D. R. Congo: the Darkness of the Heart: How the Congolese Have Survived 500 Years of History

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Xlibris Corporation, 2010 - 198 trang
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Book Synopsis: This book recounts from the perspective of a Congolese native the five-hundred-year journey of the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It analyzes dispassionately the facts of the turbulent history of the country and its continuing impact on the life of the modern-day Congolese. In the book, we set out to begin the search for the "Congolese" answers to the DR Congo's historical paradox of a very rich country living a very poor life in a neighborhood in which it is the biggest and yet the weakest country. We travel back five hundred years to rediscover the ancient kingdom of Congo and look closely at its people, institutions, value and belief systems, customs and practices and try to establish the linkages between the present cultural values, belief system, and practices of the modern-day Congolese with those of their past. Through the revisiting of the past, we try to identify the ways and means of a more effective strategy for social, political, and economic renaissance in the DR Congo. Although a diary, the book is not a chronological presentation of the Congo's history. The reader can expect to travel back and forth on the meandering road of the Congolese journey. The DR Congo is a land of ecological gigantism and an environmental Garden of Eden. It has the second largest freshwater river in the world, the Congo River, a powerful source of clean energy, and the second largest tropical rain forest in the world; the largest number of big lakes in Africa, including Lake Tanganyika; one of the largest assortment of minerals and precious metals and gems in the world, including uranium; and a large landmass of 906,000 square miles stretching over two time zones with a population of less than seventy million, translating into one the lowest population densities in the world. Such an array of diverse and rich natural resources and the extraordinary economic power potential of DR Congo have always attracted envy and invasions from foreign countries, multinational companies, and individuals over the centuries, the latest being the attack of the combined armies of Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi in August 1998. The history of the DR Congo is also the history of the darkness of the human heart, extreme cruelty and violence, greed and selfishness by the early European explorers, the slave traders, the Zanzibari Arab slave merchants of the last centuries, and the neocolonialists and cold warriors of the twentieth century. It is the history of treason of the Congo by the Congolese, the betrayal of the public trust of the people, and of the pursuit of power at all costs and bad management of the economy by the Congolese leaders and the politicians, from the medieval kings of the kingdom of the Congo to the present-day ruling class. The book follows the less publicized but crucial journeys of the numerous Congolese slaves to the Americas, documenting their early settlements in the United States, the Caribbean Islands, and Brazil and reconnecting their present-day descendants in the Americas to their Congolese roots and ancestry.
  

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Preface
11
Introduction
17
Part I
25
The Kingdom of the Congo
27
Life in the Ancient Kingdom of the Congo
30
Insecurity and the Struggle for Survival
35
The Arrival of the Europeans and Territorial Conquest
40
The Consequences of the Encounter with the Europeans
43
Reforming Agriculture
126
National Debt Management
131
Part III
137
The Notions of Civil Service and Public Service
139
The Legal Systems
145
Religion
150
The Arts
155
Part IV
159

The Institution of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
51
Portugal the Slave Trade and the Demise of the Kingdom of the Congo
63
The Zanzibari Arab Slave Trade
70
Part II
75
The Colonial Experience
77
The PostIndependence Battles of East vs West Proxies
84
ThirtyTwo Years of Mobutu Dictatorship
93
Democracy and Electoral Politics
100
Picking Up the Pieces and Rebuilding
110
The DR Congo Mineral Wars
161
The Martyr City of Kisangani Boyoma
174
The DR Congos Natural Resources and the Environment
178
The DR Congo and the China Trade
186
Final Thoughts
190
References
193
Book Summary
195
Author Biography
197
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