CANADA IN THE WARS IN CENTRAL AFRICA
Genocide and Looting of the Congo's Natural Resources Through Rwandan Intervention
A new book by Patrick Mbeko released 12 May 2012 and available in French.
Read the Preface in English by Keith Harmon Snow here.
In the late spring of 1991 I crossed Uganda on a mountain bicycle and slipped into the eastern Congo, then known as Zaire. I was not interested in politics then, knew nothing about race relations or imperialism and, certainly, nothing about genocide. Africa was an adventure to find and experience life amongst tribal cultures and wildlife I'd seen re-presented in the National Geographic Magazine. After a few safaris in Kenya and Tanzania and after summiting Mount Kilimanjaro (covered white with glaciers at the time) and inspired by the portrayals of Africa I'd seen in the western media imagination, I set out for the "heart of darkness": Zaire.
In western Uganda I passed through Lake Victoria National Park but there were few animals to be seen. Uganda had suffered a bloody cataclysm due to the previous decade of war, 1980-1990, which today (as then) is described as a "civil war" involving African tribes. The bloodshed was spawned by the victorious National Resistance Movement/Army (NRM/A) under the command of Yoweri Museveni, Uganda's "president" for the past 24 years, and it was backed by Anglo-American interests, but I neither knew nor cared about any of this. I also did not then know the name Paul Kagame, the so-called "president" of Rwanda, who has led a dictatorial regime in Rwanda since 1994, when the Museveni-Kagame axis seized power by coup d'etat. Kagame served as Yoweri Museveni's Director of Military Intelligence and, along with his commander and many others, is responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Uganda as the NRM/A fought its bloody way to power (1980-1985) and then ruthlessly consolidated that power (1985-1990).
In 1990, Major General Paul Kagame had been receiving military training in the United States under the Pentagon's elite psyops (psychological operations) and counter-insurgency programs at Fort Leavenworth Command and General Staff College in Kansas, USA. In September Kagame was flown back to Uganda to assume command of the guerrilla army that invaded Rwanda on October 1, 1990. Given what Maj. Gen. Paul Kagame has done in Uganda (circa 1983-1988), Rwanda (1990-1994) and Congo (1995-2010), the only meaningful interpretation of the terminology "psyops" and "counter-insurgency" would be to define this as training in scorched earth terrorism, torture, assassinations and mass murder. Advancing their military campaigns from Uganda to Rwanda to Congo, Kagame and Museveni have never diverged from their path: the modus operandi has always been absoluter terrorism and mass murder to depopulate the land, eliminate the claimants to that land, and control or plunder its resources.
Of course, had I wished to know the truth about Kagame or Museveni I would have been hard pressed to find any, buried as it was, and remains, behind the smokescreens of international capitalism and its corporate propaganda. The RPF/A invasion of Rwanda that began in October 1990 was a major violation of international law, but the RPF/A's terrorist guerrillas were cast as liberators and the government soldiers, agents and allies of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana were cast as terrorists. The RPF/A was predominantly comprised of former NRM/A veterans from the (newly renamed) Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF). As early as 1991 the language of genocide began circulating, but blame was always assigned to the majority Hutu government of Rwanda and the Forces Armees Rwandaise (FAR), the national army, which by necessity fought to defend Rwanda and its people against a foreign invasion and occupation by Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni and their western backers, including the Pentagon and its Canadian partners. In the Orwellian doublespeak of contemporary western propaganda, war is peace, insurgency is counter-insurgency, victims are killers, killers are victims, and mass murderers, that is, Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni, are "entrepreneurs" and a "new breed of African leader."
This bloodshed in Uganda and Rwanda, with its roots in the NRM/A guerrilla insurgency from 1980-1985, is not ancient history, and it is happening still today, and it is much more than collective memory, it is collective pain and suffering, collective trauma, the devastation of entire generations of children's lives, and it is happening in Congo too.
In July of 1991 I reached the triangle of real estate where Uganda, Rwanda and Zaire all meet. By then, Paul Kagame was leading the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army in the commission of massive atrocities in northern Rwanda. I stayed one night in the western Uganda border town of Kasesse before cycling west into the Ruwenzori Mountains. At the border town of Kasindi, after a few hairy encounters with rogue soldiers of the Forces Armees Zairois (FAZ), I entered eastern Zaire (Congo). I traveled through rainforest, mud, more mud, and more rainforest, crossed some mountainous savannah, and emerged in a place called Beni, one of the main cities of North Kivu, a province I'd never heard of, and never learned the name of.
My white skin and my arrogance were my badge and my shield.
From Beni I cycled northwest along the Beni-Kisangani route, and then due east along the Kisangani-Bunia route, a loop that took me a few hundred miles (400 kilometers) through Zaire. I exited Zaire three weeks after I entered it, passing through Bunia, descending into the Lake Mobutu (Albert) valley, and crossing Lake Mobutu on a small wooden boat.
If you had told me then that I would return to travel these roads some fifteen years later, as an independent journalist, and be arrested by some rogue Rwandan militia that used some form of the acronym RCD, or Congolese Rally for Democracy, along this same Kasindi-Beni route, or that I was destined to be arrested by MONUC (United Nations Observers Mission in Congo) troops in the city of Bunia, not once, but twice, I'd have thought you insane. Indeed, if you have invested ANY of your attention into consuming the western mass media and the massive volumes of deceptive, racist reportage about Africa, as I had, then you certainly were, and are.
So perhaps we should begin this exploration, this brief introductory preface to the work of an appropriately indignant Congolese native, by asking the obvious questions: Who are "those" Canadians who kill "us", and who is the "us" being killed?
Indeed, we can imagine the outrage of the average Canadian citizen upon hearing that it is they, their very selves, about whom this book is written and about whom these charges are leveled! They are "those" Canadians who are doing the killing and the "us" being killed are the Congolese people, directly, but all people of the Great Lakes region, and all black or brown African people, and people of color around the world, more indirectly. Everything we might say about Canadian involvement in war and plunder in the Democratic Republic of Congo can be said about Canadian culpability in war and plunder all over Africa. Indeed, why limit our charges? Canada-based mining corporations, private military companies, banking institutions, humanitarian "aid" organizations, wildlife conservation societies, and government agencies are also plundering Asia, Latin America and, indeed, Canada itself.
While the average Canadian citizens are hereby accused of being the killers, we can also show compassion and cast them as victims (of their own predatory system). In the hierarchies of power and hierarchies of suffering we find Canadian government officials and corporate executives at the top, in the ranks of the affluent and privileged elites. These are white-skinned people, with the token people of color peppering boards of directors and government ministries here and there. At the bottom of the misery pile, somewhere under the dung heap, we find the First Nations people's of Canada suffering abuses similar to those suffered by the Congolese people, yet not nearly so flagrant.
No matter how you slice the land--De Beers (diamonds) in Nunavit, or Diamond Fields and International Nickel (Inco) in Voisey Bay, or Banro Gold mining in South Kivu--the end result, on the ground, is genocide against native peoples, and white-skinned Canadians are involved. And it really is about the ground, the earth, the soil, the minerals, the petroleum, diamonds, cobalt, copper, uranium, gold, tin, tantalum, coltan, germanium, niobium, manganese, and about the forests, the primates, the fauna and flora, the bio-piracy and intellectual property theft, about the big agribusiness and, of course, more and more, about the water. It is about the land that belongs to Amerindian First Nation's people on Turtle Island just as it is about the land that belongs to Congolese people in Kongo. The same structural factors that maintain, and even accelerate, the deracination of Canada's First Nations people's are at work against people of color everywhere.
Yet it is as if the average Canadian citizen cannot comprehend, no matter how you teach them, the meaning of the word deracination. It is as if they have never read, in all their leisure time, the great intellectual, moral and ethical challenges by Leo Tolstoy, Martin Luther King, Frantz Fanon, Walter Rodney, Malcolm X, Chinweizu, Ward Churchill, Wilhelm Reich, Thomas Sankara or The Great Cosmic Mother (Sjoo & Mor). And if the Canadians have read Arundhati Roy, most likely it was her fiction, which many former fans mailed back to her, en masse, as soon as this celebrated South Asian writer, no longer one of the silent, complacent, majority, but suddenly a brown-skinned native, and one who could think for herself, challenged them, challenged all of us, for our bloodthirsty, vengeful, naked imperialism, post-September 11, 2001.
Names like George Washington Williams and Roger Casement and E.D. Morel mean nothing to the average Canadian, just as they mean nothing to the average United Statesian, because the Congo means nothing to them, or to us, unless we have a job to do there, which then becomes our excuse to more directly participate in the plunder, to proselytize the natives, save the black savages from their African savagery, their African traditions, their African faith, or reduce them to beasts of burden or piles of bones drying under the sun in middle-of-nowheres like Bogoro and Cyangugu, while always we are pledging the humanitarianism and goodness of the white enterprise, our white skin, and sometimes just our flag (examples like Colin Powel, Susan Rice, Andrew Young and Barack Obama) serving as our badge and our shield and our license to commit murder, and to then practice yoga or sip gin and tonics at the sanitized swimming pools of the posh expatriate clubs of Kinshasa or Kigali or Goma or Nairobi--or in Washington, Paris, Brussels, Ottawa, Montreal or Vancouver.
Is the average Canadian citizen culpable in these genocides? How do they proceed, if not with the collusion of the average citizen? How are they accomplished, if not with the support of the "good Canadian" who allows genocide to unfold on a global scale merely because they are not paying enough attention, or they do not know what to do to address the problem, or because they prefer to buy their diamond and love it too, or perhaps it is because they cannot manage their personal affairs at home, overflowing as they are with junk commodities, never mind the affairs of some black savages in central Africa?
Obliviousness is not acceptable, and it is the very problem that must be confronted.
In her essay "Managing Ignorance" , academic Elizabeth Spellman explores African-American intellectual James Baldwin's characterization of white America, explaining how we immunize ourselves from the kind of criticism that might correct our misunderstandings of racism. "Baldwin is claiming, in short, that whites do not have but also do not want to have knowledge of the injuries they [sic] inflicted through slavery and the other expressions of racism"--such as perpetuating war and plunder in Africa--"so manifest in the everyday lives of black Americans"--and people of color everywhere; and "that whites lack awareness of and interest in what it is about them and their institutions that has wreaked such havoc in the lives of blacks; and that they have not developed the imaginative skills that would allow them to envision a world in which such horrible powers would have been tamed. About such failures of knowledge and awareness and imagination, Baldwin remarks: But it is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime." (Sullivan & Tuana: p. 119-120).
Certainly, everything that is true of the Canadian citizen here is also true of the United Statesian. So why does the author seemingly single out Canadians? Is it because of their assumptions of their own innocence? Is it because they trumpet their humanity and concern for human rights out of one side of their mouth while ordering the weapons shipped to Africa out of the other? Is mass murder something that people from Kansas, or Texas, or Massachusetts, or Florida participate in, but not something that people from Saskatchewan or Quebec or Nova Scotia do? Are we all supposed to understand that those nasty foreign policies and covert operations of the United States, the world's supreme imperialist power, spreading its' terrorism around the globe, in Congo as deeply as anywhere else, are unique to the U.S.A. and disconnected from Canada? Are we supposed to accept that, well, Canadians are not at all like that, eh?
Certainly, the Canada-based multinational corporations will also protest such a characterization as this. They will leverage their corporate muscle through propaganda, green-washing, and--when all else fails--brute force, as they do more readily and with much greater impunity in Congo than in Canada. And then, the final insult, the extermination they proffer is always blamed on those brutes up there (First Nations), or those brutes over there (Congo).
Blame the victim. It's the oldest trick in the white man's book and the average Canadian citizen, duly trained, likely condones and accepts the false categorization of killer (Canadian) as victim, and victim (Congolese) as killer. Isn't that why we read, over and over, about Congolese troops committing rape? Isn't every Congolese man a rapist? Who are the victims here, and who are the killers?
We can quickly name Canadian names, and some of us have, again and again, to no avail, since few people in the white power economies, the populations that control the destiny of scores of millions of African lives, are listening. Barrick Gold, Heritage Oil & Gas, Banro Mining, Anvil Mining, Diamond Fields Resources, Adastra (formerly American Mineral Fields International), First Quantum, Tenke Mining Corporation, Lundin Mining, De Beers, the list is long and scandalous, though most of the names are unknown to the public. One cannot eat the propaganda, the public relations, the perception management or the psychological operations, and remain psychologically healthy; and so mental illness, collective amnesia, selfishness, arrogance and mass hysteria--about Hutus killing Tutsis, for example, and the so-called 100 days of genocide in Rwanda--prevail.
Barrick Gold Corporation directors include Canada's former Prime Minister Brain Mulroney and Canadian senator J. Trevor Eaton, and Edward N. Neys, the U.S. Ambassador to Canada and chairman of the Washington D.C. perception management (read: propaganda) firm Burson-Marstellar. Barrick's role behind the 1996 invasions of Congo and its mining forays in the bloody northeastern Ituri region have not been fully illuminated, certainly not investigated, and no one from the corporation has been indicted, or prosecuted, or even deposed under oath, by any court, anywhere.
Another stark example is Banro Mining Corporation and directors like Arnold Kondrat. Banro offers us an exceptional case of unmitigated plunder and depopulation backed by the bullet in Congo and the bludgeon of threats and lawsuits against those who dare challenge them in North America. Of course, Banro's operations in blood-drenched South Kivu, DRC, Banro's only site of operations on the planet, are sanctioned by the United Nations and whitewashed clean as a shiny, new cellphone by the western propaganda system.
Corruption, extortion, bribery, mass murder, nothing is beneath the Banro Corporation in South Kivu, but such charges, yet again, in juxtaposition to the obscene silence in the western corporate mass media, sound obscene, fictitious, even hysterical. To the Congolese people of South Kivu, dispossessed of land and life, such charges are too little too late.
"We congratulate Banro on its professional approach and look forward to working together and supporting them on all projects to achieve a win/win for all stakeholders," said the Honorable Emile Bongeli, Deputy Prime Minister of the DRC and the official in charge of Reconstruction, according to Banro's public relations releases.
Yet the picture painted by the real civil society and the real human rights defenders in South Kivu is a very different picture from that painted by heartless lawyers and soulless public relations hacks and whoring western intelligence outfits. The latter include the false western "human rights" [sic] groups like the International Rescue Committee, International Crisis Group, Enough! and Raise Hope for Congo. These latter three are seductive but disingenuous projects created and/or funded by the Center for American Progress (CAP), a nationalist U.S. intelligence think-tank working secretly to project global U.S. domination and corporate hegemony. CAP's experts and founders include John Prendergast, John Podesta and Madeleine Albright, all deep insiders from the Clinton Administration, which supported Kagame and Museveni's genocide projects in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo (also the ongoing genocide projects in Sudan).
Banro Mining Corporation's public relations hacks excel in their smoke-and-mirror tricks and their dog-and-pony shows, and the average Canadian citizen's culpability in genocide comes about when Banro is not challenged for their obvious sleights-of-hand. But moral and ethical values must be based in moral and ethical belief systems, and capitalism, with all its rewards and punishments, and its omnipotent white obliviousness, has destroyed the moral, ethical and social fabric of western society, just as it has destroyed billions of lives around the globe since its beginnings.
The first invasion of Zaire (1996-1998) was backed by the Pentagon with massive Canadian support and Canada has played a pivotal role, advancing corporate interests and organized crime--generally one in the same--to the present moment. One example of Canadian machinations in the Great Lakes was Lieutenant General Maurice Baril, the senior U.N. "peacekeeping" official and superior to United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR) commander General Romeo Dallaire, another Canadian, and a key player behind the Rwanda genocide orchestrations by the RPF/A. Lt. Gen. Maurice Baril was also the senior commander of the Canadian Multinational Force (MNF), also billed as a "peacekeeping" operation, involved in Zaire 1996-1998. The Canadian MNF was based out of Uganda and Kigali, and was a practical extension of the U.S. European Command headquartered out of Stuttgart Germany. 
Of course, the Canadian government backs both of the one-party dictatorships of Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni, and there are a large number of Canadian academics, businessmen and women, journalists and government officials perpetuating the establishment narratives about genocide in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Sudan and Congo. Why, floating right on the surface of lakes of African blood, we find that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has financed Kagame's Rwanda projects, and has never said a word about Kagame's role as the "butcher of Kigali". Why? Because the Canadian government was involved, is involved, in the butchery.
In 2007-2008 alone, CIDA dispersed some $US 19.95 million in "development" aid--money that is, we know by now, tied to Canada's interests, no matter what the propaganda proclaims. "Through its regional programming and its cooperation with multinational organizations," the government PR hacks trumpet, "CIDA is working with Rwanda to promote peace and security in the Great Lakes region."
It makes one choke, unless one is Congolese, and has been decapitated by Rwandan troops, or raped by infiltrated Rwandan troops pretending to be Congolese and blaming the violence on Congolese.
CIDA's Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy for Rwanda, 2008-2012 (September 2007) was developed with the International Monetary Fund, whose neoliberal economic policies are now roundly proven to cripple developing economies and institutionalize inequality in international trade and finance.
The IMF and CIDA, along with USAID and UNICEF and Save the Children (etc., etc. etc.), perpetuate structural violence that is, quite literally, an attack on the common people. The report quotes growing mining sector statistics with not a single word about how "Rwanda's" mineral exports are plundered from Congo. Mining in Rwanda from 1996-2000 (the years Rwanda began plundering Congo through state-sponsored terrorism) is quoted at 24.7% growth over the five year average, with 41% from 2001-2006. Indeed, the report says not a word about Congo, excepting the disingenuous and insulting summary that the "border between the two countries is unstable." Rwanda will increase its mining, no matter, the IMF has opined. "The targets in the mining sector are to increase mining exports by 250% from $US 38 million in 2005 to $US 106 million in 2012."
State-sponsored terrorism involves more than state terrorism. Hence we should not forget the many Canadian individuals pivotal to the origins and perpetuation of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the Great Lakes of Africa. One prime example is Canadian "human rights" lawyer William Schabas, an agent of the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army, inserted on the International Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights Violations in Rwanda since October 1990, whose report became one of the first major instruments used to falsely frame the former Rwandan president, Juvenal Habyarimana, and his government. The ICI report of January 1993 helped launch the psychological operation--supported by the Pentagon (US) and Armed Forces Command (Canada)--that has mischaracterized victims and killers in Rwanda, and hidden the war crimes and conspiracy to commit genocide by the RPF/A and UPDF and their backers (USAID, CIDA, Banro, Adastra, etc.). William Schabas has been used as an agent of state-sponsored terrorism to help frame and extradite legitimate Rwandan refugees from the United States and Canada.
Another pivotal Canadian is General Romeo Dallaire, the former Canadian General in charge of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR), who secretly helped the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army complete its genocidal conquest, double presidential assassination, and coup d'etat in Rwanda (1990-1994), thus setting the stage for the cataclysm in Zaire/Congo, and for the subsequent fifteen years of state-sponsored terrorism inside of Rwanda (1994-2010).
Canadian academic and government affiliate Gerald Caplan is a political activist who worked for Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's special Task Force on Canadian Broadcasting Policy, but who has also played a pivotal role in whitewashing war crimes and genocide in Africa. Widely celebrated as an "authority" on genocide in Rwanda, Caplan authored Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide, a report created to complement the Organization of African Unity's smokescreen investigatory body, the International Panel of Eminent Personalities to Investigate the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda. Caplan publishes propaganda pieces all over the Canadian press, and he founded Remembering Rwanda, a so-called "non-government organization" dedicated to propagandizing the world and cementing the false narratives about genocide and war crimes in the Great Lakes (and Sudan) into the collective memory. Caplan's service to the Empire also earned him an appointment as United Nations Special Coordinator for Africa.
There are many people involved in shady organized crime in Africa, either directly or indirectly working through Canada. These include such heavyweight untouchables as Jean-Raymond and Maximillian Boulle, Robert Friedland, Lukas Lundin, George Herbert Walker Bush, Peter Munk, Adnan Khoshoggi. Many of the mining barons hide their organized crime operations behind octopuses of interlocking directorships, offshore tax-havens, and money-laundering networks; many are also tied to private military (mercenary) companies.
Robert Friedland and Tony Buckingham offer two stellar examples of elites maintaining their organized crime and mercenary networks with impunity. A dual citizen of Canada and the U.S., "Toxic Bob" Friedland has secured mining contracts through bribery and corruption from Mongolia to Canada, and his backing of the wars in Congo has paid off, at the expense of more than a few million Congolese lives. When Mongolian civil society sniffed out Friedland's slimy expropriation of land through bribery and lies, the Mongolian people protested and publicly burned an effigy of Friedland, but that didn't stop him any more than the nationalistic position taken by Laurent Desire Kabila, the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (AFDL) figurehead from 1996-1998. In the end, Friedland has international backing from the U.S. and Canada to rig the Mongolian national elections (2008) and secure the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper/gold concessions in the Gobi desert, while Laurent Kabila is assassinated and replaced by a more pliant Hypolitte Kanambe (alias Joseph Kabila) and some of the most lucrative mining concessions in Congo go to Adastra (AMFI). These would be the copperbelt concessions, where the cobalt is the big prize, and the reason Canada supported the Mobutu enterprise for more than 35 years: the military-space-prisons-nuclear-industrial-weapons complex cannot expand without superalloys, and Congo's cobalt is essential to these.
British citizen Tony Buckingham is tied to numerous mercenary firms known to operate in Uganda, DR Congo, Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and South Africa. And yet, no matter the obvious terrorism and terrorists that Heritage and its affiliated companies can be tied to in Africa--such as Uganda and Yoweri Museveni's half-brother General Salim Saleh--no one in western governments, or even at the United Nations, says a word. Heritage directors include Canadians Michael Hibberd and Gregory Turnbull, and it is no surprise to find General Sir Michael Wilkes, a recent former director of British Special Forces, on their corporate board. Heritage Oil & Gas, Hardman Resources, and H Oil & Gas all get away with murder, quite literally, in the Semliki Basin, on both sides of the DRC-Uganda border, where they have control of the lucrative petroleum concessions granted by the black overlords of poverty, Yoweri Museveni and Joseph Kabila.
For more than 135 years the white power economies have plundered and depopulated the Kingdom of Congo, and from the first forays of Henry Morton Stanley (circa 1880) to the most recent military operations by the United Nations Observers Mission in Congo (MONUC) in Equateur province (December 2009), the cover story has been white western humanitarianism and peacekeeping. Nothing could be further from the truth, no matter how much we white folks would like to believe in our own goodness and charity. The road to hell, indeed.
There are hierarchies of complicity in this exploitation, just as there are hierarchies of consciousness, and hierarchies of suffering, and while the First Nations suffer the miserable scraps of western exploitation in Canada, the Congolese people are subject to the most abominable abuses, completely out of sight, thanks to the corporate mass media, and out of mind of the controlling populations--those of us in Europe, U.S.A and Canada who are responsible. Is that why so many of us do so little to help the Congolese people throw off the yoke of our imperialism?
There many conscious Canadians who have worked to expose the machinations of modern day predatory capitalism and white supremacy in Africa, and they deserve mention. These include Phil Taylor, John Philpot and Christopher Black, three of the many defense attorneys who worked selflessly to break through the smokescreens of western media propaganda and the one-sided victor's justice at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR). Also laying bare the naked aggression is Robin Philpot's Ca ne s'est pas passe comme ca a Kigali, one of the few books that honestly challenge the establishment narrative on genocide in Rwanda. There are many unsung truth-tellers though, extra-ordinary Canadians like Roxy Statish and Charles Boylan, some who have been to Congo and others who have not, good people who refuse to pander to the perks of capitalism and sell out to the nasty propaganda system.
When I arrived in Zaire in 1991, President Mobutu Sese Seko had been in power for more than 25 years, and Zaire was defined as a 'failed state' run into the ground by a 'despotic dictator'. The place was rough. Infrastructure was dilapidated or wholly absent. I met white missionaries from the United States who seemed to be living the good life in the bush, while the average Zairois citizen had very little or no access to basic commodities, basic social services, basic transport, basic education or basic health care. In some cases the people had been thrown off their own land by western wildlife "conservation" organizations; especially noteworthy in this are the World Wildlife Fund, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and Wildlife Conservation International. Who would have thought that, fifteen years later I would discover that my heroine's organization, the Jane Goodall Institute, was sponsoring warfare by directly funding one of the militias in the remote Walikale forests of North Kivu province?
I went to Zaire to see the gorillas. But Zaire was an adventure and an ordeal that I expected never to revisit. Life for the people there was nasty, brutish and short. It was also incredibly beautiful in so many ways, as were the people. Traveling along the mud road out of Beni I met a family of peasants that cared for me when I became ill with some kind of insect bite infection behind my ear. It was my first true experience of deeply seeing and feeling unconditional kindness, courage and dignity, and this from the poorest people in the world sharing what little they had with an arrogant, oblivious, wealthy, white man from the United States traveling through their community and region on a bicycle adventure. Such arrogance on my part, met with such generosity and grace by Yafali kulu-Kulu and his family.
In 1996, that family, from the grandfather to the babies, was murdered in cold blood by Rwandan troops during the first western backed invasion of Zaire. And that is why I am writing to you about the Congo. That is why I have given more than a decade of my life to exposing the disinformation, deceptions and outright lies about what has happened in central Africa, past and present. And that is why the author of this book, a native Congolese son who has seen the blood shed in his own family, has asked me to preface a text under the unlikely title Those Canadians Who Kill Us.
No matter how bad it was in the Zaire I witnessed in 1991, the suffering, rape, and plunder were nothing compared to what has happened since. Then as now there was never any honest exposure of the people behind Mobutu, people who remain behind the scenes of Congo's wars. The entire Mobutu era is summarized like this: He was corrupt, he filled a Swiss bank account, he ruined Zaire, he's gone, the page has been turned.
"Let's move on, forget the past," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Congolese people in Kinshasa in 2009, speaking about the recent war era (1996-2009). But Hillary Clinton's arrogance is only exceeded by her secrecy: she was in Kinshasa in part to negotiate with Joseph Kabila on behalf of diamond kingpin Maurice Tempelsman and De Beers. It is really interesting to remember that Colonel Joseph Mobutu, who was kept in power for some 37 years, whoring for his white business partners, was known for his infamous and oft-repeated threat: Apres moi, le deluge--"after me, the deluge." And so it has come to be.
The heart of darkness lives on in the minds of white people, and those subject to the white mythologies that immunize us whites from seeing the truth of our complicity in mass murder. The souls of black folk are not immune to these mythologies, and so there are plenty of people of color participating in the collective insanity and the economies of carnage that wreak havoc on Africa and its people, under the guise of development, aid, humanitarianism, wildlife conservation, tourism, or so-called "peacekeeping". Some 10 million people have died in Congo since 1996, and the reason is clear: our white power economies want those niggers out of the way. The Congo, Sudan, Rwanda, Somalia--what we are seeing is depopulation as policy and private profit.
Enough is enough, indeed. I hope you will read this book. After doing so, you have choices that most Congolese people do not have. Your first choice is to take responsibility, and from there you can find out what to do, instead of waiting for someone to tell you. Dr. Enoch Page, one of my greatest teachers on the problems of white supremacy, teaches us to ask questions about our privilege and status. Speaking to a group of conscientious white people ostensibly interested in confronting our whiteness, and the destruction of all things bright and beautiful by the capitalist system that we benefit from, Dr, Page once asked: "Will you sacrifice your children to save your body?"
And so it is with the Congo. Your consumption of propaganda is your primary problem, and your failure to support truly independent journalism is directly connected to the consumption of corporate propaganda. Impunity is the greatest problem: no one is held accountable, because so many amongst us, our friends and family, are participating in the carnage. That is the nature of capitalism, and the nature of the great American dream, and it is the biggest lie.
A just world is possible. What are you waiting for? How many Congolese people must die before you lift even a finger in their favor? How many more million souls must be exterminated in the collective scream of Congo before even a squeak escapes your mouth?
keith harmon snow
Massachusetts, January 2010
 Shannon Sullivan and Nancy Tuana, Eds., Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance, SUNY Press, 2007: p. 119-120.
 Exterminate All The Brutes: One Man's Odyssey Into the Heart Of Darkness and the Origins of European Genocide, Sven Lindqvist, Utrova varenda javel, Sweden, 1992; translated 1996 by Joan Tate.
 Wayne Madsen, Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999, Edwin Mellon Press, 1999: 215-217.
 CIDA web site, www.cida.gc.ca, January 10, 2010
 See, e.g., Michael Maren, The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid & International Charity, The Free Press, 1997.
Written by: keith harmon snow
Photography Credits: none
Leave a comment
Donate to this Project
- Africa (16)
- Asia (2)
- Europe (2)
- EVENTS (1)
- General (1)
- Immigration & Refugees (7)
- Middle East (2)
- SUPPORT (2)
- VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN (4)