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The Democratic Republic of Congo: Between Hope and Despair (African Arguments) Paperback – October 8, 2013
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A groundbreaking examination of one of Africa's most iconic and tragic countries and a must-read for people interested in contemporary African politics in general and the Great Lakes Region in particular...I don't think I will put Deibert's work back on the bookshelf. I will keep it within reach on my desk.
-Kris Berwouts, African Arguments
Anyone who, like me, is looking to gain a better understanding of this part of central Africa would do well to read journalist Michael Deibert's passionate dissection of the geographies of war and peace in the DRC...It is an essential read for those of us interested in wider postcolonial worlds and the historical fragments of local, regional and global contexts that intersect and link huge parts of the planet together.
- Jonathan Silver, The London School of Economics
A grim and difficult book to read, despite the author's masterful reporting. It is painful because of the visceral attention and emotion his work demands. The tragic and depressing tale of Congo is steeped in the gruesome brutality and avarice of elite leaders-cum-plunderers. It is a story we must know...[The book] will captivate readers already familiar with the blood-soaked, resource-intense country, as well as those being introduced to the struggles facing the Congolese.
-Nomi Prins, Truthdig, author of All the Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power
Michael Deibert restores balance to analysis on the Congo with a holistic view grounded in history and the sociopolitical dynamics at play in the nation. A must-read book to understand the complexity of the crisis in the Congo.
Deibert's book is a scrupulously researched reminder of how this corner of the world became so wretched, and of the multiple actors responsible: Congolese politicians and warlords, predatory neighbours, hypocritical western governments and a hapless UN...A book which should adorn the shelf of policymakers and analysts. For kleptocrats and meddlers, Congo, alas, remains open for business.
About the Author
Michael's writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Miami Herald, Le Monde diplomatique, Folha de São Paulo, World Policy Journal, and The Huffington Post, among other venues. He has been a featured commentator on international affairs on the BBC, Al Jazeera, Channel 4, National Public Radio, WNYC New York Public Radio, and KPFK Pacifica Radio.
In 2012, he was awarded a grant from the International Peace Research Association, and in 2008 he was selected as a ﬁnalist for the Kurt Schork Award in International Journalism, sponsored by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, both in recognition of his work in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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By the way, I don't believe a better photo could have been used for the cover. On my first trip to Congo, I had the opportunity to attend a rehearsal of the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste, and there is little doubt that it is a symbol of hope in a very difficult place.
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.