Understandering Democratic Republic of the Congo

DR Congo is in the news a lot lately. Rebel General Laurent Nkunda has been firing up the warfare again in the eastern part of the country, a bit to the north of where I visited a few months ago. This history behind all of this is complex. I thinks it’s about as complex as the Yugoslavian wars, except with a helluva lot more acronyms and long names to remember. So, it’s probably worth clearing up a few things. First, if you hear ‘Congo’ in the news, it is always DRC. The other Congo is much smaller, to the north of the big one, was a French colonial, and has Brazzaville as a capital, not Kinshasa. It has problems as well, but nothing to the scale of big Congo, which was also the Belgian one by the way.

With that out of the way, it’s probably best to kick out a few links that do a much better job of explaining things than I could ever hope to. I think that my Yugoslavia explanation is pretty tight at the moment, but Congo is just too twisted up for me to break down succinctly and I feel like I’d be doing a massive disservice to the millions of people who have died in this devolving twistedness. If you do want something that’s a quicker read though, take a look at this BBC article. It doesn’t cover as much history as needed, but it gives a decent rundown for someone who wants to be a little more knowledgeable, but not annoyingly so.

For everyone who wants to really bug the crap out of people with details at your next soiree, yet offer a solid alternative to US political discussions, I turn to Wronging Rights. Their shit is in depth and I’m told they hold their liquor like coal miners. They also happen to be that rare example of the “good lawyer” working in human rights. So if you really want to dig in to Congolisciousness read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. They infuse a good deal of sarcasm in there that makes the reading not just an endless rant of dates and biznak. Party, party!