Friday, January 27, 2012

Zine Review: Simple History #9, The Congo

Simple History #9
J. Gerlach (Microcosm)
To quote the Daily Show’s Earth, The Book: “ other continent could more truly say, I was raped.’” Talking of course about the continent of Africa. Pretty blunt, but there you have it. The area in central Africa known as the Congo is just one region, albeit a very large one, that was ripe for exploitation by European powers in the mad rush to secure the world's land and resources that started in the 16th Century. In the Congo's case, it was Belgium that took the lead, but they seemed to hardly have the heart for it. Control of the Congo was ceded and regained countless times as slave trading, foreign meddling and the indigenous peoples' inability to work out their own tribal differences and prejudices would plague them for decades to come. Congo's recent history is no less blood-free and has been mired in civil war and struggles with power-hungry dictators and staggering poverty. And that's a summation of J. Gerlach's simple history of a very complicated region of a very complicated continent. If I may again quote from Earth, "our species arose from Africa and we punished it for our failures ever since." Up next: Extreme climate change. Sorry again, Africa.

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