When it comes to looking away, there are always good reasons, because, it is true, the Congo is tiring, one has the feeling that the story is going round and round. In this article Colette also explains why in Congo we are fed up with the UN peacekeeping forces.
A country whose vast province is being invaded by rebels supported by a neighbouring country... Where, after two decades of continuous presence, the Blue Helmets are powerless and content to count the dead... A country where Islamist militias openly referring to Daesh are being deployed, recruiting unemployed young people to turn them into fighters and send them back to cut the heads off civilians... A country as vast as Western Europe and threatened with implosion... A country where the ruling class 'eats' 68% of the state budget with impunity and is unable to pay the military or teachers on a regular basis... A country with 100 million inhabitants that has been described, depending on the time and the speaker, as a 'geological scandal', the 'lung of the planet', or a 'solution country', but which is being methodically or anarchically plundered by multinationals, by voracious neighbours, by adventurers of all kinds, and by its own elected politicians who are now standing for election again...
In another age, we would jump on Kolwezi, paratroopers would go down to the field, take the army in hand, and energetically restore order. In another century, we would protest against the rape of women, we would reject the fate of children in the mines, we would boycott the minerals whose savage exploitation poisons fields and rivers, we would refuse visas to corrupt politicians, we would question the validity of these rules which forbid the most honest citizens of these countries to have bank accounts in our country, while we turn a blind eye to the passage of diplomatic bags full of greenbacks.
In another era, a century earlier, or even at the end of the last century, we would be campaigning for the Congo, because that is the country we are talking about, we would be taking to the streets not to smear the statues but to denounce the brutality of the current plundering, we would be demonstrating so that wars and predations of all kinds would stop... But there is Ukraine and the legitimate indignation aroused by Russian aggression, there is the price of gas and oil, inflation, the climate, the big trials... When it comes to looking away, there are always good reasons, because, it is true, the Congo is tiring, one has the feeling that history is going round and round. And then, aren't we living in the time of enquiry commissions that forget the current situation and end up in a fishbowl, of lobbyists who, in the name of good causes to defend, 'consume' considerable sums of money that would have deserved better use... Ah yes, the Congo, it's true, we had almost forgotten about it, there were so many other subjects of preoccupation... Let's be reassured: in a few decades, we will be asked to apologise once again, not for colonisation, but for the cold indifference of the present day.