Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Congo: Looking back on the future.

Being originally from the D.R. Congo, I feel naturally compelled, particularly during this time of year, to be orientated towards the country. Many of you may have heard about the glamourous affair that was the Congo50th celebration, and many of you may not, however I aim to offer a slightly different view. The reason why this time of year is important is that the 30th June 1960 was the day that the Congolese people achieved LIBERATION from the former colonial Belgian rule. You may have noticed how I capitalised the word 'liberation', the reason being that I think there is a fundamental difference between independence and liberation. I personally do not use the word independence in this regard because I think it implies that one was dependent on the other, and then you are given independence by those whom you were once dependent on, like a child growing up in the household finally having the impetus to move out house and live independently, but always having to report back to the parents just to let them know everything is alright, and in the dynamics of colonialism this was clearly not the case. I think LIBERATION far better encapsulates the struggle that countries under colonial rule went through in order to be free from oppression.I would really like to hear people's opinion on the semantics: liberation or independence. Does it even matter what we use to express it? Semantics (the different ways that words/sentences are used to express a meaning)has a significant influence on the way that we view the world, and it is so often overlooked. For example, we've all heard (and often expressed ourselves) that the 'sun will rise' or other variants of the same expression, and it seems a logical thing, as the sun seems to rise in the sky at dusk, in reality, the sun does not rise, it has never risen, it in fact appears every morning as the earth rotates and night turns to day. So in fact, we've been wrong for a while, but it would be far less inspiring and eloquent, and far more mundane if we heard that the sun will appear. Semantics is more important than we realise. If we change the way we say and view things, it will ultimately change our actions. I digress. Back to the main issue though, the liberation in Congo was achieved particularly due to the incomparable efforts of Patrice Emery Lumumba, amongst many others, though I name him in particular because of the vision that he instilled in the people. The hope and the desire to live a life of peace and prosperity. That vision, of future that could have been, that could still be (this issue I will talk about in future blogs) is one to be remembered.
(C) (This is an image that was designed by a talented Congolese artist, Hygin Ndjoli -http://s480.photobucket.com/albums/rr161/Ndjoli2008/ and http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=514791079&ref=ts. Contact him further for information, and to see more of his work).
I think this image really encapsulates the variety of emotions that envelops Congolese history, and if this is something you are aware about, or will hopefully one day know about, you will or would have had a solitary moment of reflection after seeing that image.
I think it is important to know each others cultures and histories so we can better understand each other as people, and head in a more positive direction in this world that is growing ever complex. History plays an important dynamic on what will happen in the future. As they say, you can't know where you are going unless you know where you have been


  1. Word! Only through learning and understanding each others cultures ( or at least try) can we then move forward and truly accept and become a multi-cultural society. As far as Liberation vs. Independence I agree with you (as much as I would love to disagree just to be contraversial), because if we really look at the whole picture it was the colonial "master" who was(and still is) dependent, because they need our oil, they needed our resources and our Algebra(otherwise they would still be counting on their fingers. Therefore they were (are) the dependents not the colonized.

    Keep up the good work.

    L. César da Silva - leader of the future

  2. I agree with you on that one, but very few people see it like that or would be able to identify it like that. I really do wish that former colonies, particularly african ones, would not use the word 'independence' when describing the escape from colonialism, because it was not given, if liberation was never sought after, there would still be colonialism.