The Heart of Darkness.
February 23, 2021 5:02 AM   Subscribe

The killing in an ambush of the Italian Ambassador near Goma, Eastern Congo, a country plagued by Blood and Minerals has bought DRC into the spotlight again.
DRC President Felix Tshisekedi recently named mining executive and ally Sama Lukonde Kyenge as prime minister of the world’s biggest cobalt producer.
One of Trumps final acts was to roll back Treasury Department sanctions on the Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler for corruption in Africa; and who has recently purchased Cobalt royalties to the tune of $83 million. Gertler together with mining giant Glencore has interest in DRC.
DRC / China joint venture Sicomines, with whom Erik Prince, himself with other DRC interests, has recently announced a Security Project appears to have made payments to customs and logistics agencies controlled by Gertler or his associates while Gertler was already under US sanctions.
China dominates the Cobalt supply chain.

The digital boom has fueled the conflict in Congo whose colonial legacy forged a nexus between ethnicity, territory and conflict.
If the 22 million Congolese people facing starvation were a country, it would have a population larger than the Netherlands and Ireland combined. Unrest and Rebellion are on the rise again with Armed group atrocities creating havoc in eastern DR Congo
leaving three million children at risk, and with repression escaling.
The Kivu conflict has become a Forgotten War mainly about minerals.
This is not just an ethnic problem. It is an international conflict with many interests.
Congo in Conversion - a photographic cronicle.
posted by adamvasco (11 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you for making this incredibly comprehensive post on an important topic. I am ashamed that I knew nothing about this before now, and I have a lot of reading to do to catch up. Thank you!!!

(Posts like this are why I come to MetaFilter.)
posted by Westringia F. at 6:44 AM on February 23 [17 favorites]

Several years back I was asked if I wanted to go to the DRC for a brief work visit - to a large mine site client. As much as it sounded fun and an adventure - especially as I'd never been to Africa, it was the moment they started explaining the true security situation I'd be walking into - the recent riots they had experienced at the mine, and the need to be helicoptered into a *very* remote area due to recent ambushes on the road, that I decided it really wasn't for me. I remember doing some research on some of the National Parks there and the amazing sights I could have tacked on for a side trip - but we'd just had a first child and it seemed like way too much risk. I hope the situation can be unfucked for the Congolese in the future - the stories I heard from others who had gone were of an amazingly beautiful natural landscape, but absolute desperation in the situation of the locals in the areas around the mines.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 8:17 AM on February 23 [8 favorites]

This post is reminding me that King Leopold's Ghost has been in my to-read pile forever. Really need to get to that.
posted by Wretch729 at 9:53 AM on February 23 [2 favorites]

Thank you very much for this comprehensive post, which highlights a number of articles I would not have found on my own.

In the last century, I worked on mining and "conflict minerals" issues in relation to DRC (then Zaire) and am saddened that the situation has actually deteriorated since then. Some countries like Canada have taken some measures to enforce corporate social responsibility but they are far from enough.
posted by rpfields at 10:26 AM on February 23 [7 favorites]

Just finished every link - thank you so much for educating me on this issue.
posted by dngrangl at 1:39 PM on February 23 [1 favorite]

Absolutely appreciate a fine, well written post that scares the hell outta me.

CNN Wrongly Blames Electric Cars for Unethical Cobalt Mining

posted by clavdivs at 2:21 PM on February 23 [1 favorite]

posted by Mister Bijou at 4:50 PM on February 23

For anyone wanting more indepth analysis then Kivu Security Tracker with its occasional blog is for you.

I had just finished reading the ever excellent John Le Carré, The Mission Song and was googling about when this post sort of all fell into place.
posted by adamvasco at 3:26 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]

Thanks for posting. I had not realized that young Kabila was gone (term-limited, Wikipedia says).

I would love to visit DRC and spend a year traveling through it when peace returns. But I've been hoping for peace there for 20+ years now. Maybe not in my lifetime.
posted by thaths at 1:48 PM on February 26

Kabila still moves a lot of pieces on the chessboard.
posted by adamvasco at 6:11 PM on February 26

Biden urged to reinstate sanctions on Israeli mining tycoon.
Gertler has been one of the biggest looters of the DRC's natural resources.
posted by adamvasco at 1:56 PM on March 4

« Older Talib Kweli Reflects on his Relationship with...   |   Fabulous piano man Gene Taylor dead Newer »

You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.