Archive for July, 2011

What Others Have To Say

Posted: July 27, 2011 in Advice, General

On this week’s segment of  “What others have to say,” we invited Dominique Diomi to share a few words with the Congolese youth. Dominique Diomi is one of our many active Congolese youth advocate here in the western hemisphere, in addition to his academics, he is extensively involved in advocating for the cause of the Congo. Here is what he had to say…

Author – Dominique Diomi 

The Congolese March to Freedom.

When one looks at the tragedy playing out today in the Congo, people feel compelled to help, but most of the time people ask, where are the Congolese? Whether it is after a presentation or a movie screening the same question always comes recurring. I personally believe that the question is not intended to knowing where the Congolese could be found physically; rather it is the expression of a certain malaise. I believe that it simply implies this: why should I be the one fighting for them when they are not taking in hands their own responsibilities or what are they doing to stop the madness that has been taking place on our land. Being a Congolese and often confronted to the same question, I did not know what to respond to those interrogations until very recently.

Now, finally we can say with confidence, the Congolese are rising from all over the world to take back the destiny of their country! Can’t you see them? Can’t you hear them? Here they are! They are rising up; they are organizing, marching, breaking the silence and they are not afraid to take a stand for their beloved Congo.  Indeed, many hordes of young, old, women, man, children, elder are uniting as one and taking the streets, invading the internet with messages, videos; they are marching in the streets of the world claiming their love for the Congo.  From Toronto in Canada, Paris in France, Pretoria in South Africa, Dallas in Texas, just to name a few of these location where these manifestations have taken place so far, they have organized rallies and marched during the celebration of Congo’s independence to ask for peace in the Congo, the end of the use of rapes as war weapon and least but not last the ousting of president Kabila.  One could argue the legitimacy of their grievances or the efficiency of their actions, considering that in most cases they are taking place thousands miles away from the Congo itself.

Among all things, we have to remember that president Joseph Kabila has been ruling the Congo for ten years. Despites of the overly publicized “Joseph Kabila’s 5 chantiers”, all the indicators of the country’s life are marking red. The Congo has lost almost a tenth of its population and its national integrity in the process; the flourishing middle class of previous eras has totally disappeared; The unemployment rate is reaching historic heights; corruption, embezzlement, mismanagement of public funds are one thing Kabila’s regime does to an extend that even caught the attention of the African Magazine “Jeune Afrique” that dedicated its entire edition of February 2011.  The edition was entitled: Joseph Kabila, Mobutu light? To illustrate how much his presidency has copied from Mobutu’s worse practices. Maybe 10 years was not enough for the current president to show his know how in matter of nation building? More and more Congolese express the desire of seeing him stepping down instead of trying to gain another mandate.

Let’s get back to our marches for a minute… I personally was present during the march that took place in Dallas on July 2nd, in solidarity with all the other Congolese abroad especially those marching in Europe from France to Belgium led by Youyou Muntu-mosi, Rex Kazadi, Roger Bongos, to name a few individuals. Organizations such as the groups of Congolese combatants in the Diaspora and some non profits organizations were also represented. Their march extended over 300 Km! It is an historic event that I had to mention in this article to illustrate the will and the dedication of some Congolese to their cause.  In Texas, we did not march that far, it was rather a short march stretching over about 2 miles that were cover during about two hours.  However it was a premier of its kind. A group of about 30 Congolese took the main artery in the city of Hurst, with speakers, Banderoles, accompanied by 4 police cars and other units on foots.  The city of Hurst had never seen such a thing before and it was an opportunity for people to learn about the situation in the Congo, but most of all it sent a strong sign to the rest of the world. We are not sleeping anymore and we are united, it says.

Are marches an efficient way for Congolese to address their grievances?

Even if the effectiveness of these rallies is arguable, based on the fact that they are organized thousands of miles away from the Congo, We still are witnessing an awakening without precedent in the Congolese Diasporas. When one knows the size of the Congolese communities abroad and its contribution in the economy of the Congo, then the movement that is taking place right now shouldn’t be taken lightly.

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Kozi feat Youssoupha BANA BANTU

Posted: July 27, 2011 in Music, Videos

Voilà, la Vidéo-geste de Kozi feat Youssoupha “BANA BANTU” extrait de la digitape (mixtape disponible seulement sur les plates formes de téléchargement légales) de Kozi à paraitre le 29 mai 2011, la nouvelle signature Kozi, qu’on avait déjà pu voir apparaître sur le titre “Clashes” avec Youssoupha, nous revient ici avec un 3 éme extrait, où les deux Mc’s rappent entiérement en “lingala” (Congo Rdc), une premiére pour des rappeurs Français.

Just for Fun wkly Poll

Posted: July 27, 2011 in General, Poll

Relationship Matters

Posted: July 25, 2011 in Advice

The Battle of the Sexes

CONGOLESE COMPANIONSHIP

The battle of the sexes has taken over the net! A few weeks ago a popular Congolese group on Facebook – Gorgeous Congolese chicks and cute Congolese guyz – experienced a series of intense discussions around the topic of the relationship dynamic in the Congolese community.  The arguments were presented, both parties were willing to share their opinions and openly expose the skeletons that have been buried  centuries ago for the sake of cultural principles. The debates were not monitored, no referees to settle matters and call fouls or give out red cards. Things were getting very interesting, however, it seemed as if in spite of everything, no one party was willing to investigate the root of the issue nor suggest steps that can be taken to better things…the problem it seem was that Congolese men were too controlling and too traditional, thus many women seem very reluctant to consider dating/marrying a man from the Congo.

So to further investigate the matter, we decided to dig a little deeper and perhaps come or at least suggest solutions to this problem. Two of our own Joel Mulumba and Aurelie Mulolo did a little research and have written two articles representing both the male and female perspective. Hopefully this will allow for us to see the root of the issue and break the barriers that’s keeping the Congolese woman and man from fostering a genuinely healthy relationship.

The Male Stance

Author – Joe Mulumba

Relationships for Africans in the United States vary from place to place and family to family. It’s true that there’s more social and financial freedom  in the States as well as more chance to be immature and make the wrong choices since one is sometimes left to his own and doesn’t have to answer to their community like in Africa.

There’s no prescription or proven tricks or rules to make a relationship work other than love, commitment and similarity of views. For a man to appreciate a woman in her own right, with everything she could or would bring to the table and for a woman to appreciate a man in his own right with everything he has to bring to the table, there has to have been role models along the way for the two of them who have shown them what does a successful relationship looks like.

I think what makes relationships work isn’t bound to race, cultural, social and religious background, but I also think that all these factors are highly influential in making a relationship work. I don’t believe in opposites attract, because when opposites clash, it’s not pretty to watch. I believe that there has to be a lot of things you like in your partner and vice versa for the relationship to work so that when things go wrong, you know you can trust each other to get through the storm. Maturity is a never ending learning process especially for guys. And girls too. Some learn quicker than others and love is to learn to give everyone the space needed to grow. One has to be willing to let the other grow especially when the other person is willing to grow.

The script for a successful relationship was written well before none of us was born, but like I have heard it preached over and over, it’s two beings becoming one flesh. For two beings to become flesh, there has to be things to let go. Whether it is sexism, family issues, racism in some cases, tribalism, egoism, egocentrism, money issues, and the list goes on. The strength of a couple is in its approach to conflict, the better they are at resolving conflict, the happier they will be.

From what I have seen in Africa, happiness isn’t a key factor in relationships or dating like here in the United States, where everything and everyone has to make the person happy. If the guy is charming, smart, comes from a good family, has the prospect of a good job, and takes out the girl once in awhile, he’s fulfilled most of the requirements to be the perfect man. Some guys have mastered the art of deception so well that women come to find out too late in marriage that the men they were dating isn’t the same they married. That’s not to say that some women haven’t done also their homework and turn out to be ‘witches’ after all. When there was forced marriage, the community was there to support the couple into staying together, but now that modernity, urbanism, and mass media has started to erode the bridges between individual and community, more women have more freedom in their choice of partner even though it’s not any easier.

Financial resources have always played a huge role when women are selecting the right guy. And inversely guys with deep pocket don’t need Adonis features to have the prettiest girl. This has always been true since the ages of times. African societies and more particularly, Congolese communities where men are still expected to be taking care of their women, the national lack of jobs has led men sometimes to rely on their wives to be selling all sort of products in the market to make ends meet. Even then the strength of tradition still maintains sexism against both of them. Rich men are sometimes if not most of the times expected to have more than one wife and lots of children because riches aren’t limited to materials but extends to people too. I have read an interesting argument that western women instinctively seek financial security because they are thinking ahead about children, but that article was forgetting about those financial secure women who don’t want children, but just want a financially secure man to enjoy life with.

One of the biggest debates for women all over the world is centered around birth control, which is slowly being introduced in Africa, even though it will take years before societies accept it since woman’s body usually belong to men.

Whether in the United States or in Africa, social classes play significantly in the choice of mates. African men who are insecure in their manhood and who are also sexist have been known to send requests through phone calls and mails for ‘a good woman’ like they make a request for ‘a good TV’, something for them to enjoy, and in return give the least for its maintenance. This is not to say also that there aren’t African men who fall in love with African women here in the United States or left one back home and they end up loving each other for the rest of their lives.

One interesting fact that is often overlooked in immigrant communities is the number games. In Portland Oregon, where I reside, the Congolese community is about 300 to 400 people, and when you factor in the usual tribalism, nonsense conflicts, you will end up with 50 to 100 people encountering each other and ignoring the rest. Out of these 50 people, you are supposed to find the perfect mate when you live in a city that’s like 98% percent white and 2 percent people of color. I came to realize last year that numbers are just against the Congolese, that’s not to say that it’s impossible to find the perfect mate in any other African community or outside of Portland, but financial freedom to go on a quest for the perfect mate isn’t available to everyone so people settle down when they can’t.

It’s always been easier to receive than to give and that is true for both sexes. The trick is to come to a balance. There are a thousands ways relationships could go wrong, but only one way for relationships to succeed. Long lasting relationships are not for the faint of heart, toughness is a requirement and given how societies are mostly misogynist, it takes a lot of faith in each other and in God to create happiness in a couple.

WE ARE NOT RUINED

Posted: July 25, 2011 in General

Author – Sabrina Moella

We are not ruined

We are the ones who wear cornrows in our heads and draw tattoos on our wombs to show the world our precious uniqueness

We are not ruined

We are the ones who tie wrappers around our hips to go out, two for the married women, one for the single ones

We are not ruined

We are the ones who eat white clay when we’re expecting, to give strength to our babies while they’re growing inside our wombs

We are the ones who gather together in the evening to share stories and laughter and to ask one another: “citoyenne, tokoseka na biso nini?”

We are not ruined

We are the ones who wake up every morning to go sell dumplings and cassava at the market to provide for our families

We are the ones who manage to make a living despite the power cuts, the unpaid salaries, and the unmaintained roads

We are the ones who are tired of our corrupted governments who steal the country’s money while our own children are starving

We are not ruined

We are the survivors of colonialism, imperialism, dictatorship and genocide.

We are the ones who know that when foreigners come and take our diamonds, our copper, our cobalt, our coltan and give us a rice bag in exchange, this is not fair trade

We are not ruined

We are the ones who reclaim justice for the 5 millions dead in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1998

We are the women whose mothers and daughters and granddaughters are abused and raped every day by soldiers who use guns and machetes to make sure that our bodies will never give birth again

But we are not ruined

We are the ones still standing on our feet, shaking, in tears, but still standing

Because they might destroy our bodies but they won’t destroy our spirits,

And though they want us to keep crying, we’re the ones who’ll keep on praying and singing, like

“Lelu tudi tudila malaba lutulu ne luikala”

We are not ruined

We are the women of Bukavu, Goma, Uvira, Beni, walking together in our streets to reclaim our dignity

And as long as we’ll be breathing, we’ll have the strength to keep on telling

To the soldiers who think that they can kill us

We are not ruined

To the westerners who think they can manipulate us

We are not ruined

To the governments who think they can despise us

WE ARE NOT RUINED

WE ARE NOT RUINED

WE ARE NOT RUINED

http://ilovecongo.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/we-are-not-ruined-2/

Sketch of the Week

Posted: July 25, 2011 in General

The Misunderstood

Posted: July 25, 2011 in General

Author – Carmen Dibaya

The Congolese man and woman, who is he or she? I’m sure you have come across this pair once or twice; you might have not noticed that he or she was Congolese, at least not at first glance, but I’m most certain that you did notice his or her flashy clothing; the brand name slacks and the eye catching bling blings that had you do the double take. For those of you who have met this lovely pair at parties or functions, you probably noticed more than the flamboyant attires, you most likely became aware of their enticing dance moves and love for attention. You probably said to yourself, “what party animals those two are.”  If you have been lucky enough to have carried a conversation with one of these two, you would say that the Congolese man or woman seem too concerned on gaining material possessions, argues pointlessly about music and sport, you might have also arrived to the conclusion that he or she displays an apathy towards the Congo and is far more interested in living and staying abroad. From this convo, the Congolese man or woman might appear, like an insecure individual, one who spends thousands of dollars that he/she does not have in order to fit in and show off, the Congolese man and woman might seem very materialist and disinterested in the betterment of his or her country.

However, how much truth is there to the conclusions that you have arrived to from your prior interactions with the Congolese man and/or woman? First impressions are usually our point of reference when picking and choosing friends and people we associate ourselves with. Often times, our first impressions go hand in hand with the stereotypes associated with a particular group of individuals. Nonetheless, first impressions do not give us a glimpse into the realities of those individual groups, especially when it comes to understanding the realities of the Congolese people.

So who is the Congolese man? – The Congolese man is a man born in the heart of Africa in a richly blessed land, a land of immense beauty and wealth. In this land you come across the treasures of the world, i.e.  rare animals and precious rocks, the wealth of the Congo is both a blessing and a curse.  It was a fortune for the Colonial master, in the name of religion and civilization; they raided the land and massacred anyone who dared to question their authority.

In spite of it all, June 30, 1960 surely arrived and delivered to the Congolese people their independence. However, the Western powers were not ready to let go of their newly found fortunate; thus, they cooked up a plan to continuously rob the Congo, in order to do so they had to keep the Congolese people at the bottom and killed off their leaders.  For the growth of their businesses and corporations, the Congo will have to remain unstable, and so they installed within the government crooks who would allow them to take as much from the land as possible without resisting.

Financing armors to militia groups and fueling conflicts, the Congolese man dies every day for the manufacturing of your cell phones and other electronic gadgets. With an unsteady country, the Congolese population is divided into two factions, a majority who proudly contests against the corruption and minority who follows the examples of their tyrant leaders, they chose to live in marbled palaces while the rest of the population dies of hunger, they chose to wear a two-piece suit even if their fridges are empty.

To avoid exposing his weakness, the Congolese man masks his reality, he hides his fathoms in order to forget that he is hunted.  Despite everything he succeeds in staying alive, he does so for the sake of his children. You see, foreign businesses are keen on seeing the Diaspora turning its back on this cursed nation, but the young generation is conscious of the beauty that lies from the East to West and North to the South of the country.

For some in the West, the Congo is a gold ditch that needs to be quickly dug while the militia groups are terrorizing the population. So the next time you come across the Congolese man, try to look past his flashy garments and alluring dance moves, keep in mind that he is the reflection of Africa, the Africa that you do not see; the paradox  of a wealth that serves only to fatten the pockets of others.

If tomorrow hope transpires to reconciliation, today’s slogan would be determination. Once his country is reconstructed, the Congolese man will welcome you into his home with open arms and show you that he is a man of love, a man of peace, a man of perseverance and resilience. The Congolese man is a man in search of a peace denied to him by the tyrants of our time; the Congolese man is a reflection of the Africa we do not see.

Crisis in the Congo: Uncovering The Truth explores the role that the United States and its allies, Rwanda and Uganda, have played in triggering the greatest humanitarian crisis at the dawn of the 21st century. The film is a short version of a feature length production to be released in the near future. It locates the Congo crisis in a historical, social and political context. It unveils analysis and prescriptions by leading experts, practitioners, activists and intellectuals that are not normally available to the general public. The film is a call to conscience and action.

Be on the look out for the release dates!