Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fighting for the Heart of Africa

Every day we hear about Iraq and Afghanistan. From time to time there are comments about Darfur, but nowhere is man’s inhumanity to man more visible than in the Congo.

While the English speaking world looks at the battle for oil – they miss the most important battle for world resources today: the battle for the riches of Africa. What the colonialists lost – the Chinese are now winning.

Forget resources for minute. The Congolese are amazing people. The ancient kingdom of warriors and sorcerers the Balubas defined as the heart of Africa.

“If the continent were human that is where the heart would be,” they decreed.

Let no one challenge this. Most Africans do not. White people who have lived in the Congo tend to agree. Genocide is taking place in the Heart of Africa. To be exact, a series of never ending genocides have hit the Congo since the depraved, debauched, greedy and gruesome King Leopold ll of Belgium in the late 19th and early 20th century first send his scouts to darkest Africa. He took it, mined and exploited every natural resource known to the Belgians at the time. The greed of the Rich knows no bounds. Jesus tells us. Philosophers tell us. So, they became the masters of the ebony trade. It is a double entendre for the rare wood - ebony and for the slave trade.

“Just look at the Congolese. Strong, well built, a handsome people, they take longer to die than other Africans. The slave trade is made for them and perfect for us, Your Majesty,” declared his most corrupt courtier, the Marquis de Sauvignon.

The Congolese experienced every horror: Slavery, Rape, Mutilation, Manumition and mass slaughter. Entire villages were deracinated. Dozens of others burnt and erased from the face of the Congo. The King and his infamous company Societe General de Belgique swam indifferently in Congolese blood.

“What of it? Blacks are not exactly human. We are making so much money, the British wish they had the Congo as a colony to rival the British and the French in Africa with their many possessions,” retorted they to the criticisms and denunciations of the Catholic Church and its many missionaries there.

Like the Germans, of whom it has been said that they never know when they are beaten, the Congolese never know when they were dead. In the midst of Death, the Congo vibrated and pullulated with the sounds of Music, Poetry, and Dance. Even their drums were like heartbeats. Anyone who has heard the drums can attest to feeling their chests quiver with their rhythm.

Amnesty International and the Nobel Prize Laureate for Peace MSF - Medecins sans Frontieres, Doctors without Borders, estimate that more than five million people have lost their lives as a direct consequence of their savage Civil War. Will Peace ever come to the Congo? Not anytime soon. Here’s why.

The Congo is vast. Its wealth of natural resources, minerals, metals, flora and fauna is just as vast. It has inexhaustible amounts of uranium mines. Copper and nitrate mines abound. Diamonds and all conceivable types of gems proliferate. The fertility of the soil runs neck and neck with the fecundity of its people. The telecom multinational cartels are making a killing in all senses of the word by their exploitation of Tantalum. This mineral is vital to microchips as well as computer chips. In the West, we call it coltan. The world would come to a tragic standstill without the precious tantalum-coltan. And so gangsters, thugs, mercenaries serving in the armies of Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, and Angola continue the killing. One of the sons of that repulsive monster Idi Amin is very much involved in the Army of Uganda. All the above mentioned killers and mercenaries are taking scrupulous care never- but never to endanger in any way the mining, logging, child slavery, child pornography, child soldiers and child assassins. Why should they” They are paid handsomely in liquidity and in armaments to continue the war indefinitely. This is in order to enable the cabals, monopolies and cartels from Europe and the United States to continue their innumerable business-as–usual enterprises; undeterred and undisturbed.

The Congo is endowed with clever Youth. You can find child soldiers tougher than the militias in Iraq. Child snipers more unerringly accurate than the best Army marksmen. Child prostitutes so debauched that they repel some men. Child entertainers so naturally talented, Britney and J-Lo and Shakira and Beyonce are mere mediocrities beside them. Millions of homeless angels and sparrows (as the children are called by the older population) survive quite well on the streets of Kinshasa. They are masterful thieves and con artists. I once spent a couple of hours with a Combonian missionary priest among the angels and the sparrows of Kinshasa. They were way cool despite the horrors they had endured. No one wailed on my shoulder asking for pity. They told me that banding together was important to survive.

They need to stay together because child slavery is alive and well in the Congo. The children are kidnapped and taken everywhere: The Middle East and to the Far East. Europe and America. Organ harvesting is common. Surrogate mothers as young as thirteen are bought used and killed after giving birth to a white, yellow, or Semitic infant.

N. B. I am mostly referring to Arabs. Most Ashkenazi Jews look of Turkic or Mongol origin to me, which is not to say that some Jews are not availing themselves of these opportunities.

All these crimes against humanity are occurring every minute of the day. Hands are cut off, legs are blown, and shootists kill all sorts of people, priests and nuns with a Beretta, (they are the best to use at close range) so the sparrows tell me.

“They aim for the eyes. There are no survivors,” Father Filippo told me. His religious order has lived, worked and died in the Congo for over fifty years.

Actress and Diva Catherine Deneuve has quietly invested money in a company, which makes unusual and practical leg and arm prosthetics – used in the Congo. They are also inexpensive.

The Congo is a predominantly Catholic country. Its Cardinal Frederic Etsou- Bamungwabi has repeatedly and strongly spoken out against the Genocide. Aside from L’Osservatore Romano, Vatican Radio and Catholic magazines, all the world Media at the moment, ignore the Genocide in the Congo and instead consider Darfur a la mode.

For all its wealth, beauty, music, dance, sorcery and shamanism, juju (magic), its vastness, rainforests, flora, fauna, a primate including Man – the Congo is not an “IN” country to endorse. Thanks to the reprehensible silence of the Media and the clear indifference of those whose wealth ensures that the Genocide continues, it is not PC - politically correct to be seen lolling around in a canoe in the mighty Congo River. It is also infested with 20-foot long crocodiles, but did that deter John Huston, Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn, film legends all from making “The African Queen” in the Congo? No! Critics and the public of various generations have rated it one of the five greatest movies ever made. That was back in the fifties. No one told Huston, Bogey and Kate where to go, what to say and what to omit. They had Bravery and Balls.

As we end the year 2007, the Congo is not cool. It’s not chic. We will not see the likes of Gorgeous George (Clooney). Bono who is usually found like parsley in the trendy and high profile meetings of the elite or is it more correctly termed the ILL-LUMINATI? Good Bono is nowhere to be seen. One must ask, would La Jolie Femme Angelina, dare to challenge and offend her Sponsors at the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) and visit the Congo on her own initiative? I am not holding my breath.

In spite of all this horrors, there is hope for the Congo. It may be long term but it is there nonetheless. I am betting on the Congolese people themselves. Last October, they saw through the lies and the webs of deceit in a presidential election and voted for the young Joseph Kabila, who stepped in when his father Laurent was assassinated. Joseph is quiet and astute, somewhat of a mysterious man. He is a Tutsi, so the horrors he must have lived through cannot even be imagined. He rarely gives interviews.

“Fools names and fools faces are always seen in public places,” says an old Congolese aphorism,

Laurent Kabila adopted him when he in turn lost all his blood sons to sickness and war. Joseph may be kin. We just don’t know. His birth name may not have been Joseph either. That matters little or nothing in the Congo. Like Jews, they change their names to forget, to put on a new skin, to have a more positive life, and to live once more. Joseph cannot speak Lingala Congolese fluently, but his English is impeccable as is his French and quite possibly his Mandarin, Africaans and Swahili. For the Congo Joseph’s reflective manner and decisive action when necessary, has proven to be a cunning political leader. Some of his most trusted Advisors are elderly Chinese men and women from Mainland China. I think we can all draw our own conclusions. He does not lose himself in long speeches. He promises little. He talks about Hope That is something every Congolese holds on to in their heart of hearts. Joseph is also attractive which does not hurt his image. His wife Olive is a pretty woman. Both keep a low profile. She is a Roman Catholic and Joseph is Protestant. In a spirit of ecumenism their marriage was celebrated in both rituals.

There is a Warlord, Nkundi who has retreated with his multinational army of mercenaries into a small area of the Congo, as large as Maryland. He has refused to accept the result of the Presidential election, which gave Kabila a large majority of the votes. It suits the multinationals to have a malleable but ruthless man who plays the part of a buffoon. He talks to the press often. He provides yet another diversion to keep the tension high and the blood boiling high. In other words, continue with the rape and the killing.

Kabila never stoops to counter his vile accusations. As I said, Kabila is young and he knows how to wait. He has The People’s Republic of China behind him. A formidable ally in every sense of the word. A line has been drawn in the rain forests, the lakes, rivers and immense wealth.

“This far and no further.”

On the geopolitical chessboard we have the quagmire in Iraq, which might last twenty years. Lest we forget Afghanistan and Pakistan. Quelle horreur! Ca va sans dire, a possible military confrontation with Iran. While the US has focused the world's attention on the Middle East – perhaps the the most important battle for resources taking place is access to the riches of the Congo, and Africa – and the winning hand seems to be going to the Chinese right now.

It is in the Congo where the fate of Africa will be determined. If you think the black continent is irrelevant, think again. Read Joseph Conrad’s masterful novella “Heart of Darkness.”

Francis Coppola used the story for his “Apocalypse Now” motion picture. He did not change the most powerful scenes in Conrad’s book. That would have been sacrilegious. “The horror of it … the horror,” rasps the dying evil Kurtz in Conrad’s book and in Coppola’s film.

Conrad was not referring to African cruelty towards their fellow Africans. He meant white brutality against Africans - the Congo to be exact. As I said in the beginning of this essay, the Congo, like the Germans cannot be killed. They will never lie down and die. They will fight in a thousand ways. A few of us are witnessing it.

The world may yet see an African Renaissance exploding in the Congo. And don't be surprised if there is a strong Chinese influence in bringing it about.

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