Chicago Reader Asks About Congo Blame

The fourth in a series of posts taken from my correspondence with a reader in Chicago. He writes:

What do you say to those who would place blame for the DRC’s dire circumstances on Belgium? …on the U.S.?… on the Congolese people?

I replied:

At the risk of sounding flip, there is plenty of blame to go around. Where do you start? The Belgians exploited the country for nearly a century, then essentially walked away. The Americans put Mobutu Sese Seko into office, then turned a blind eye while he systematically looted the nation for 30 years. Let’s not forget that he enriched plenty of his Congolese supporters along the way, too.

Who is responsible for the fighting today? Everyone. Despite all the finger pointing and ethnic propaganda, it’s all a mad scramble for control of the country’s wealth. Are there US and European businesses profiting from the illegally-operated mines? Certainly. The same holds true for China and many other Asian countries. The Rwandans and Ugandans are both agents of these foreign interests and operate on their own behalf as well, as do many, many Congolese.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the


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