Africa · Books · Uncategorized

Blood River

School’s finally out since last week and I have a lot of reading to do now. Right now, I’m reading former GE chairman Jack Welsh’s bio and Blood River, a true account of journalist’s trek through the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). I plan to write a review for Blood River for the Excal soon as it’s a very interesting book. It’s about a journalist’s journey through the interior of the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the most dangerous and tragic countries in the world, not to mention Africa. The guy travels through motorcycle, canoe and boat as a passenger, relying on Western and Congolese people to carry him through. The book is rather bleak because every place the guy goes, every chapter, is filled with sad details of poverty, despair and violence, both from the colonial past and from the present near anarchy. There’s no optimistic tale or lessons in this book, I’m afraid, and certainly something that many Western liberal pro-third world advocate types, like the ones found in my “alma mater” won’t like. Truth be told though, the level of poverty or suffering is not surprising when one thinks about and keeps up with developments in the DRC. The enormous loss of life since the late 90s to the present has been given different estimates in the millions by different organisations, and none of them is less than 2 million. Anyways while Blood River may not offer anything new to what’s generally known about the DRCongo, it still puts some focus on the degree to which Belgian colonial exploitation and post-independence corruption and conflict has affected Congolese.

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