North Korea

North Korea
The always bombastic and unpredictable North Koreans go hysterical again. This time the country is prepared to "go to war" with South Korea because that country is playing loudspeakers directed at North Korean territory. A headline from a UK paper reads, "More than 50 North Korea submarines 'leave their bases' as war talks with South continue "

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Some hope in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

Teatree last posted on the DRC nearly two years ago - 11/27/11 - which by and large remains a troubled, anarchic nation-state, at least in much of the east of this huge African country (2/3rds the size of Western Europe and 1/3the size of the US) with a population of 75 million.

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The DRC compared to Western Europe - graphic from the BBC

The DRC compared to the US - graphic from

The news this week is that the nation's military supported by UN forces have beaten the main rebel group in the east of the country, the M23, in a series of battles, now taking all towns once controlled the group. The M23, in turn, have offered a cease-fire.

In a recent BBC article, "Last Monday the UN special envoy to DR Congo, Martin Kobler, said the group was all but finished as a military threat in DR Congo. His comments came after government forces captured five rebel-held areas, including one where the rebels had a big military training camp. ... The government forces have been backed by a UN intervention brigade deployed earlier this year to confront the M23 and other armed groups.

The rebels briefly occupied the eastern Congolese city of Goma in November 2012 before pulling out under international pressure. The M23 rebel movement is named after a 23 March 2009 peace deal that ended four years of rebellion in eastern DR Congo."

So we shall see whether there has finally been a significant breakthrough of this most recent flareup of conflict in the rich country. The current rebel group is only the latest of a string of separatists in the long running war which, since 1998 has resulted in nearly 5.5 million deaths. The conflict itself is a consequence of the 1994 Rwandan genocide that ended with nearly 1 million killed in a three month period.

For a sorry look back on the tragedy of this country, read DR Congo: Cursed by its natural wealth at

The presence of a UN Force Intervention Brigade (FIB)was a first for the international agency that usually does not receive authority to enter into offensive operations. According to an article at, "The FIB is the first UN peacekeeping force to ever be given an offensive mandate. It is under the command of Tanzanian Brigadier James Mwakibolwa and the more than 3000 strong brigade is made up of soldiers from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania."

A few pictures of this land and its people in the heart of Africa ...

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Beautiful terraced land is testimony to the small landowner diligently at work, and the roads a testimony to the lack of investment in infrastructure. Photo from which is a Care website with lots of pictures of its own ...

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Women in their colorful wraps - a French speaking country, with lots of tribal languages(though one wonders why these words are in English ...). Over 800,000 Congolese are internally displaced in the east of the country, with entrenched poverty, ever-present sickness, and insecurity the unfortunate consequences. Photo from

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As so often, lots of small groups quietly working at local improvement. Photo from

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Such richness, beauty, isolation, and potential! Photo from

1 comment:

Sarah said...

That last picture is stunning!