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.