Obama, Congo: What a sharp contradiction

This has been one of the most exciting weeks for many people across the globe. As the dust settles, many will look back at this moment in history with great pride and nostalgia.

This has been one of the most exciting weeks for many people across the globe. As the dust settles, many will look back at this moment in history with great pride and nostalgia.

Four decades ago the Rev. Martin Luther King Jnr, gave his “I have a dream speech”.

At the time he was only speaking of a dream. He looked forward to a time when his kids would be looked at for the content of their character rather than the colour of their skin.

He at the time represented the collective anger of the black minority in the US. But one will recall that he advocated for a non-violent revolution drawn along Ghandian principles.

Thus, despite the great anger that had built among African-Americans, Dr. King opted for a peaceful campaign for change.
As he spoke of his dream, it is improbable that he hoped to see an African-American president of the US.

As Obama prepares to go about the not so easy political balancing, that is necessary in the process of forming his administration; the symbolic nature of his election remains so powerful that it still reverberates around the world.

However, it is not likely to translate into real benefits for all who have shared in the symbolism of this triumph. The symbolic transformation of the US through the election of Obama, says a lot about the hopes and aspirations of the American people.

That they can accept that a black man can be their commander in chief and fountain of honour is in my view the actual liberation of Americans, of all colour.

It in a way marks the end of or retreat of white supremacist chauvinism. This is liberation of those who believed that nothing much could come out of Africans.

But at the same time, one realises that apart from Obama’s historic triumph, one other thing has dominated news globally. And this is the recent upsurge of the conflict in eastern DR Congo.

Top diplomats from all the global powers that define what the international community is, have travelled to this region making stopovers in Kinshasa, Goma and Kigali in that order before flying to one or two other regional capitals or heading back to Europe or North America.

We have seen America’s Jendayi Frazer, France’s Bernard Kouchner, UK’s David Miliband and the head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy making the trip.

What they are all saying has been said before, either by themselves or by those that preceded them in their positions.
What is apparent from these two top news occurrences is the sharp contradiction they present.

For most people, Obama represents something new and a positive change that will inspire millions for many more years to come.

But on the other hand the crisis in eastern DR Congo represents a huge failure on the part of those responsible for solving the underlying causes of what is happening in the North Kivu area.

It is hoped that the way Americans have voted, should inspire leaders in the international community to learn to take seriously people’s concerns anywhere and everywhere.

The root causes of the conflict in the Kivus are well known. But apparently the solution remains elusive. Thus the time has come for all, be they in Europe or America to start thinking of problems in far off areas as real concerns of all that belong to humanity including the root causes of the DR Congo problem.

The symbolism of the triumph of Obama, tells all that judging people for where they come from or are said to have originated from is something of the past.

The failure of Congo’s leadership together with the international community as represented by Monuc is rooted in lack of will. It is this lack of will that breeds the clumsiness and incompetence with which they have handled the problem in the Kivus.

It is apparent that if there was the political will, all these people from Europe, UN headquarters in New York, or Washington would easily play their part in partnership with the concerned in DR Congo to arrive at a final and lasting solution.

Contact: frank2kagabo@yahoo.com