Recently the conflict in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has increased in intensity with the taking of the city of Goma by the M23 rebels.
Most people would say: “oh, these people, they just cannot manage can they?” “they are uncivilised, unable to be in peace, to work together, etc…”
The truth is that the DRC has become since the mid-90s a battleground for countries, companies and opportunists, that have found in the DRC one of the richest countries in natural resources in the world, containing 99% of the minerals that exist on earth. The lack of state and the existent infrastructure, means that these minerals cannot be exploited in large scale, and the insecurity means that foreigners really don’t want to be there. So local warlords that control a certain area, are those that extract the minerals and lead them abroad. But the greed of the companies paying these warlords is bigger than small scale mining, so they facilitate weapons and other resources to increase the control of these militias. Opportunists see that this is big business and the only real way to make any money in the DRC. So these militias split, fight each other, combine efforts to fight a third, etc.. This means peace is never close-by.
Furthermore, countries like South Africa have seen their giant neighbour (the size of a third of the US, or western Europe) as a tentative threat to their supremacy in the continent (small scale competitiveness), and they have made everything possible so that the sleeping giant doesn’t wake up.
The Congolese government, themselves previous warlords, full of corruption, with no funds of any sort, frankly somehow control the regions around the capital Kinshasa. In a country were movements can only be made by dirt road and rivers (small distances) and planes (long distances), with many square miles of unknown territory.
So what about the population? Survival, resilience, death, rape, torture. Civic movements trying to promote peace are killed or imprisoned. People are scared, but no-one knows another state of mind, and life goes on.
And as always, this conflict is ignored by the media (boring) and often portrayed as ethnic fighting. So does this media think that an AK-47 is available in any shop in the DRC? Perhaps they think there are several car factories that build vehicles for the militias? Well no, people bring the weapons in and other people pay for them. How much does it cost to get a car in the DRC? Not even the warlords have the money or the foreign connections to do this.
So, who really cares? Those that profit from this situation care. They care to make more money, not about the Congolese.