The reason why the Speigel is suddenly interesting in that apparently very dark and very jungly Congo now, is because there is a gestating project to send EU troops to help with security during the elections. In fact, the virtual "Foreign minister" of the EU, Javier Solana, is currently in Kinshasa to see about the modalities for that mission to take place. But aparently the Germans, whose country is supposed to house the actual commanding headquarters of the force, as well as some other Europeans, are a bit queasy about the whole thing:
monuc.org ::: German MPs line up against Congo missionI have lived in a war-torn country in Africa - Rwanda - and I have also seen how that and other African conflicts are portrayed - often rightly so - as pretty violent messes. Add to that the claims of cannibalism in the Congo, and the fact that we are often described as a bunch of hopeless savages (not in so many words), I can definitely see how - like Americans after Somalia - the Europeans would feel queasy about sending their "children" to assist militarily the so very remote Congo. After all, what interest do they have in potentially wasting their lives on a piece of junk country like the DRC, right? I mean it is not like Africa actually matters anyway. Especially not those parts of Africa where they cannot go for safaris and feel good about "staying in touch with nature"...
"BERLIN, March 19 (Reuters) - German parliamentarians from the right and left criticised on Sunday tentative government plans to send German troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo, saying the EU-organised mission was ill-defined and unrealistic.
'Without an overall concept, and this is apparently lacking in Berlin as well as Brussels, it is irresponsible to send German troops to Congo,' Guido Westerwelle, the leader of the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), told German daily Die Welt."
I appologize for the bitterness. But it stems from the fact that I remember those days when Europe had to call on our fathers and grandfathers to fight in their bloody wars that they have decided to call World wars, as if to give them some sense of nobility. I guess since at the time the Germans were on the other side of the conflict, they are somewhat - ironically - exempt from this criticism. But they were also colonizers. All of Europe is what it is today because they exploited our people without adequate compensation, and often as slave labour. The West and the USSR used our soldiers in their proxy wars in Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and yes, within the DRC.
If we go even further back in time, it seems it was a heroic thing to go meet-up with the savages. A whole bunch of "explorers" came down to Africa, to - permanently - mess-up with our state of being, create half the conflicts that we live today by having no sense of the ethnic sensitivities on the continent (or as some say, did it on purpose to "divide and conquer").
Don't get me wrong, I have no particular inclination to go back to pre-colonial Africa, because one of the side-effects of colonialism has been that they have Westernized us somewhat in our minds too, and the reality that was then generated makes it impossible for us to survive on this planet, if we all decided to revert to our old ways. Too late for that. But what I would like is a bit of recognition of the role of the West in the messes that spur up here and there in Africa. Then, the West should come and help clean up the mess. It is not like they would be sent on the warfronts. In this case they would be a dissuasive force. But even if they have to lose a few lives in the process, let them just think of the tens of millions that their cosy lives in the West have cost us.
I am done venting. I will write a more balnced post on this issue when I calm down. In the mean time, I am still wondering...