trapped behind rebel lines can now get support.

6. Keep an eye on the mining contracts. As we are all rightly focused on the crisis in the East, do not be surprised if the government moves to approve some of the odious contracts on the table, particularly the grand daddy of them all the FreePort McMoRan deal. See Dan Rather's incisive report on this deal (search All Mines on I-Tunes)


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