CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 13, 1996
Helen Winternitz's claim that "Zaire's tortured history began in the late 15th century, when the Portuguese sailed down Africa's west coast and found the Kongo Kingdom" (Opinion, Nov. 10) innocently reflects the Eurocentrism of so many Western observers. Zaire's history started when the area was first occupied by people. Central Africa was not some sort of savage paradise when the first Europeans "discovered" the Kongo Kingdom. For sure, much of Zaire's agony for the past 36 years since independence can be attributed to external influences of the Cold War. The root causes lie as much or more, however, in the basic system of beliefs and values of the various Zairian cultures.
May 10, 1997 |
There's anger to go around in the destitute streets of Kinshasa, and it is not all directed against President Mobutu Sese Seko or rebel leader Laurent Kabila, the two men locked in a dance of death over who will lead this country of 45 million people.
November 10, 1996 |
In the Kivu region of eastern Zaire, 1 million refugees are fleeing warfare and rebellion. It is one of the worst humanitarian emergencies in modern history, certainly deserving of media attention and of the hand-wringing efforts by the international community to help. This is just one tragedy, though, in a much larger disaster that engulfs the entire country of Zaire and its 45 million people. Zaire, which borders nine other countries and is the centerpiece of Africa, is falling apart.