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Book Review on The CongoZaire Experience 196098 - Essay Example

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Book Review on The CongoZaire Experience 196098

The only people to benefit from the aid and money supplied to help the nation are those in the upper hierarchy who through their actions curtail the socio-economic development of the nation, often depriving the poor of much needed food and other amenities. Peaceful dialogue is seldom seen as achieving much in the resolution of conflict and a dominant brute mentality is that of suppression of justice and human rights.
O'Ballance describes how European colonizers viewed the Congo as having lucrative economic potential with vast mineral deposits and rubber plantations. Starting with the King of the Belgians, Leopold II, who attempted to establish his authority and lay claim over the Congo, the region had witnessed only domination and exploitation by foreigners. This totalitarian state of mind was witnessed as early as King Leopold who declared himself as head of the Congo Free State while maintaining the boundaries in the region. The Belgian government helped Leopold develop the Congo by providing funds in return for annexing the state after 1901. After the Congo fell under Belgian rule, negative practices such as forced labor were reduced and economic development such as construction of rail roads was commenced. ...
Mining became a mainstay for much of the population and small towns were set up to accommodate the workers. The Africans moved away from the countryside into the urban areas that had greater employment potential. Christian missionaries made efforts to uplift the poor uneducated Africans but it was only from the 1950's onwards that the Africans were given access to education. Religious movements gained some momentum but leaders were jailed as the Belgians became fearful that their authority would be destabilized.
The first signs of an Independence movement began in 1955 when similar sentiments gained acceptance throughout Africa. There was a demand for increased self government by some quarters and when a 30 year plan in this regard was proposed, it was accepted by the Belgians. After the then French president Charles de Gaulle visited Middle Congo and offered the Congolese an option to either be completely independent of France or continue to associate with the colonial rulers, Congolese nationalists notably Patrice Lumumba strove towards gaining independence.
On June 30th 1960, Belgian Congo became independent and Lumumba elected Prime Minister and Kasavubu the head of state. However peaceful times were short lived as ethnic clashes threatened to break apart the Republic of Congo. With provinces such as Katanga declaring independence and attacks against Belgian nationals who would later flee the country, the government at the centre lost its grip on the nation. Other provinces such as Kwilu, Kivu and Katanaga which were under central government control were also descending into lawlessness. After president Kasavubu drafted a new constitution that declared that the president would stand in ...Show more

Summary

Throughout the book there is the underlying theme of a totalitarian mentality dominant both from the side of the colonizers and local war lords, struggling for personal and tribal power through any means possible, particularly through violence. O'Ballance indicates that in a totalitarian run state, corruption is rampant and the centre tries to regulate almost all aspects of public life and the state's economy…
Author : bertrand18
Book Review on The CongoZaire Experience 196098 essay example
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