Commentaries

February 2006

IS THE CONGO BEING TARGETED FOR NEW INTERVENTION?

The Homeland Security and Pope Benedict XVI Zero in on DRC
by Elombe Brath


As more and more Black people are becoming concerned with the last seven years of genocidal war in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the historical events that have impacted negatively throughout centuries in the third largest country, both in size and population, in Africa, new efforts are being considered to continue "nefarious influence" over the Congolese people who are still trying to emerge from over at least 75 years of outright colonialism and 37 years of reactionary neocolonialism under Mobutu Sese Seko, the late CIA-installed dictator who usurped the legitimate government of Patrice Lumumba within three months of the country's independence in 1960.

Two days ago it was reported that the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department has suspended the DRC's participation in the transit without visas (TWOV) program the International To International (ITI) program, which allows for passengers taking international flights to do so without having a visa for a country that they might have to pass through during an in-transit stop. Although this program has been in effect since 1952, and accommodates such diverse countries as Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, Philippines and Peru, the removal of the DRC from the program's benefits subliminally implies that its continued use might lead to travelers attempt to misuse such an availability to slip into the U.S. as terrorists and carry out deadly acts against major urban cities and disappear into the general population. Airports in Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas and Houston were among those mentioned. If you remember, soon after 9/11 occurred, the DRC and Niger were said to possibly be countries where Iraqi agents were trying to contract shipments of uranium, ostensibly, for use in nuclear military programs.

To be targeted by being placed on what amounts to a security watch list is, in effect, tactically suggesting a country's suspension from TWOV and ITI assistance is to also place them under government surveillance as if they were suspected terrorists. Conversely, Homeland Security and the State Department could also view U.S. citizens trying to travel to the Congo on actual business matters or just vacationing of being suspect of being involved in international trafficking in a host of different items, along with the numerous countries that the U.S. tries to deter its citizens from using their respective passports to travel to.

Almost simultaneously came an announcement that Pope Benedict XVI would be traveling on his first trip abroad, with his destination being the Democratic Republic of Congo, following the path of his immediate predecessor Pope John Paul II, soon after his being chosen to lead the Catholic Church.

In the case of Pope Benedict XVI, it is important for us to remember that not only was he a member of the Hitler Youth in his childhood and later a member of the Nazi armed forces in Germany, who was captured and imprisoned by the U.S. Army in Germany at the end of the war in 1945, but he has gained such a reputation for strident conservatism that he has been called "God's Rottweiler" and the "panzakardinal", while he was the Vatican's main honcho for doctrinal enforcement – the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

We need to pay close attention to see if this is a tendency by the Bush Administration to misconstrue the DRC as a rogue state or some conduit third country trafficking in - if not weapons which would be totally ridiculous – natural resources that have potential use in weapons production. Whatever way they try to place the next move in the Congo, Black people in the U.S. have to make the correct response to safeguard the struggling DRC government which has had a seven year war imposed on its people and far too many so-called Black figurehead leaders seemed to have a clue as to what was going on regarding the interests of imperialism versus self-determination.

Indeed, many of our neo-Pan-Africanist political leaders actually allowed the late President Laurent Kabila to be assassinated because they failed to truly understand the historical struggle that took place in the Congo. This is particularly true during three epochs that took place within the last 125 years: the period of King Leopold II and the succeeding Belgian Congo; the African nationalist liberation struggle and the Congo's Independence led by Patrice Lumumba and the collaboration of a union of west European states to resist the Congolese right to self-determination; and the U.S.-Belgian instigated coup that overthrew Lumumba and instituted the reign of Mobutu Sese Seko, an African Leopold – and the struggle to right that wrong and get rid of Mobutu and begin the reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is now in its most difficult period..

European colonial domination which has only had the right to self-determination since 1997 until now since the country received its independence on June 30, 1960. Within two and a half months after declaring its independence, when the newly elected leader Prime Minister Lumumba criticized the treatment of Africans under the previous Belgian rule, Belgium and the western media denounced Lumumba, claiming that his bringing up such a subject in his inaugural address was a mark of ingratitude to the leaders in Brussels who were benevolent enough to give the Congolese their freedom.

While Lumumba was appreciative of the Congo having finally regain its independence, he reserved his right as the leader of the new Congolese state to remind his constituents of the struggle, trials and tribulations that they had to pay to finally be free of Belgian oppressive domination. During his independence day declaration he succinctly reflected upon the Congo's former colonial bondage to the European authorities in Brussels, encompassing the 23-year long tyranny of Leopold II, whose genocidal rule caused the deaths of over 10 million lives while the Belgian monarch personally accrued between $10-15 million dollars in profit. For this, the western media, particularly the New York Times, denounced Lumumba for despoiling the ceremonies by simply telling the truth.

On the advent of a major program on the Congo tonight, two announcements should be of concern to all of those who are involved in trying to bring peace and social justices to the Congolese people so that they can get on with trying to reconstruct their society and bring about the long overdue prosperity to the broad masses of people who are entitled to benefit by the natural resources of their countries which has been described as being the center of the richest patch of land on the planet, it has been reported that the U.S. Homeland Security Agency and the new Pope Benedict XVI has announced that he will be traveling to the DRC as his first trip abroad, scheduled to arrive there on June 5. And given the role of the Catholic Church in its sordid self-serving western history in the Congo, from the Portuguese explorer Diogo Cam (Cao) discovering the estuary of the Congo River in 1480 (10 years before Columbus' so-called discovery of America), and that coincidence leading to the western trans-Atlantic slave trade on up to the Catholic Church missionaries and their collaboration with colonization of the territory. Since the church also controlled the education system in the Congo for over 80 years, and produced less than a dozen university graduates by the time of the country's independence in 1960, we would suggest that you carefully observe what comes out of the new ultra-conservative pope's visit to the Congo. Stay tuned. Get involved.

Tonight's screening of Peter Bates' "Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death" will provide you with documented empirical data on what one must be familiar with to understand what is currently happening in the DRC. There is a direct correlation of the over 10 million people that perished during Leopold's ruthless reign over a century ago and the nearly four million people in the Congo who died since 1998 without the major media adequately covering the role of the so-called western democracies played in the atrocities - reportedly more deaths caused in military conflicts fought since World War II.

We are proud to present His Excellency Atoki Ileka, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Democratic Republic of Congo to the United Nations to update you on the present situation in his country and the role that you can play to alleviate the suffering that has been imposed upon the Congolese people due to monopoly corporate interests, foreign policy objectives, and the media covering up a myriad of crimes, all more interested in safeguarding exploitive conditions in order to preserve super profits over saving peoples lives.

We thank you for your attendance, and hope that you will put the information presented to you to good use in the struggle ahead. Remember: Every day delayed to resolve these fundamental contradictions represent an additional death occurring among the Congolese people.