Kisangani, June 8, 2003

November 15, 2007

 rifle-barrel.jpgI left Gbadolite with the journalists happy to finally be doing a local news program, the Monuc finally happy with the work of the reporters, me happy to finally be invited to the journalists’ homes for wonderful Congolese meals, the electricity failing and MLC rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba desperately trying to keep a hold on his power.  Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Gbodolité, June 1, 2003

November 13, 2007

children.jpgMore than three weeks without the Internet, UN phones often down, power failures more numerous, radio equipment out of order and growing insecurity, not to mention the great injustice I feel I have suffered from the Fondation have marked the past three weeks of silence. Read the rest of this entry »

Gbodolité, May 11, 2003

November 13, 2007

cemetery.jpgThe cemetery of Belgian missionaires 

“Lets get out of here!”  The most used phrase in Hollywood films.  

I am told the runway at the airport here is the longest in Africa, although I am sure the officer with the local rebel army was exaggerating when he said: “it is seven kilometers long”.  When Mobutu was in power, many Western presidents flew in here and even the Concorde landed a few times.  The runway is still in great condition but, except for the heavy machineguns on the roves of the terminals, nothing else is in operating condition.  The windows are gone, even up top of the control tower, and everything, including what was nailed down, was looted in one of the two soldiers’ rampages: the first, the minute Mobutu fled his palace in 1997 and the second, when Laurent Desire Kabila and his Chadian backers were defeated in 1998. Read the rest of this entry »

Kinshasa, May 4, 2003

November 13, 2007

Hear no evil. Speak no evil. See no evil. kin-sunset.jpg

Well, this week I really got a lesson in what NGOs are all about.  I was given an amendment to my contract, a sort of in-house rules in which I am banned from talking or writing about what I see or do.  Basically, anything I think, write or photograph during my tenure with the Foundation, as well as after my contract is terminated, is their property.  I am told this is fairly standard in NGO contracts.  Read the rest of this entry »

Kigali, Rwanda, April 22, 2003

November 11, 2007

How many lives in danger are necessary for a multinational force to be deployed?  Is it the color of the skin that makes the difference?”  Emma Bonino, European Union Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner, 1997.

We think Mrs. Bonino is a psychopath, obsessed with refugees.”  Laurent Desire Kabila.

kigali1.jpgBringing Hutus from DRC to Kigali.  Then what happens?

 The men were crying, the women held their breasts with both hands while the children peered out the window to get a look at their father’s homeland for the first time.  It was a highly emotional moment when the UN flight from Kananga landed in Kigali, bringing eleven ex-combatants and their families back to Rwanda after nine years of hiding in the Congolese forests. Read the rest of this entry »

Kananga foot shufflers, April 19, 2003

November 10, 2007

Don’t drag your feet over my clean floor!  My Mom when I was a kid. 

There are two kinds of people in this world:  Those who pick up their feet when they walk, and those who drag them on the floor as if every step is a painful effort.  This is a story about why you should never hire the feet shufflers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mudimbi village, April 18, 2003

November 10, 2007

Don’t ruin the state by stealing a lot.  If you can, take a little…steal enough but not too much…” advice to the Cabinet by Mobutu Sese Seko, Dictator and Chief Thief of Congo for over thirty years. 

This is another story about the Army robbing and raping and why it took two hours to drive out 40 kilometers but six to get back.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lumbumbashi, April 18, 2003

November 10, 2007

Ah, the UN.  Where else can you have free day and night guarded airport parking right at the runway?  Or take a two-hour plane ride for free to have a pizza and do some shopping?  But this is nothing next to the free rideand paid vacation the eight Military Observers (MilObs) are getting inLubumbashi, Congo’s most modern and comfortable city.

Read the rest of this entry »

Kananga, April 19, 2003 – The foot shufflers

November 7, 2007

Don’t drag your feet over my clean floor!  My Mom when I was a kid.

There are two kinds of people in this world:  Those who pick up their feet when they walk, and those who drag them on the floor as if every step is a painful effort.  This is a story about why you should never hire the feet shufflers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Kananga, April 13, 2003

November 7, 2007

‘…we whites…By the simple exercise of our will we can exert a power for good practically unbounded…Exterminate all the brutes!  Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness

  Read the rest of this entry »