Ethnic Conflict in the Congo

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by katherynfurlong
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Social Studies
World History

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Ethnic Conflict in the Congo

Ethnic Conflict:The Democratic Republic of the Congo

My Perspective

I think that the people of the Congo have been oppressed by foreigners taking advantage of their natural resources. The profits made from these valuables rarely were used to benefit the citizens of Congo, and because of it, they have been unable to establish healthcare, transportation, or education systems suitable for sustaining a highly functioning and unified state. With so much instablity, it was probably easy to point fingers - ethnic groups from Congo blaming eachother, and the government blaming immigrants for many of the country's problems. This type of conflict led to violence that, without a strong central government, was unable to be easily quelled, and so it continued to ravage and weaken the country for decades. I think that the native groups of Congo citizens has the strongest claim for "justice" - however that may look. They seem to have been wronged and taken advantage of in numerous ways by foreigners greedily using their resources and the Rwandan people moving their conflict into the boarders of the Congo.

I think that if the people within the Congo have the opportunity to establish a stronger central government based on the wishes of the people - not on who can forcibly gain power - will benefit the country the most in the long run. If people from different ethnic groups can come to terms and generally support one government style/leader, they can be unified in some political sense, hopefully creating a sense of nationalism that will decrease the potential for civil violence. A stronger central government could also help establish and maintain adequate transportation, education, living conditions that will strengthen the economy and society of the country.

In my lifetime, I think that the Congo will likely experience a shift in governing styles. This transformation appears to have already begun to some extent with the democratic election of Joseph Kabila. However, violence has increased since his inauguration, and so the people must still find ways to eradicate the deep-seeded tension before a greater sense of peace can be achieved.

Cordell, Dennis D. "Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) - People | History Geography - Capital at Kinshasa." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2016."Democratic Republic of the Congo « World Without Genocide - Working to Create a World Without Genocide." Democratic Republic of the Congo « World Without Genocide - Working to Create a World Without Genocide. N.p., 2015. Web. 18 Jan. 2016."DR Congo: Conflict Profile | Insight on Conflict." Insight on Conflict. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Jan. 2016."Q&A: DR Congo Conflict - BBC News." BBC News. N.p., 20 Nov. 2012. Web. 18 Jan. 2016."The Roots of Ethnic Conflict in Eastern DRC." Pulitzer Center. N.p., 01 Mar. 2009. Web. 18 Jan. 2016

Possible Solution

Causes of Conflict

•Natural treasures of the Congo such as diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, and zinc have been exploited by foreigners seeking their own wealth•The people of the Congo have rarely benefited from their country’s resource wealth•During the nation’s fight for independence from Belgian forces in the 1960s, Joseph Mobutu seized power and united the country•However, he soon abused his power and used the nation’s wealth solely to ensure he remained in power•Mobutu eventually lost control over the country ensued by turmoil and conflict between different ethnic groups•Effects of Rwandan genocide fueled tension, as both the Hutu and Tutsi people sought refuge in the Congo, further draining resources and prolonging violence

Major Events

Ethnic Groups

- Over 200 tribes live in the Congo- Majority are related to the Bantu (45%)- Native ethnic groups within the Congo quarrel with one another, as well as with foreigners-Conflicting Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups from Rwanda that both saught refuge and opportunity to regroup military strength in refugee camps in the Congo

- 1885: Establishment of the Congo Free State, controlled by Belgium-1960: Republic of the Congo declares independence from foreign rule-1965: President Mobutu begins 32 year governance-1970s/1980s: country splits into various city-states-1980s: Mobutu quickly loses much of his power, country faces great internal conflict during power struggle-1993: First violent conflicts occur in North Kivu-1994: Rwandan genocide further weakens eastern border of Congo with mass immigration-1997: Laurent-Desire Kabila becomes president of Congo, conflict with Rwanda continues-2001: Joseph Kabila becomes president after his father's assasination-2002: Peace accord is signed and all forgein troops retreat from Congo

Futuristic Possibilities

Works Cited

Recently, a peace accord was signed so that forgein troops would leave the area. However, violence continues to ravage the land, and no effective long-term solution has yet been implamented to improve standard of living and peace conditions.

Current Status


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