Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Congo / Colonialism & Neo-Colonialism

Congo's Colonial Ghost
By Khaled Diab
The Guardian, April 21, 2010
"[...] Much as apologists for Europe's colonial legacy and those afflicted with selective amnesia would like to believe, the reality is that Congo's colonial experience, as in so many other post-colonial states, has caused deep and lasting scars, and very much handicaps the modern state. 'The situation of Congo today is a consequence of Belgian colonisation,' Nzau says, expressing a common Congolese perception. But this link between European colonialism and the current turmoil in much of sub-Saharan Africa is not just a case of Africans looking for someone else to blame, as is so often claimed. In fact, the same link was explicitly made in last year's European report on development. 'The scramble for Africa ... is a natural candidate for the historical origin of the fragility plaguing many sub-Saharan African countries,' the report stated. But why should such a relatively short sojourn have such a profound impact? In the case of Congo, part of the reason is that there was a centuries'-long prelude. Prior to direct rule, most of central Africa was depopulated as a consequence of the European slave trade to the west and, to a lesser extent, the Arab slave trade to the east. This, for example, helped accelerate the eventual collapse of the once-powerful indigenous kingdom of Kongo (which had different borders to the contemporary DRC). [...]"

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