Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The evil imperialists aren't being imperial enough

The excellent Black Looks blog noted a comment left on a South African website regarding the elections in the DR Congo.

The presumably Congolese noter bemoans foreigners to the DRC because they support Kabila, who is not even a Congolese. Their support is based on profit not on sincerity. He promised and already gave them all the mining contracts. South Africa only wants our gold, cobalt, zinc, coltrane, manganese, diamond and so on, but it does not care about the well-being of our people. All the proceeds of these contracts will come back here, benefit South Africans while our people continue to suffer. Some will go into the pockets of Motsepe, Tokyo, Cyril, Mbeki, Phumzile [South African politicians] and other capitalists. For South Africans, we mean nothing. Look, they way they treat us here. Like animals, they insult and hate us. South Africans are full of xenophobia. What are doing in Congo if we are animals. What is the UN anyway? They are the useless puppets of US and Britain. We, refugees are suffering here and ill-treated by South African citizens including Home Affairs officials and police while their govt looks on, where is the UNHCR? Look at Palestine and Lebanon, where is the UN? Im telling you it is gonna be war in Congo if Kabila (Mbeki’s son, puppet and business partner) wins. Halala Congo and Lumumba! Phantsi Mbeki, IEC and capitalism!

The comment betrays a probably understandable pent up rage. The situation in the DRC has been desperate for a decade and a half. And the place has been pillaged by merciless foreign exploitation for more than the last century. It could be argued that the DRC was never truly decolonized.

However, the UN bashing gets tiresome. Those in the developing world think the UN is a puppet of Britain and the US. The US far right thinks the UN isn't sufficiently puppet-esque. This noter complains the UN is a puppet of the evil imperialists and then a couple sentences later, whines that the UN isn't doing enough for the DRC. Why would anyone want alleged malefactors to be more involved in your country?

There's no question that neo-imperialsm is alive and well in the world, not least in Africa. But one can't simultaneously that foreign powers are doing too much AND not enough.

The outside world (via the UN) have donated $500 million just for the conduct of these elections plus offered significant logistical support. They've provided thousands of soldiers for the largest UN peacekeeping mission in history. They've donated hundreds of millions more dollars for refugees, medical care and other humanitarian considerations. If this is meddlesome imperialism, then let the UN and international community withdraw peacekeepers and aid completely and let the Congolese fend for themselves.

Of course if that happened, then the same people would scream that the "racist" international community is "allowing" the ensuing humanitarian crisis.


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