Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Will the Arrest of One Curtail the Diabolical Attacks In Eastern Congo?


Back in December of 2008 I blogged about how parents would pay to have their children shot in the Democratic Republic of Congo, just to spare them the trauma they would endure at the hands of bloodthirsty murderers everywhere.

From the Christmas Congo massacre.

Marguerite Animbwefwo managed to escape the onslaught by Ugandan rebels with her 7-year-old son. But she is wracked with guilt, despairing that she couldn't save her 13-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son, killed in a Christmas Day rampage on her northeastern Congo village of Nawangu.

"They killed everyone else in the village. We are the only ones living," she said Monday.
Among victims at Dorouma hospital is a 3-year-old girl whom rebels tried to kill by twisting off her head. She is paralyzed from the neck down and both her parents were killed in the attacks.
A little over one month later, Congolese Rebel leader Laurent Nkunda, "the general of a rebel group in eastern Congo, who has threatened to take over the country, and whose fighters recently brought central Africa to its most turbulent moment in years" has been caught.

As we have seen throughout history, the personal charisma of one man can "move mountains". Mahatma Gandhi, Adolf Hitler, Martin Luther King, Fidel Castro, Nelson Mandela, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Osama bin Laden, Jack Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, etc. have all used their abundance of charisma to change the course of history for the greater good or the purely evil. Nkunda, it appears, is one of those men who is dangerously blessed with this "divine gift, or gift of grace", as his rebel army seemed to crumble the day after he was arrested.
He had built one of the best-organized, best-trained bush armies in Africa. His soldiers always carried their rifles pointing down and kept their uniforms incongruously spotless, even though they marched through a world of mud.

But all that acclaimed discipline, which had helped the rebels to rout the Congolese government troops just about every time they faced off, seems to have vanished as fast as its leader.
Obviously charisma - like genius - alone, is not enough. Not only does the person have to take full advantage of his or her gift, the right circumstances and followers must also come together in order to transform charisma into what can become the most powerful lethal weapon or omnipotent saving grace.

Nkunda's arrest, more than likely, will not be enough to settle Eastern Congo, however, Nkunda's absence has already brought more "peace" to this area, than seen in quite some time. However, considering the level of unimaginable brutality in Eastern Congo, peace is a relative word. Nkunda's powerful persona, and his connection to the Rwandan Army and top Rwandan officials, especially Rwandan President Paul Kagame, could jeopardize what appears to be a step in the right direction.

Excellent articles:

Peace in Congo? by Josh Ruxin

Calm in Kigali. Horror in Congo by Josh Ruxin.

Crisis in Congo. by Nicholas Kristof

The Three Worst Places to Live by Nicholas Kristof

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