This is the second in a series of notes from my correspondence with a reader in Chicago. He writes:
Thanks for the response. My girlfriend is living in Kinshasa working for Voyageur Airlines under the auspices of MONUC. She is a member of a flight crew that transports people and equipment around the DRC as needed. Accordingly, I have been researching the DRC’s history and current predicament.
I now understand the point you are making with that figure. My issue with the figure you cited was that it gives the impression that 90% of the DRC enjoys safety and order. My understanding, and you seemed to allude to it, is that even where the militias do not operate, crime and health conditions are nearly as dangerous. Would you agree with that?
Yes, that is a good assessment. While there may not be military operations throughout Congo, there is certainly much that remains to be done in the administration of justice, health care, education, and many other areas of development that were retarded by first the Mobutu regime and then the 1998-2003 war. Elections in 2006 were a good step, but a baby one, toward helping the DRC achieve its potential.