Briefing from ROAPE Volume 30 Number 98
Congo: Waiting for Godot
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been in the news the past few months, once again, for the wrong reasons. Although no one would deny that the Congolese people have been going through hell, particularly in the northern and eastern provinces controlled by rebel factions supported by Congo's foreign enemies, media reports have more frequently than not, over- simplified an extremely complex local situation with far-reaching international stakes. Media focus on 'ethnic hatred' between Hema and Lendu in Ituri where an estimated 50,000 have been killed since 1999 is off track. It doesn't take into account the instrumentalisation of ethnicity for other reasons, such as territoriality and control of natural resources. Is the French led UN peacekeeping force currently deployed in Bunia really only an effort to protect civilian lives? Or, can it also be interpreted as a means for France to regain credibility in the region after the Op‚ration Tourquoise fiasco a decade ago? Perhaps it is a way of showing the international community that French-style diplomacy is indeed an alternative to American disdain for the UN in the aftermath of the second Iraq war.