The current tragedy unfolding in Congo cries out for the humanitarian interest and political attention of us all, not least the African Union. We should all feel ashamed and outraged, particularly at a time when billions of dollars have been budgeted for war against Iraq.
The "Dark Ages" is the period in European history which, according to popular dictionaries, was "characterised by cultural and economic backwardness but in fact by a paucity of written records". It lasted for over four centuries from the fall of the Roman Empire in the 6th century to about the 10th century when the feudal ages started.
Young African historians would be entitled to the irony of describing the period of white imperialist hegemony from the 16th to the 20th centuries as "the white ages". This period was characterised by the transatlantic slave trade and colonialism, and other forms of racial exploitation in the enforced Diaspora.
Between the 15th and the 20th centuries, while the old and the new world were being transformed by social and economic progress, black people endured one of the biggest crimes against humanity, in the number of victims and duration of the slave trade, as well as the cultural loss and psychological trauma. The term "white ages" might be a simplification since not all whites were imperialists, and many of them were poor and also exploited. Moreover, the former "white" supremacy has now passed on to the us and wears a multi-racialist and freedom-loving mask. For now, it has moved, with tragic prospects, to the Middle East.
As for Africa, the so-called "marginalisation" would be absolute were it not for the fact that investors are still very active wherever natural resources, such as gold, coltan, diamonds, oil or expanding markets are found.
But it is in the immense Congo, varyingly described as the "heart of darkness" or the "heart of Africa", that extreme exploitation is still found. According to the latest UN Report on congo, Rwandan, ugandan and Burundian troops (with the blessing of certain Western powers and multinationals) and congolese tribal militia have killed or caused the death of 3.5 million people since the war of aggression was launched on 2 August 1998 - a total even bigger than that estimated for the Angolan civil war (1 .4 million) between 1975 - 2001. To add tragedy to drama, many international companies, through their enterprising agents, are taking advantage of this chaotic situation in congo, as the slave traders of...