July 10, 2014
"There is a simple reason for the failure of these massive international efforts to help the Congo achieve lasting peace and security. Foreign interveners follow a top-down logic. They try to resolve the conflict at the national and international levels, hoping that peace will then trickle down to the local level. This approach works well to resolve the many causes of violence linked to antagonisms among national and regional elites. However, it ignores some of the other key drivers of conflict: those linked to distinctively local tensions."

Severine Autesserre at African Arguments. The Continuing Trouble with the Congo

July 10, 2014
"Autesserre’s approach is ethnographic, and weaves together a staggering amount of interview data and personal observations in support of her contention that peacebuilders constitute a distinct subculture whose common habits, practices, and narratives have profound unintended consequences. And, if you enjoy criticisms of ill-informed advocacy movements (I know I do!), there’s a whole section on how these dynamics played out in the construction of the “Congo: All Rape and Minerals, All the Time” discourse."

Kate Cronin -Furman at Wronging Rights. Recommended Reading: Peaceland

Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention

March 10, 2012
"Congo’s African neighbors— especially overpopulated and resource-poor Uganda and Rwanda, though also Angola and Zimbabwe—are more than eager to throw political and military support behind ethnic factions in the DRC in an attempt to carve it into spheres of influence."

Michael Deibert at his blog Michael Deibert, writer. Congo: Between Hope and Despair

March 7, 2012

Caring about injustice and human misery matters.

People can work together for justice and ameliorate misery.

Working together can enable us to thrive.

I believe this.

I’m naive and none too bright. Something about the Internet is I know just where to look for some stupid shit I’ve said, it’s still there.  I looked back to see when I posted about the Invisible Children film. I saw an early cut on video tape which I watched with two friends from Northern Uganda. I was really moved. Just looking around the earliest post I saw where I wrote about it was in March of 2005.

My enthusiasm for Invisible Children seems more of a drifting apart than a parting of ways. So when I saw the reaction to the latest video, which I have not watched, I felt troubled. At Twitter among those who I follow were people linking to the video and those bitterly denouncing it.  

On March 3rd I posted  a link to an article in Crossed Crocodiles about the US military involvement to kill or apprehend Kony. Here’s the quotation from the article I posted:         

Kony is a handy cover for the real reasons for US interest in the region, which are all about African resources.

I’m a lazy blogger, but I struggled with the wisdom of posting that. I don’t agree always with Crossed Crocodiles, but the posts there going back represent an important perspective questioning AFROCOM, the US African Command. 

It’s not really easy to know about American foreign policy in Africa because there is little attention in US media. It’s also complicated because stated policy is very often difficult to harmonize with for lack of a better term “The War on Terror.”

Anyhow these issues are complex and very quickly I get into the weeds and lost. Nevertheless Crossed Crocodiles’s succinct statement about the reasons for US interests in the region rings true to me. But I was reluctant to post because I feel such sadness about the suffering caused by Kony and the more than twenty years long war.

I have two sets of Twitter feeds open for people I follow who ranted hot and heavy against Invisible Children’s new campaign. I’m sympathetic to their positions, and there are some powerful tweets. But I’m not going to link to them because the subject and the reasons for their complaints require some background and development.

The best post I’ve read tonight about the issue is by Jennifer Lentfer at How Matters. How Matters also has a great blogroll if you are interested to learn more about advocacy about African Issues.

In this brouhaha I do hope that an interest and caring about real people, real struggles  and our ability to participate to create something good is not cast aside as a cynical delusion.

May 27, 2011

Howard French on how our preexisting notions of Africa leads us (in the USA in particular) wrong.

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