The Congo: Devastated & Forsaken, Three Years After Kabila

Listen / Download

The New Yorker reporter on the Rwandan genocide Philip Gourevitch went back to Central Africa last summer to see what’s called Africa’s First World War ongoing in the Congo. The spookiest sound he heard was the near silence at the heart of big towns like Kisangani: nothing louder than a gate creaking or feet padding on a pavement at a center city intersection: the sound of a town dying again, the sound of oblivion, he thought: a silence that was pre-modern or post-apocalyptic or both.

“O Congo,” Gourevitch wrote in the New Yorker last week. “What a wreck. It hurts to look and listen, and it hurts to turn away.”

Three years ago Laurent Kabila chased the ruinous Mobutu regime out of Zaire, and declared a Democratic Republic of Congo in its place: today it is not a nation, Gourevitch writes, so much as an all-purpose battlefield under a government that fears peace because it lives on war.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Phillip Gourevitch, New Yorker Correspondent