Monday, April 03, 2006

A story from Kinshasa...

As I was browsing sites on the Congo, I found this article (in French): Putes et Soumises.

The previous post, in french, contains the full article, and my comments in French. If I should summarize the article, I would say that they talk about the death, and funeral, of two major prostitutes in the city of Kinshasa, and the apparent fast and drama that accompanied them. The article also addresses the fact that some prostitutes in Kinshasa are University educated, almost as knowledgable as Japanese Geisha. They are often somewhat well-versed in english, so they can garner themselves clients from the mostly english-speaking staff of the UN Mission in Congo (MONUC) and other NGOs, who have substantially higher - and more stable salaries than virtually 95% of the population in Congo (thus making the said staff, a coveted goldmine).

The article also addresses, very sarcastically, the issues of witch-hunting in Kinshasa, and the Congo, and the fact that "in Congo, there is not such a thing as natural death anymore". And one had better not ask someone's cause of death, for fear of being called a witch themselves...

My comment to the article is basically that it exemplifies clearly, the inequalities in means and power that were brought up in the comments to this other post, between the various elements of the Congolese society, the wealthy and the poor, the powerful and the commoners, the foreign aid workers and the locals, etc. This story outlines the polarization of the Congolese society, which had been evident to most of us since the two Kinshasa riots (1991 and 1993), and proves - and this is a mantra in the Congolese political milieu - that the anti-values have grown deep roots in my beloved country.

Some want to assign the blame of this catastrophe to the Congolese people... and it must be that they have not been watching what has been happening to the Congo in the past 100 years or so, since the infamous Leopold sent his minions about... We, the Congolese, definitely bear some responsibility in this matter, but this does not, in anyway, exonerate Western powers that have contributed to, and often initiated the mess. Some may say that their involvement in the current electoral process is a redeeming action; I disagree, because they have engaged in some shady practices, and have shown a great deal of disrespect for the intelligence of the Congolese people recently (I can expand on this in the comments if readers so desire). What is for sure, is that it is the youth, as we have seen in this story, that is paying for the greed of the West, and our leaders. And it is 3 generations - my parents, my own, and my nephew and nieces' - that have been sacrificed, virtually. And that is a damn shame...

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