In the Middle East it’s oil: in Africa it’s diamonds which put a gleam in Western eyes.

There have been democratic elections in the Congo, but it appears that rather than settle the issue the country may well return to civil war. In a series of entries to this weblog I have linked to articles considering what is happening to the mineral wealth of African countries.This is the Congo’s story. In the article in the Guardian (15/11/2006) the Roman Catholic archbishop in the Congo believes that there is a link to western interests to mine for diamonds and other precious minerals:
“…the European presence only confirms for many in Kinshasa that foreign governments are backing Mr Kabila just as they propped up Mobutu Sese Seko as dictator when the country was called Zaire, in order for western business interests to mine diamonds and other valuable minerals. That view was reinforced on Monday when the archbishop of Kinshasa, Cardinal Frédéric Etsou, told Radio France International that “results that are coming out are not the results that are being published”.
‘I ask the international community to abstain from all attempts to impose on the people of Congo he whom they have not chosen as their president … just to satisfy gluttonous and predatory appetites like those of a foreign dictator,’ he said.”

It is quite usual to blame Africans for the disasterous wars and massacres which have taken place, but ever since the treaty of Berlin in the 19th Century divided up the continent with the “scramble for Africa” the scene was set for destability. It was the promise of wealth untold that led Europeans to discredit Africans with preposterous and racist views like “Africa never had a history”. However it is the Congolese people who will suffer again.
Just as oil is the motivator for Western interests in the Middle East mineral wealth is the target in African countries. Human values count for little in this. The irony is that it is the West that views itself as being civilised and capable of civilising other societies. To Africans there is rather a different reality.

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