Friday, September 11, 2009

The Congo War

If you haven't read Howard French's piece in the New York Review of Books on the war in the Congo, you really should.

As French points out, this is the most deadly war since World War II. Yet virtually no one in America is even aware of it, not to mention cares. It's largely (though certainly not entirely) caused by Rwandan president Paul Kagame's desire to control the economic resources of the eastern Congo. This is all related as well to Mobutu's terrible rule in the Congo (then Zaire) for 35 years, the genocide in Rwanda, the complexities of east African politics, and the West's indifference to these issues. For American and European lawmakers, Kagame has created stability and economic growth in Rwanda. It's even starting to attract tourists. The Times had a piece on tourism there a few months ago. But this is all happening through the killing, exiling, and raping of millions of people and the plunder of another nation's resources. The world is starting to realize that and Kagame has had to rein in his militias and allies and start figuring out how to exploit the Congo semi-legally, which I imagine he'll be able to accomplish.

In any case, it's a fantastic article on an issue we should all know more about.