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A challenging read but the rewards are well worth the effort
on October 21, 2013
Michael Deibert has undertaken the gargantuan task of unraveling the tangled web of players and perpetrators in the DRC. There is one constant throughout the shifting alliances and rhetoric detailed in this book: lust for control and money always trumps the most basic right to life. Unlike many conflicts of this nature, the Congolese people are not pawns in this vicious game; they are incidental and disposable which makes the crime even more profound and evil.
Mr. Deibert does not make an emotional appeal to his readers. Rather he forces you to confront meticulously detailed (and footnoted) facts. As a primer, he provides a brief history of the DRC that sets the stage for what has become one of the largest killing fields in the world. Ground truth exposes that all the key players in the never-ending "peace process" either have a vested interest in promoting conflict or lack interest in dealing with the true causes of the suffering. The United Nations, ICC and the Clinton administration are shown to have lacked any conviction or moral compass. Each of these groups function in the murky shadows of political expedience and demonstrate their mastery of giving the appearance of doing something when actually doing nothing (or worse). Museveni, Kabila and Kagame waver between competition and collaboration in an effort to gain control over valuable swaths of the DRC's abundant natural resources. The covers are finally pulled back on the lie that is Paul Kagame. He is neither democratic nor morally grounded. Like so many despots in the developing world, he has packaged his particular brand of evil in a persona that appeals to the more shallow senses and sensibilities of the United States and European countries.
The story of the oxymoronically-named Democratic Republic of the Congo needs to be told; it needs to be heard; it needs to motivate us to act. Mr. Deibert has made many of the gruesome details and history of this country accessible to us. The victims now have a voice.
As a secondary comment, Mr Deibert touches on how Belgium established the foundation for human rights abuses that have become the norm in the DRC. Upon finishing his book, I would encourage the interested reader to pick up a copy of Adam Hochschild's "King Leopold's Ghost" for a more comprehensive overview of the Belgian "contributions" to the DRC.