Tuesday, 4 November 2008

The lost 250,000 and neo-Colonialism

Today, or was it yesterday, news can travel slowly through the Congo, twelve United Nations trucks carrying medicines and supplies finally halted in the refugee camp at the end of the long and dusty trail. And found the camp totally deserted. That this does not bode well for the refugees goes without saying. We can only pray to whatever gods there are overseeing this unholy war that the 250,000 refugees, mainly old men, women with children, and girls with babies who were in the camp only a few days ago are now hiding somewhere safe. We can only hope that another genocide has not yet been perpetrated.
When President Obama takes office, as he must surely do according to all the pre-election polls, one of his first international problems will be how to deal with the situation in the Congo. Will he send in more peace missions, more troops on the ground, more spy planes in the air, more money, more skilled workers, more American firms, more experts or what? Or will he be the man who finally gets to the root of the problem?
A glance in any modern encylopedia will reveal the causes of the current strife. To spell it out: the area is much too rich in mineral wealth for its own good. Tribes are now staking their claims. The G8 and G7 countries are dealing from their marked decks at the high table. The usual shady interests are lurking in the long shadows, knives drawn. The new power blocks are seeking to get their hands on large chunks of the mineral wealth cake. Every dog wants its 'place in the sun' as Mussolini, and Hitler too, termed the old colonialism. The arms manufacturers and the manufacturers of civil unrest and civil wars have 'never had it so good'.
So what are these minerals that lie in abundance under Central Africa? Here's a list, by no mean comprehensive, but it will suffice to tell the tale: gold, copper, zinc, cobalt, manganese, oil and uranium... and of course, also of much interest, above the surface the green jewel, the vast African rain forest.
The great river which flows through Africa's 'Heart of Darkness' is 4,820 kms long; long as the Atlantic Ocean is wide. The crocodile infested waters may already be flowing red.

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