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Post Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Created by Ronald Hilton on 03/12/02 9:56 AM

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Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo) (Ronald Hilton, USA, 03/12/02 9:56 am)

I visited Zaire in 1975 in the course of a tour of Africa and decided that it rivaled Haiti as the most miserable country that I had ever visited. Bienvenido Macario remarks:

"A posting asked why Zaire changed its name to Congo or Democratic Republic of Cong, to to which I suggested that perhaps alphabetically Zaire will always come in last as in the opening parade of Olympic participants and roll calls among nations".

He attaches a Reuters (3/12/02) report saying that things have got worse. Entitled "Congolese laugh in the face of misery", it proves that humor is often a safety for exploding anger. Here is an extract: "Congolese have little hope that UN "tourists" and the "dialogue of idiots" will get them out of their troubles. Over the past year, military battles in Africa's third-largest country have largely been replaced by a war of words between belligerents jockeying for political advantage in the slow moving peace process.

References to a so-called inter-Congolese dialogue involving the government and rebels, which has restarted in South Africa after numerous quarrels and delays, have been shortened on Kinshasa's street to the "dialogue inter-con." "Idiot" would be a fairly polite way of translating "con" from the French. The government of what some Congolese call the Dictatorial Republic of Commandants is traditionally referred to as the "gouvern-et-ment"-- or "govern-and-lie." The United Nations troops sent to monitor the ceasefire are known as "Tourists" for their full wallets and limited contribution to improving Congo".

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