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The Many Problems With DR Congo

old map showing ethiopia and unexplored region

The Western media, thanks to social media, have suddenly decided to speak on the Rwandan aggression in Eastern Congo. Though the attack has been going on for almost three decades now, the ten plus millions of victims, including children, remain overlooked for the most part. Now that European journalists have decided to focus on Ukraine, due to ethnic solidarity between European whites, the wars on Yemen and Congo are purposely hidden. The media and politicians would have zero interest in highlighting the source of the matter, especially when the West which has always been synonymous with advancement and progress, could have never existed without the constant plundering of African resources. Especially that of the DR Congo.

1 The Congolese Fabrication

Antique photograph of people from the World: King Leopold II, mass murderer Belgium

When it comes to the Congolese political crisis, one question is often asked. One can hear it within the Congolese circles- diaspora or not-, and among the foreigners who analyze the situation for political and journalistic purposes: “What is wrong with DR Congo?”. This question is often asked with defeatism. Generations of Congolese have either been suspended in time or blocked, trapped in a political problem which has yet found any solution over the centuries.

The first issue met when talking about the second largest African country ever, is the way one approaches it. The DR Congo is thought about as a sole, strong, entity, whose history would be equal to that of France, Spain or Germany. DR Congo was a total colonial creation, from beginning to end. Five times bigger than France, as early as the 1910s, the country was still mentioned to as the “Ethiopian plateau”, a reminiscence of the ancient African history, a time when ancient Ethiopia/Kush covered the totality of Central Africa. The Kongo was a delimited empire which had nothing to do initially with the geography of the DR Congo as we know it today.

Because of this colonial creation, millions of ethnics which had nothing to do with one another were forced to live together, submit to a new fabricated identity when they belonged to another territory or had different customs. The disdain of the colonizers pushed the latter to lump these gigantic ethnic groups within the same rank for their own interests.

Consequently, the Congolese could never develop any feeling of unity, based on the same shared values when their unity was not only forced but created for the interests of the Westerners in their desire of wanting to exploit black Africans for their bodies, and thus, to further their capitalistic approach. (It is more than important to remind the readers that these ethnic groups could represent to themselves, mini-countries within a bigger country. For the record, a province like Katanga is as big as Spain.)

In their colonial system, Western colonizers often globalized rather than keeping distinctions within the groups they chose to dominate in order to respect a certain order in the cycle. The wrong idea was to believe that a descendant of the Kongo empire was similar in terms of culture, race and identity to a Katangan Congolese or to groups split between the Eastern Congolese and Rwandan-Congolese spaces. The territory was always too big and gigantic to maintain the too many differences between the populations. In that sense, the DR Congolese have to live a weight on their shoulders since their nation should have never existed as such in the first place, for being a brutal Belgian, German, French creation.

2 The Overshadowed Legacy of Slavery And Its Consequences

XJF396605 Tippu Tip (b/w photo) by English Photographer, (20th century); black and white photograph; Private Collection; (add. info.: Tippu Tip (1837-1905) real name Hamad bin Muhammad bin Jumah bin Rajab bin Muhammad bin Said al-Murghabi, Swahili- Zanzibari trader); English, out of copyright

Often, when a country suffers from such division, the study of the ancient past can help populations understand where they come from. It is true that Western Europeans do not necessarily love one another, but a French and a German can agree on their terms for their common interests. The French are aware of some German, Italian, Celtic ancestry they may possess as they are connected to their past, to their ancestors and their moves. In that sense, this knowledge, despite the wars, can help consolidate and further political unity between the various Western political structures.

Unfortunately, the DR Congo was the victim of historical erasure. The modern Congolese do not really know who they are, where they come from. They have no connection to their ancient history, have been dissociated from the rest of African history. The Central African was the one who endured the most brutal form of dehumanization when it comes to the legacy of the slave trade. It was against his body that racist laws such as the One Drop Rule were applied in the United States. It is because of him that the white children of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are qualified as mixed-race or black, when white, since that Blackness supposedly tainted the majority of their white genes.

If other African countries such as Senegal, Gambia, or Angola were also crushed by colonialism and by the slave trade, the Senegalese, Malians or Angolans still have a solid trace of their past. The Angolans still know about the Kongo empire, the Malians/Senegalese about their ancient kings, the Dogons and their celestial knowledge which rivals with that of the Nasa, but the Congolese have been blocked in a spiral of horror and deprived of any glorious past.

This reality is even more shocking when ancient maps, ancient tales refer to Central Africa as the center of the ancient Western world. By removing Central Africa and its power as the West emerged, all ties to the center of Africa were also removed. A people which came from the southern sphere has to exist through the Western lens only, as everything should come from the top, from the North. This fact exposes us to the real problem that is Eurocentrism.

Indeed, Eurocentrism has nothing to do with whitewashing a people but has to do with the idea of placing white people as the founders, creators of African, Latinized American or Asian civilizations and movements. In many cases, especially in the ancient world, Central Africa was the power from which ancient Egypt and Canaan emerged. The same ancient Greeks had an admiration for the Ethiopians, hence the modern-day South Sudanese/Kushites. In times of political problems, the ancient Egyptians found refuge in the south, within the Kingdom of the Kushites, hence in Central Africa.

The first event which weakened the region of the DR Congo, and thus, Central Africa as a whole, was the Arab slave trade. It was in the 7th century that the Arab caliphates began to massively enslave East Africans and modern Congolese to build their infrastructures. Basra was built upon the pain, tears and blood of these black Africans. Later, in the Middle Ages, Arabized authors and thinkers like Ibn Khaldun began to share dehumanizing thoughts regarding the body, customs of the Central Africans, calling them cannibals, savages and infidels. As slavery allowed the Arabians (whether black or white) to further their political power, Western Europeans, in the 15th century following the downfall of the Moors, also began to enslave, in order to remain on top and in tune with this new found technology which was human slavery.

The constant enslavement of the Central Africans led to the erasure of their historical achievements, to the point of leaving their descendants in a total void. The Kushites were the last most powerful ancient black African power to resist. It was with the brutal Ottoman colonial invasions in the 15th century that the Kushites/Nubians/Aethiopians began to fade away. Consequently, the Congolese do not know that the Atlantic ocean which borders the coasts of Angola and Congo-Brazzaville was known from ancient times until the 18th century as the Aethiopian Ocean. That detail was later changed to the Atlantic ocean. If the ocean was named after the ancient Kushites, this fact reveals that their political power rivaled with that of the Westerners. The erasure of the Aethiopian ocean shows that they clearly had fallen, to be replaced, lately by the Atlantic appellation.

In that sense, though the ancient Greeks had asserted with evidence that the Kingdom of Kush began at the south of Egypt, the history of ancient Central African remains a mystery for the Congolese themselves. Yet, when Congolese historians try to write upon this ancient past, the Congolese population do not read them at all. Due to their catastrophic political condition, the emphasis of the population is placed upon immediacy: on eating, sleeping and surviving. Often, the work written by these few Congolese or Central African authors are overlooked by the Western academic corpus which treat them with utter disdain. Their books are regarded as Afro centric, as pseudo-science.

So, the modern Congolese fail to understand that the misery of their condition did not begin with the arrival of the Belgians, Germans and French in the late 19th century. It began with the enslavement of Central Africans by the Arabians in the 7th century. Arabians, modern Comorians, Omanis had begun plundering the human and material resources of the modern Congolese centuries ago to support the advancement of their society.

3- The Wealth

The DR Congo is one of the richest African nations. If the media have now decided to talk about the Congolese war and the Rwandan aggression there, the resources of Central Africa were already an obsession for the ancient Greeks and Romans. The ancient Roman empire was built upon the constant exploitation of African natural resources. It has been documented that the Romans had launched several expeditions into the interior of Africa, going as far as Chad, Tanzania, the Horn of Africa. Yet, this reality remains hidden by the modern European historians who would have to recognise that the supposed political advancements of the West could have never happened without the constant exploitation of foreign African and Latinized American nations. Western Europe is not, was not and will never be a naturally rich space. Their leaders have to depend upon other groups to survive.

The DR Congo is also a threat to its neighbours such as Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi or Zambia whose leaders want to exploit its resources. But it also attracts many more nations. Israel has a problem with the presence of illegal Sudanese immigrants on its soil, as the leaders fear a blackwashing of the population, but the Israelis have given rise to a certain number of corrupt agents who enjoy exploiting the natural resources of Africa, with the help of their black minions. Israeli-Jewish Dan Gertler bought himself several mines in Katanga, making him a billionaire. He managed to do so with the help of corrupt Joseph Kabila, before being outed by anti-corruption corporations which exposed his illegal activities.

The constant technological progress made in the West is directly linked to the constant material plundering of African nations, especially that of the DR Congo. The Silicon Valley could not make any advancement without the exploitation of coltan, cobalt and many more resources. Their phones, computers could not be made without it at all.

4 The Incompetent Government

Felix Tshisekedi, current president of DR Congo

The DR Congo suffers greatly from its failed political system. As stated in our first paragraph, the Congolese do not know one another. This is a reality which was not taken into account by the fathers of independence. Patrice Lumumba, though remembered as one of many great African heroes, wrongly thought about his people as one, united and formed entity. It was way too early for the Congolese to think of themselves as one same group when they had been forced by the colonial authorities to live under one same banner. Since the groups did not know one another, divisions could easily erupt, following the quest for independence. Without knowing it, as soon as Lumumba asked for the independence of his nation, the idea of betrayal and chaos would easily come about.

The problem with Lumumba reveals that most Congolese leaders have had a hard coming together with a clear political vision. After the murder of Lumumba in 1961, Mobutu came into power in the 1965 with the help of the CIA. The Maréchal never changed anything but allowed the natural resources to be exploited on behalf of the West. In addition to it, he was also guilty of human rights violation. Contrary to other African or Latin American dictators who somehow attempted to impose a constant revolution in education, medicine, research or music, Mobutu never placed the importance upon the instruction of the youth, but rather accelerated its degeneracy to the extreme. This reality gave rise to a real opposition between the members of the Congolese diaspora whose ancestors had migrated in the late 1950s and 1960s and those who arrived in the 1980s and early 2000s. If the first group was raised with the importance of education they transmited to their children, the second group was the mediocre product of thirty two years of Mobutism.

The political vision of most Congolese leaders is rather static and based upon traditions which were created by the Belgian colonizers. In that sense, the leaders are not spontaneous enough, rather shallow in the sense that they spend more time debating, accusing and attacking the culprits rather than questioning their own system. However, this stillness is the total opposite of the dynamic of the population. The Congolese as a people are rather young, joyful and willing to work extremely hard to make it. In the Eastern part, the Gomatriciens (inhabitants of Goma) are not only tech-savvy, but they have also inherited, like any East African, from the culture of trade, exchange and commerce. This trait is especially seen within the women who hold the society.

The music scene in Kinshasa and in Katanga is buzzing, as well as the art scene. The human richness which transpires through the many great cooks, painters, singers, musicians, students, is never supported by the Congolese government. The members of the same government would rather accuse the Rwandans and Ugandans of blocking them from promoting their own talents, instead of questioning their political system as a governing group.

The political issue with the Congolese leader has to do with the vision he has of himself. The leader sees himself as a God who can do no wrong, who can not get down off his throne and put his hands in the dirt at all. This sentiment dates back to ancient times as well.

If one focuses on the political system of Congo- Brazzaville and even Angola, the ancient Kongo empire was led by various clans which were well-defined. Outsiders who did not descend from these specific clans could not dominate, reign over the region at all. This is that clanism which remains a problem in both countries since the leaders are reluctant to any idea of change which can not get along with their static political vision of things.

As a consequence, even if the Congolese-Americans or Eastern Congolese can create revolutionary tools in technology, their government rarely elevate their work or recognise them at all. The power, in the minds of the leaders, can not be taken away from them in any way. It is them first, and the people after. In that sense, the politicians can not think in their best interests at all, or think about the interest of the nation on a global spectrum as they only focus on their own personal advancements, while the people is dying.

The constant Rwandan attack in the East stems from this inability to govern properly.

Congolese politicians have never shown any sense of flexibility but rather believe in an irrelevant system of immobility of power.

The Banyamulenge or Congolese Watusi have been present in the region of the Great Lakes since the 15th century at least. They have roots in the Horn of Africa. Despite the elements which document their presence in the Great Lakes, modern Congolese still refuse to recognise them as Congolese for racist issues. Since their facial traits resemble that of the Horners, and differ from that of the Negroid Bantu, these Congolese Tutsi are not accepted at all.

Yet, due to this improbable logic in governing, this rejection led to two things. First, if the Congolese leaders were logical, they would understand the change of physiognomy between the Western Congolese and Eastern ones. It is totally normal to find a more Rwandan protytpe in the Eastern part of the country because of the Rwandan frontier. This Rwandan-Congolese identity, as unique as it is, should have been celebrated like any other. Yet, by the constant hesitation in recognising them as real Congolese, the Congolese leaders dug their own tombstone.

Therefore, due to its improbable and rather incompetent political rationality, the Congolese leaders support an idea of nationalism which has proved not to have been efficient since they always fail at developing a core, strong and clear political vision based upon logic.

If the Banyamulenge had been recognised as Congolese, the Rwandan rebels backed by the elites of Kigali and Kampala would have never found a door to open to advance their own pawns.

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[3] VKY, “The Disappearance of the Ethiopian Ocean: a Political History of Euro-African Relations Bronze Age-Present”, Editions Canaan, Paris, 2022, ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8885264648

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[10] Rahier, Jean Muteba. “The Ghost of Leopold II: The Belgian Royal Museum of Central Africa and Its Dusty Colonialist Exhibition.” Research in African Literatures, vol. 34, no. 1, 2003, pp. 58–84. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3821097.

[11] Viaene, Vincent. “King Leopold’s Imperialism and the Origins of the Belgian Colonial Party, 1860–1905.” The Journal of Modern History, vol. 80, no. 4, 2008, pp. 741–90. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.1086/591110. 

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[14] Kavanagh, Michael J, “Congo Publishes Oil Block Agreement with Billionaire Gertler”, Bloomberg, 2022

[15] “Apple and Google named in US lawsuit over Congolese child cobalt mining deaths”, The Guardian, 2019 https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/dec/16/apple-and-google-named-in-us-lawsuit-over-congolese-child-cobalt-mining-deaths

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