House Music Banner
Barack Obama Dreams From My Father
An American Journey
Diamonds that spell death
Saturday, 30 August 2003

by Tristram Hunt and Oona King. Published in The Guardian

Western commerce still feeds the war in Congo

Early next week a French-led contingent of multinational troops will pull out of the Congo town of Bunia after barely three months of peacekeeping. Thankfully, some high-level diplomacy at the United Nations by the secretary general, Kofi Annan, has secured a replacement force to serve a further year in an attempt to end the regional conflict which since 1998 has claimed more than 3.3 million lives.

But while efforts are rightly focused on seeking a truce between the Hema and Lendu militia groups, and urging an end to Ugandan and Rwandan interference, western diplomats might also think about getting their own houses in order. In an uncanny repetition of western intervention in the region that dates back to the 19th century, complicit multinational corporations and unknowing - or unthinking - western consumers have contributed to the regional conflagration.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is an area cursed by an abundance of natural wealth from gold through diamonds and timber