Sunday, October 11, 2009

More light posting excuses...

For the first time in a while, I have a semi-reliable internet connection: I'm on a research trip for work that's taking me to DRC, Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire. There was no almost no way to connect for more than a couple minutes in the DRC. Also, don't get me started on the electricity in Kinshasa. I was staying at one of the two supposedly always on hotels...very funny, the power went off all the time, as it did at MONUC HQ, making for ideal work conditions.

Anyway, stories from all these places to come on my return and thanks to Gulliver and Gunslinger for keeping things going!

9 comments:

  1. Oh Kinshasa-la-belle! Bon voyage, Lil... Just posted a rant (in English) on one of my blogs on this duo of racist scholars-mercenaries whose dream is to fragment the Congo into Bantustans (no surprise there: one of them is a post-Apartheid white South-African): JEFFREY HERBST and GREG MILLS.

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  2. Alex, I don't agree with Herbst and Mills on DRC, but I think you're way off base throwing around accusations of racism. Both are respected scholars, and that Mills is a white South African is not remotely germane. Are Richard Goldstone and Albie Sachs racists in your book too?

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  3. Lil - they still serving good coffee at MONUC HQ? Those espressos got me through too many long days.

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  4. MK, I'll level with you. I'm not a person to throw charges of racism lightly. I've kept silent all this time while these two guys have been throwing around their bantustan project for the Congo without reacting. But I've come to realize that their persistent denial of any agency to the Congolese was a far more nefarious endeavor than it'd seem. Take for example the title of their second essay after Secretary Clinton's visit to the Congo: Time to End the Congo Charade: Hillary Clinton is making the same tragic mistake the world has been making for the past 40 years: imagining the Democratic Republic of the Congo is real. I was born in 1953 in Kisangani. Graduated from college in that city. Went to work in Kananga, Kindu, and Kinshasa. Had children there--some of them still living there. I have family members scattered all over the place (even in Goma and Bukavu). My mom was buried in Kinshasa; my dad in Kisangani... And then some post-white South-African guy, who doesn't even disclose that this past year he was the "strategic adviser" to president Kagame of Rwanda, comes and writes an essay claiming that all my life has been a charade! A guy who takes 40 years out of my life! What am I to think of him? That he is a nice guy? These two guys are vicious racists who deny me "coevalness": I'm an subhuman to them--without agency!

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  5. CORRECTION: Please read: "... then some POST-APARTHEID white South-African guy..."

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  6. MK, yes on the coffee though the cafeteria is a bit disappointing otherwise.

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  7. And thanks for the travel wishes Alex--will have to read more to respond on the other front when I get back.

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  8. Lil!

    Wow, look forward to your posts, and don't worry about the 'light posting' guys; there is so much here to digest, already.

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  9. Hey Alex, I understand your anger at their denial of Congolese national identity. Their analysis is certainly based on wide-view economic and strategic analysis, without much attention to the more complex lived reality of many Congolese, as your example so clearly illustrates. That said, I don't think it's motivated by racism - rather a very reductionist analysis of broad-based factors.

    If it's any consolation, they apply the same logic to Nigeria and other 'big African states,' arguing that for reasons of geography, demography, and economic they are unsustainable. They harp on DRC because of the seemingly endless cycles of crisis there.

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