This Week’s Reading

A glimpse of a recent thunderstorm. That’s our drinking and wash water collecting in the can. 

With words in Otetela, Lingala, French and Swahili competing for my brain’s limited bandwidth, I’ve become even more of a news junkie than I was in the States, if only to seek some refuge in the English language. So I thought I’d share a few of the noteworthy articles I’ve been reading. Most are from this past week, though some I only just read this week. (I blame that entirely on slow Internet access and not my own laziness.)

The news came last week that the conflict between Congolese troops and the M23 rebel group (purportedly backed by Rwanda) was coming to an end. The Global Post reports that the Uganda army now has M23’s leader in custody.

Here’s a comprehensive guide from IRIN covering the various rebel groups. It’s important that the M23 leader has been captured, less he foment another uprising another perch as so many have before him.

It’s also noteworthy that Uganda chose to arrest Makenga, given their quasi-alliance with Rwanda. Again, Jason Stearns offered his analysis as the fighting was winding down and the balance was tipping in the favor of the government troops.

Jason Stearns posted a piece on recent political and economic reforms and the tenuous hold a reformist prime minister has on his job in faraway Kinshasa.

Adam Nossiter of the New York Times filed a compelling story from Dakar, Senegal, on deceiving growth statistics used to show gains in Africa. I challenge anyone who doesn’t think economic inequality is a problem we need to worry about in the U.S. to spend a few hours on the streets of Kinshasa, where the vast majority of the population might as well unify themselves under the banner, “We are the 99.999 percent.” For all that we talk about the “developing world,” it seems that we might be developing more toward the Congo model and not vice versa, given recent trends in American inequality.