Christmas in The Congo

Christmas in The Congo

Another major war begins soon in Africa. It will begin shortly after the democratic mockery scheduled for December 23, when the powers in Kinshasa are “re-elected” and the heavily armed militias particularly in Kivu in the east try to secede.

Who cares? Well I know it’s been difficult to muster your attention for Yemen, but let me put it this way. Use a smartphone? Have an xBox? Then you’re directly responsible for this looming human calamity.

The travails of The Congo began 150 years ago when the American, Henry Morton Stanley, became the agent premiere for the King of Belgium, a scoundrel who convinced Europe he was a humanitarian when he was actually enslaving hundreds of thousands of Congolese on his rubber plantations.

Stanley walked back and forth (actually sailed, mostly) across The Congo building fort after fort along the Congo River for the king, often single-handedly subjecting tribe after tribe to abject servitude. It’s very interesting to note that unlike so many other agent provocateurs and explorers in those mid-19th century years, Stanley used no religion in his subjugation of the primitive barbarians. It was basically beads and cloth, later guns.

It’s a fascinating story that still lacks detail, but this largest, most remote and inaccessible part of Africa was “suddenly” tamed and enslaved with very little resistance.

It simply never got better.

During the early 20th century, Belgium so denuded The Congo of resources that it became a formidable power in Europe. Of course, this was all at the expense of the Congolese.

When “democracy” arrived in the 1960s, even that was a red dahlia. The Congo actually had a free and fair first election. The winner was a communist. The Belgians recruited the Americans who assassinated him.

There’s the long and dark era of Mbutu Sese Seko, the monster fed by America to subdue his troubled jungle. Then there’s the discovery of the some of the world’s most critical resources, cobalt and coltan (tantalum), essential ingredients in your … smartphone and Xbox.

All those resources were on the far eastern side of this huge place. The powers were on the far western side. An impenetrable jungle divides them.

So warlords successfully staked claims to mines. Children and tribal adversaries were whipped into slavery to mine the precious materials. Motorola, Apple, Intel, Sony were among the several dozen multinationals that paid the warlords billions.

Until the Dodd-Frank Act was passed and prohibited respectable American companies from paying criminal vampires. Until the Republican House refused to fund that section of the legislation. Until the Trump administration completely negated it.

So warlords are again being paid. Not by Best Buy, by the way. Coltan is expensive.

The powers of the west of The Congo in the capital of Kinshasa want a piece of this golden pie. The warlords won’t let them have it. The billions being paid the warlords are spent mostly on really sophisticated weapons that come from Jamaica and are made in Washington State.

When you put out cookies and cream for Santa by the fireplace December 24, add an Oreo for the kids in Kivu.

When you open those smaller gifts relating to your smart phones, say a prayer for Kivu. You can probably find one on iTunes.