Thursday, December 13, 2007

Democratic Republic of Congo, a country undersieged by Ignorance and Hatred in 21 centuries

National Name: Republique Democratique du Congo

President: Joseph Kabila
Prime Minister: Antoine Gizenga

Current government officials

Land area: 875,520 sq mi (2,267,599 sq km); total area: 905,568 sq mi (2,345,410 sq km)

Population (2007 est.): 64,606,759 (growth rate: 3.1%); birth rate: 43.3/1000; infant mortality rate: 86.6/1000; life expectancy: 51.8; density per sq mi: 74

Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Kinshasa, 6,541,300
Other large cities: Lubumbashi, 1,105,900; Mbuji-Mayi, 938,000; Kolwezi, 832,400; Kisangani, 523,000
Monetary unit: Congolese franc

Languages: French (official), Lingala, Kingwana, Kikongo, Tshiluba

Ethnicity/race: With over 200 African ethnic groups, the majority are Bantu; the four largest tribes—Mongo, Luba, Kongo (all Bantu), and the Mangbetu-Azande (Hamitic)—make up about 45% of the population, there are three nilotique minority groups known as the Banyamulenge, part of rwandophone from Northern Kivu, known as Banyamasisi, and the Hima of Bunia. Although they are Congolese, these Tutsis group have been targeted by the Congolese political extremists for their resemblance with the Tutsi of Burundi and Rwanda.

Religions: Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Islam 10%; other syncretic and indigenous 10%
Literacy rate: 66% (2003 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2006 est.): $44.44 billion; per capita $700. Real growth rate: 6.4%. Inflation: 18.2% (2006 est.). Unemployment: n.a.

Arable land: 3%. Agriculture: coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, quinine, cassava (tapioca), palm oil, bananas, root crops, corn, fruits; wood products. Labor force: n.a. Industries: mining (diamonds, copper, zinc), mineral processing, consumer products (including textiles, footwear, cigarettes, processed foods and beverages), cement, commercial ship repair. Natural resources: cobalt, copper, cadmium, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, germanium, uranium, radium, bauxite, iron ore, coal, hydropower, timber. Exports: $1.108 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.): diamonds, copper, crude oil, coffee, cobalt. Imports: $1.319 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.): foodstuffs, mining and other machinery, transport equipment, fuels. Major trading partners: Belgium, Finland, U.S., China, South Africa, France, Zambia, Kenya, Germany (2004).

Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 10,600 (2005); mobile cellular: 2.75 million (2005). Radio broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 11, shortwave 2 (2001). Television broadcast stations: 4 (2001). Internet hosts: 1,778 (2006). Internet users: 140,600 (2005).

Transportation: Railways: total: 5,138 km (2005). Highways: total: 153,497 km; paved: 2,794 km; unpaved: 150,703 km (2004). Waterways: 15,000 km (navigation on the Congo curtailed by fighting) (2004). Ports and harbors: Banana, Boma, Bukavu, Bumba, Goma, Kalemie, Kindu, Kinshasa, Kisangani, Matadi, Mbandaka. Airports: 234 (2006 est.).

Ignorance Based conflicts: Ignorance about globalization, and multiculturalism has driven the country in the chaos for over 10 years as the country is ruled by political extremists,particularly in the Kivus who implement hatred and ethnic driven policies. Many eastern politicians are responsible for the destabilisation of eastern congo as a result of their animosity towards the congolese tutsis. Most congolese have no sense of decency when it comes to cohabitation with various cultural or ethnic group. The sad reality is that even the intellectuals and political elites have no shame to dwell on their hatred of Tutsis as their primary issue of concern instead of developping their country. It is universally known that the division of Africa in 1885 during the Berlin conference displaced many ethnic groups into different newly created countries in Africa, which was the case of all Congolese Tutsis who found themselves belonging to Congo, not anylonger to Rwanda. However, nowhere else in Africa such historical issue is still a contentious issue except in Congo. It is one thing to dislike a historical reality, but it is quite another to not accept a historical fact. It is therefore, no wonder Congo remains a dangerous place. When ignorance and hatred dominate the psychic and the political minds of the ruling class, one might only expect the worst political achievement.

As rightly stated by Richard, "Congo is the deadliest crisis anywhere in the world over the past 60 years," said Richard Brennan, health director of the New York-based International Rescue Committee.
Due to a spreading genocidal ideology among the congolese population, most congolese extremists have made the political and social position of the Tutsi Congolese a point of contention in the eastern provinces of Kivus as they fail to do away with their tribalism and extremism based mentality since the independance, leading to 1996-7 and Second Congo War of 1998-2007.
Despite a so called "democratic election", Congo is still a country undersieged by ignorance and hatred driven politics. As long as this continues to be the reality, Congo cannot therefore be expected to rise from its primitive political situation.
The sooner the International community under MONUC, realizes this undeniable truth, the better it will be in a better position to behave responsibly instead of siding with a primitive political regime in the fight against general Laurent Nkunda who is fighting for the rights and the survival of his people.
MONUC should bring the Congolese political elites to reason. It should make them understand that a government cannot refuse its people the rights to live peacefully in their own country based on their ethnic origin, and expect them not to fight for justice. Unfortunately, money has corrupt the minds of MONUC staff, that instead of loosing their jobs once Congo is stabalize, they would rather support the oppressive regime and make it look good by diabolizing the cause of Tutsis in order to justify its presence in Congo.

Justice will end up winning, because it always does.


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