"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


breaking news

Breaking news: the NYT runs a story on Congo and gets it semi-right. In other news, Texas in Africa faints.

Okay, sorry, it's just that after my summer of realizing that Nick Kristof prints things that are demonstrably false, I don't have much confidence in the old newspaper of record.

Anyway, this article on the growing fighting outside of Goma is not bad in its analysis. It veers towards oversimplification in reducing the conflict's causes to ethnicity and minerals, but the author also gets that it's about land (which is what it's primarily about. Ethnicity is important, but it's also fluid and tends to shift based on interests in the land.). More importantly, she gets the government's gamble right - Kabila has been gunning for a military solution all summer, despite the fact that it was obvious from the beginning that FARDC isn't strong enough to take out the rebels on its own - and now he's stuck.

The report on the humanitarian front is sad and frightening. I have no idea where the NYT got the number 800,000 for displaced persons (they must be counting the total from all the regional conflicts of the last 15 years, and not the 400,000 or so who've been displaced this year), but the sheer magnitude of human suffering sounds overwhelming. Radio Okapi says that some who fled their homes on Tuesday have started back home since MONUC took control of the town, but Sake's people have fled many times before, and will probably have to flee many times again before it ends, if it will ever end.

This is a great article to read if you're interested in learning more about what's going on in the DRC. Even if you don't read it, check out Lynsey Addario's haunting photos. The one from the abandoned mission sums up Congo.


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