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My parents played this album throughout my childhood every Christmas, and it brings me such joy to hear these songs now. It was an interesting time in America in the early 1960's, when people were exploring melody from other countries often for the first time. For me, this album equals Christmas spirit!
and although I grew up in Nigeria, during the 80's, this book brought back so a lot of memories. Not only were her descriptions of the continent breathtakingly vivid, her pre-teen thoughts on topics like the unforgivable sin and sexuality also brought back memories. There is more to being a missionary kid in Africa than the "wildness" and Meyers captures the subtlties with grace and fluidity. Absolutely gorgeous.
... you'll love SWIMMING IN THE CONGO! This is a collection of short stories that reads like a novel. In it, young Grace Birggen, the daughter of an agricultural missionary to the Congo in the 1960's, comes of age along the banks of the Congo River in what is now Zaire. The stories are beautifully written and the descriptions of her childhood in an emerging third-world nation are compelling. It is POISONWOOD without the poison. Yes, there are incidents of imperialism and racism, but those incidents are filtered through Grace's eyes, in much the same method that Scout narrates Boo Radley's and Tom Robinson's stories in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and so will you.
If you're looking for something various in terms of holiday music, check out this CD reissue of the 1963 recording Christmas in the Congo, originally issued on the Philips label. Included are 16 Congolese songs performed by Les Troubadours du Roi Baudouin, a boys choir formed by Father Haazen shortly after he arrived in Africa in the early 1950s. Following a tour of Europe, Les Troubadours became world-renowned, resulting in a recording contract with Philips. This was their second release and, since it’s less than 30 minutes, the additional zone has been filled by “Folk Tales of the Tribes of Africa," narrated by the one and only Eartha Kitt, which should please young and old alike. - See more at: [...]
A unbelievable book, for all the reasons previous reviewers give. My own kids spent some growing-up years on the Kasai, a huge tributary of the Congo and had some lazy afternoons in a swim hole where we were beautiful sure there were no crocs due to the quick running water. Our time in Congo/Zaire began a few years after the moon landing, after Mobotu changed the names of cities and rivers. Fortunately, I cannot think of any missionaries in our zone who fit the "Madame of the Hard Mouth"! She would not have lasted long where we were--at the invitation and supervision of the national church. But no doubt this may have been a real experience in other mission enclaves in earlier years. It is interesting that the author locations this story toward the end of the 60s, that period following national independence when the power gradually shifted and Hard Mouths were no longer tolerated. Interesting also that she locations one of her first childhood stories, of daydreaming of being Henry Morton Stanley's Girl Friday ("I recognized the devoutly Christian soul beneath his cruelties, his grandiose boastings, and in return he trusted me.") in contrast to one of her last, of the 75-yr-old gardener, Wizamo, who had his hand sawed off as a teenage slave by King Leopold's enforcers on the rubber plantations. Stanley was Leopold's right-hand gunman in opening up the Congo River basin to Leopold's reign of terror. (see King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild) Grace's coming of age when she leaves childhood behind is also in Wizamo's story, her enlightenment of the true history. Wizamo tells a frightened Grace: "They no for almost killing me, you understand, but I have for sixty years because I didn't work hard enough as slave labor on the mondele's [white's] rubber plantation. I have pulled weeds from your mindele [whites'] gardens and thought of murder. It is well for you, all of you, that you are too strong to be touched." I look forward to reading her 2014 book.
Um Bongo. The 6th of Johnny Weissmuller’s forays into Jungle Jim’s khaki shorts proves to be a damp squib. It’s low on ideas and crudely constructed by director William Berke. Ok, lets not beat around the jungle bush, for the very young movie fan there is more than enough here to hold them rooted to the sofa. From hilariously poor spider designs to recycled animal fights, there’s no denying that young eyes can have fun whilst feasting on their burgers. Hell, the plot even has some intelligence to it, even if it’s a touch bonkers as drug lords seek to extract narcotic tinged glands from the Okongo, a half horse/zebra/antelope thingy that the makers have created up. But this is all told one of the weakest of the series and feels old hat as regards familiarity breeding contempt. 4/10
"Swimming in the Congo" by Margaret Meyers is a very amazing novel that reads like a collection of short stories. It is told in the first-person by a girl, daughter of missionary parents, growing up in the Belgian Congo, circa 1960. The stories are focused on the narrator and her memories of her parents and the local people (Congolese and ex-pats) in and near missionary communities. Problems the seven-year narrator with contain the mix of American Protestant and African traditional beliefs she encounters; the meaning of the equator and scientific reality; and White racism towards the Congolese. Meyers' writing reads well and is simple to like. It would be interesting to see her story continued.
I was expecting an album of African music, ala "Missa Luba". What I got was renditions of a couple of well-known Christmas songs and a few African songs. A lot of the album consisted of Earth Kitt reading African folk tales. That's alright if that's what you're looking for, but it's disappointing if you're buying the album to hear the specific kind of melody for which the Troubadours du Roi Baudouin are known.
Margaret Meyers, the daughter of a missionary family, grew up in The Congo in the 1960s, and this 1995 collection of short stories was part of her later MFA Thesis at the University of Virginia. Through them, she introduces her lead character, Grace, who views the globe with the freshness of childhood and shares her experiences with the reader. Her father tells her the equator goes right through their property and, at the age of six, she searches for it as if it would be a clearly marked path. Her favorite pastime is swimming in the river, a river she will miss terribly when she is sent off to boarding school a few years later. Her protestant Christianity is unquestioned and she's always exploring her own spirituality as well as making keen observations about the people around her. There are some memorable characters here, from her loving parents to the native Congolese who laugh at the foibles of the missionary families. There are the two spinster women with a secret, an unhappy former ballerina who has problem adapting to her life in Africa, and a Frenchman who loves his garden almost as much as he loves his constantly changing women. Through Grace's young eyes we see the cruelty of racism and the stirrings of independence as political changes are event in the 261 pages this is a quick and enjoyable read, one that I gobbled up in two sittings, letting myself travel to the lush globe of Grace's Congo and view it through her child's eyes. Mainly, it's about the people and she stays away from political analysis. She tells her stories simply and creates an atmosphere, and brings the reader right into her world. If I have any criticism at all, it is that some of the characters appear in just one of the short stories and I wanted to hear more about them as the book went on. But, alas, this is a book of stories, not a novel. I loved this book; it was a little trip into a globe that is now gone and which I will never obtain to know except for my reading. And it sure was an enjoyable journey. Recommended.
This is the style of salsa that I listened to growing up in Ponce Puerto Rico. Nothing wimpy here. No cry baby lyrics, no R&B fusion B.S. All 100% true salsa with true instruments and 100% really danceable. Amazing contributions by Tony Vega, Gilberto Santa Rosa and Papo Lucca. Worth buying, worth listening to and worth dancing to it.
Willie Rosario AKA Mr. Swing, Mr. Afinque, El Rey Del Ritmo has recorded a landmark album in celebration of his 40th anniversary as a musical director, band leader, arranger and drummer. Over the years, he has earned the respect and admiration of everyone in the (Latin) melody business, despite the fact that he has never taken a solo!But that is another story....A protege of the late @#$% Rodriguez, Willie Rosario has been leading his orchestra since 1958. His band has been "escuela" (like a college) for a lot of up and coming vocalists and musicians. In fact, this is a reunion of sorts, with vocalists such as Tony Vega and Gilberto Santa Rosa appearing with the orchestra (to name a few.) Add to this formula the spectacular Pappo Lucca on keyboards and arrangements by Bobby Valentin (another master in the genre) and you have a winning tting down to basics, this fine recording is for dancers and swings from beginning to end. In my opinion, this recording is highly underrated. More over, it was certainly worthy of a Grammy nomination in the Latin melody category (1999.) Unfortunately, it was never even considered. Go figure!In conclusion, I dare you to listen to this recording and not obtain up and dance! This recording is amazing for a party. Enjoy!
**Entertaining** A man goes back in time to save his mother - or something like that anyway - I was too entertained to fully grasp what was going on. Seriously, this movie moves so quick that you will search yourself having to test your hardest to hold up with it. Great movie. Amazing soundtrack. Amazing performances. A shame that the sequels did not live up to this one. - Ian Beale
"N2DEEP" & there 1992 album "BACK TO THE HOTEL" is a classic old-school hip-hop gem from the most evolutionary era in rap music,the early 90's. I loved this album back then & i love it even more today almost 14 years later. So if you truly love hip-hop then this is a must!
Pop Escovedo has place together an amazing line up of old school songs and amazing artists like my mate Sy Smith doing a masterful job on Al Green's Let's Stay Together. The album is smooth with that Latin flavor over attractive R&B tunes. Unbelievable to ride to or whatever you wish to do.
It's not all Jimmy. Bertie Higgins was a unique entity in that southernmost point known as Key West. Love the one you're with as you cruise through all the fantasies he builds with his music. Guarantee no disappointments especially in Casablanca, where a kiss becomes more than just a kiss!Hear the Calliope: A sentimental journey on the Earth RideLegacy: Allow the android games start (Volume 2) Reason Void of Reason: Spirituality Honeymoon Style (Volume 3) BREATHE: Noumenon (Volume 4)
While this book focuses more on humans than bonobos, it presents a deep understanding of the politics of the Congo region that is helpful in understanding how to partner effectively with Africans to answer to the urgent need for conservation - of species and habitats.
This book appears to be the same as "Of Bonobos and Men" by the same author. Either way, a amazing read and unbelievable documentation of why and how development and conservation must be done with inclusion of the affected people in to have long term success. Having travelled and worked in the DRC, I can say this was portrayed realistically and with understanding of the complex problems of the area. I am newly inspired to hold working on my own projects there as well as share them with organizations like BCI, the topic of this book.
I have been watching the evolving and the tragic story of the bonobos for years. This is not only the best book on the subject, but also a fascinating journey through the "small history" of one project into the "Big History" of humanity as a whole. The blend of private biographies, conservation politics, local lore, and evolutionary recaps is most is story is hugely necessary for us symbolically. I have long held a view that were it not for the bonobo genes in us which obtain expressed occasionally when times or environments are "good" for the human ape, we would have long ago exterminated e whole bonobo saga right now does not imbue me with any sense of hope (I have just come back from China and I can tell you, the majority of mankind does not give a hoot (I hope Jane Goodall will forgives) about endangered tigers or hippos or bonobos.But books like Empty Hands let us to keep a mirror to ourselves, just like Rachael Carson's The Silent Spring did for me, inspiring years of conservation t much has changed on the ground since the 60's, except maybe for the worse, what with the population growth and the general consumer frenzy that is also built into the genes of the short-sighted, ecocidal, pleasure seeking, twittering human ever, I was absolutely awed by the courage, dedication, humility and selflessness of the BCI staff and their local collaborators, and unpaid. I worked in Lebanon and the Caucasus for the NGOs but Congo seemed really daunting to me. I also appreciate the dedication, the courage and the objectivity of Deni Béchard, the author of this book.I hope this book will be taken seriously by the different conservation groups and the NGOs around the world, as it espouses the only effective "participatory" model of conservation, not the glory, kudos, and grant-seeking path pursued by a lot of huge groups and foundations.Unfortunately, the only radical "solution" to the issue of ecocide practised by humanity on ever-larger scale I see (I have written a "science truth" novel Project Nirvana along these lines), is reducing human population by at least ½ (that will give a breathing zone of maybe 25-50 years) and then working towards creating a bonobo/photosynthetic hybrid. Of course, I show this "solution" with a bit of wry smile :), as a literary t to work, folks! Time HAS run out...
“Empty Hands, Begin Arms” is a highly engaging read. Bechard smoothly moves from page-turning anecdotes to well researched narrative in a method that keeps the reader intrigued and immersed in the subject. This is the kind of book that anyone will search appealing because it covers a surprisingly wide-range of problems but never strays too far from intimate, human stories. From colonial history to human and ape evolution, this is one of those books that will change how one sees the globe and our relationship with our closest primate was fascinatingly to learn how various bonobo societies are from chimps and other amazing apes. Learning that bonobos have a matriarchal social structure and live together in relative harmony is beautiful intriguing and somewhat provocative. Also, it was fascinating to learn more about the Congo rainforest – the earth’s “second lung” – and its crucial importance to global warming is book helped me better understand international conservation issues. I am familiar with the intricacies of my local environmental problems but, like many, know of only a few massive, international conservation organizations (NGO’s). ‘Empty Hands, Opens Arms’ will support anyone who cares about conservation to obtain familiar with the necessary and special role little NGO’s play in the international arena. For example, I was surprised to learn how and why some indigenous people may see huge conservation groups as imperialists and more destructive to their method of life than industrial corporations. This was eye opening to say the more thing I loved about this book is the method Bechard brought to the fore the compelling human stories of those working to save bonobos and those living in closest proximity to them. In short, I found this book to be worthy of the accolades it has earned.
This book appears to be the same as "Empty Hands, Begin Arms" by the same author. Either way, a amazing read and unbelievable documentation of why and how development and conservation must be done with inclusion of the affected people in to have long term success. Having travelled and worked in the DRC, I can say this was portrayed realistically and with understanding of the complex problems of the area. I am newly inspired to hold working on my own projects there as well as share them with organizations like BCI, the topic of this book.
Brilliant writing, taking the reader on an intricate journey through the lives of the expats fighting to save the Bonobos and the locals engaged in conservation efforts to salvage their own natural resources and by consequence asis their own people. The surprise for me were the a lot of layered aspects of the author's presentation, as we see the political evolution and turmoil in this region in Africa and the result on the lives of all involved. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in this part of the globe and this awesome species of ape.
This was a fascinating acc of the skirmishes and hardships encountered in the removal by the British of the Moslem slave traders from the Congo in 1892-1895 since the British had oulawed slavery in 1808. This was an eyewitness acc into the alliances that the native tribes had formed for the purpose of assisting the Moslems in the slave trade. It was interesting to me slaves were offered to the British as bonuses along the method and they were treated very well and became part of the Army. The book an awesome description of the tribes they found . . . an "all white" tribe, pygmies and cannibals who helped them but preferred eating their own. The description of the jungle and the herds of animals was worth the read alone.
In 2006 at 22 years of age, having just graduated from Yale in mathematics and being offered a lucrative career in a financial institution, Anjan Sundaram becomes of aware of the amazing carnage of the battle in Democratic Republic of the Congo (often referred to as Congo) and being young idealistic and unaware of his own mortality decided to embark on a career as a journalist and room with the brother of a woman who worked at his bank. Sundaram bought a one method ticket to Congo without having secured a position for a news ringer starts with Anjan chasing a boy through the roads who has stolen his phone. He is unable to recover it and things go from poor to worse. The memoir becomes The Perils Of Anjan in the Congo. I wanted to encourage him to go home and assure him that his parents would welcome him and a life in a financial institution couldn't be all bad. He did however stick it out and he did start to search success as a journalist even though he continued to search himself in risky situations he didn't back away.I did search his description of life, politics and globe dynamics interesting and enlightening:"We currently live in what some say is the Fourth Amazing Pillage--others call it the Fifth or Sixth. The globe now needs cell phones, and Congo includes 60 percent of known reserves of an essential metal called tantalum. It is the curse: each progress in the globe produces some fresh suffering."I encouraged anyone interested in the Congo to read this and if you are interested in learning more about this book and author has a website in which you can access other articles written by him and videos in which he appears.[...]
Even though this is a fairly short book I had problem getting into it. It was reviewed positively on NPR and recommended by Fareed Zakaria; you can't obtain much higher in my view. Sundaram does a amazing job of conveying the tedium of reporting in Congo, until it becomes terror. So the tedium of the first part of the book was frustrating, but was compensated for by a amazing second part. Sundaram is to be congratulated for staying with his original pursuit.
I like reading, and was browsing when I found this book. What drew me to it was prior reading of "King Leopold's Ghost", after my High School aged son told me about the atrocities he studied in a follow-up to KLG, for me, this book was HIGHLY informative, filled in large blocks of curiosity, and opened up fresh avenues for me to think about. The author does an perfect job of keeping the reader interested, even though there is a lot of 'stuff' being thrown at you, in the method of names, locations and points in time. Some of the names which are in various languages can obtain a small confusing but the book flows well, and one should not obtain too mired down because of his writing style. Mr. Reybrouck should be commended for the amount of research and notation place into the book.Of particular interest was the coverage given in the book to the topic of China's development and inroads being created in Africa. I wont say too much so as not to spoil the story, but that part of it was very interesting, and I would like to know more, and once reading it you will too.I would dare to wager that there is something in the book for everybody, as the subject is a land where a lot of things have happened, and are event now, almost hidden from view.I particularly enjoyed reading on my Kindle because of the ability to hover over words to obtain the definition, and origin.
This book attempts a seemingly insurmountable task: it chronicles the history of the state now called the DRC, starting around first contact with Europeans and ending in the near-present. Author David Van Reybrouck deserves admiration for even attempting it. The DRC has legions of ethnic groups, languages, tribes, religious sects, and political groups, not to mention an overall deficit of written historical is is a hefty tome. The book gets especially interesting around when Congo declares its independence from Belgium. Overall, Reybrouck has done an perfect job. My largest complaint is how frequently he interrupts the historical narrative with his own private anecdotes about his experiences in the Congo, or with interviews with very, very old Congolese citizens who were eyewitnesses to major historical events. Taken on their own, these passages are very interesting, but they absolutely destroy the pace of the book.
I bought this book for my fresh kindle after hearing Anjan Sundarum on the Jon Stewart show. So glad I did. A few years ago Sundarum, a math student at Yale, of Indian descent and born in Dubai, decided to change his path and immerse himself in the Congo, aka the Belgian Congo under King Leopold and Zaire in the reign of Mobutu, who had assassinated, with CIA approval, Patrice Lumumba, the country's best hope for a true democracy. This is the Congo backstory that Sundarum uses as his ndarum chose a living arrangement with a family in one of Kinshasa's slums (he had no for a amazing hotel room, nor did he wish one), slowly developed his contacts, and became a stringer for the Associated Press, traveling to locations in the lawless gold and diamond-rich country where necessary journalists never ventured.What he produced in "Stringer" is far more than a tale of a young man's adventure. It is an illuminating acc of how, and why, one African country blessed with amazing natural riches has continually failed to lift its people out of poverty. The causes are complex. Occasionally I found Sundarum's reasoning a bit too pat. But he succeeds brilliantly in explaining the Congo like no other writer I've read.
This honest and disturbing acc of a young man's determination to place himself where things were happening, i.e., in the situation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where greatest danger lay, to establish his career as a journalist. It info the unfortunate effect of the Congolese determination to push back versus outsiders who would exploit the region's rich resources and simple path to leadership for those who promise to do that and quickly enrich the country's not good -- who, when elected, are quickly corrupted by the absolute power and wealth available to those who collaborate with the exploiters.
I was astonished at the method Orv and Rub were able to take care of 20-40 children, days away from supplies, meet their academic needs, as well as emotional needs. Rub found that her memories of her mother's meals, cooking from scratch, were helpful. And Orv had a lot of an ingenious way of keeping the school supplied with protein, thanks to his growing up on a farm. Inspiring!
I gave this book four stars. The author provides an historical acc of the people of the Congo; initially exploited by the Portuguese, Arabs, and Afro-Arabs for slave trade and ivory. During the slave trade, four million Congolese were shipped to the Americas.Ultimately, the Belgium’s King Leopold II discovered the Congo, a land so vast its eastern border would sit at Moscow and its western border would be at Paris: 905,000 square miles.Leopold had treaties drawn up and written in English and French, which the chieftains did not understand. Naïvely, they gave up their land, their rights to fishing, trade, raw materials and their freedom. They signed with an ‘X,’ probably believing they accepted ties of friendship. They did not know the meaning of sovereignty, perpetuity, and exclusivity. For their land, the chieftains received bales of cloth, crates of gin and 1885, Leopold became the sole owner of what he named the “Congo Free State.” Of course, leading up to taking this vast land, he pretended he wanted only trade and would use scientific measures there to research the bber proved a goldmine when discovered. The Congolese were ordered to drain rubber trees. They had to provide a certain quota, and if the quota was unmet, they were beaten or limbs hacked off. By 1896, the Congo produced 1,450 dozens of rubber. Leopold amassed a fortune. Over 15 million people died during Leopold’s reign of terror and opposition and criticism from their countrymen abounded concerning Leopold’s brutal behavior in the Congo. The Belgian Parliament forced Leopold to relinquish the Congo Free State to Belgium in 1908. Parliament transformed Congo Free State into a Belgian colony known as the Belgian Congo. Leopold’s reign of cruelty, terror, and bloodsucking greed ended in November t the Congolese were not freed. Belgians restricted their freedom and movement in a malicious, authoritarian way. They colonized the people with brutal force, maimed and flogged kids and adults almost to the point of ngolese, known as an évolué, had “evolved” through education or assimilation, accepting European values and patterns of behavior. They usually held white collar jobs, no higher than clerks and lived in urban areas. Patrice Lumumba and Joseph Mobutu were considered évolués. But Lumumba was a nationalist and believed in ter an uprising by the Congolese people, their independence was granted around April June 1, 1960, independence was gained, and the country renamed Republic of the Congo. Patrice Lumumba became Prime Minister and Joseph Kasavubu, though Congo became independent and known as Republic of Congo, the Belgians controlled the economy and upheld the military e military’s foot soldiers mutinied one month later, understandably disgruntled over discrimination, no equitable income, barracks without furnishings or electricity, forbiddance to read newspapers such as Emancipation, compared to Belgian commissioned officers who had a very high standard of e soldiers could not be placated although Lumumba dismissed Belgian General Janssens and appointed a Congolese, Victor Lundula, as chief commander, with Lumumba’s confidant, Joseph-Desiré Mobutu, as his Chief of cording to the author, in hindsight, Lumumba refused to believe suspicions that Mobutu spied on him for the Belgians and American ousands of Belgians returned to Belgium. This affected the country’s economy. The Belgians took the and possessions they had sacked for decades, and their European know-how with them. Tens of thousands of Congolese became unemployed. Factories, refineries and breweries were closed, farming land was not plowed or st Congolese évolués had degrees in psychology, education or philosophy. Belgian colonial rule forbade Congolese, young men to study law. In addition, they did not have degrees in engineering or business ere appeared to be bitter dissension and rivalry between Lumumba and Kasavubu. As president, Kasavubu fired Lumumba, and Lumumba in turn fired mumba was murdered seven months later, In January 1961. According to the author, Mobutu, Tshombe, and the Belgians played a role in his death.Tshombe became Prime Minister from 1964 to 1965. Kasavubu remained President until 1965. He retired when Mobutu became om 1965 to May 1997, Mobutu was President and dictator of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which he renamed Zaire. And like the Belgians, Mobutu was a fierce, malevolent, cruel dictator. He decimated all rivals. Instituting no democracy, no will of the people, no speech, but tyrannical rule. He gave so-called mates bonuses of vehicles and cigar boxes filled with butu stole from the coffers of his country, buying up villas in Europe and having an entire city built in the interior of the Congo. His wife owned an enormous amount of jewels and couturier wear. In other words, Mobutu treated his people like the colonists had. He too lived in on a grand scale. He died September ere were four players in the Congo, Lumumba, Kasavubu Mobutu and Moise Tshombe, without a communal sense of brotherhood.If they loved one another, their people, and country, were united, and had not pulled each other down like crabs in a barrel, they could have made an awesome country, sans deceit and murder.I believe the four players were not ready to take over the Congo. Education and training should have been instituted. The colonists held the people in servile positions; they knew nothing about running a country within two months of their independence. They were set up to fail. Hence the tumultuous infighting and , there is still greed, infighting, death of human life and wild life, displaced families, and hunger. The mean age of living is about 56 a country rich with raw materials and natural resources such as timber, gold, diamonds, copper, rubber, coltan, which is used in cell phones, tantalum, which is also used in cell phones, DVD players, video android game systems and computers, and niobium, which is used in jet engines, there should be no hunger or health problems. Yet, there is still greed and an uncaring attitude by those in power.I believe the author had his own reasons for writing such a heavy history and study of the Congo. The Congo appears to be vulnerable to those in power. I question if he wrote from those who knew the four players personally and provided unbiased e author provided testimonies by those who live or lived in the Congo, one from Mr. Nkasi, who was over 100 years old. Some of the accounts from people revealed the horrid brutality imposed upon them by the colonists. Once the Belgians were gone they talked of the vicious treatment perpetrated by their own
The amazing photography aside, the book presentation is innovative but very ginger. I'm afraid of cracking the spine on this attractive work of art every time I wish to read it. The whole pack is held together with a heavy-duty rubber band (cool concept) and the book itself is just bound pages. It is a keepsake that I will treasure but can't return to too a lot of times for fear of breaking e photography is not VII's best showing. A lot of of the photos are quiet and misreable in tone. The photographers move through brothels and hospitals, measuring the poor toll of the senseless and endless battle in the Congo. As far as a full panorama of the conflict goes, this misses the target. Still, if you are a fan of reportage then this book is a must.
I have had a fascination with the Congo since I first visited it in the 1960s. I was there roughly the same time as when Belgium missionaries were killed and ritually cannibalized. Over a period of a couple of years I observed conditions that are unchanged today according to this book. For example, on the airport terminal stairwell ascending to the second floor restaurant was a bathroom. When I first saw it the stairwell was pockmarked with bullet holes and blood spatters and the bathroom toilets were non operational and overflowing; two years later nothing had changed but the toilets were in everyday use. I required a Congolese drivers license which necessitated a trip to the outskirts of Leopoldville (now Kinshasa); the troops camp where I got the license was patrolled by kid soldiers carrying rifles. The tragedy is that nothing has changed in 50 years; in fact they may have worsened. Yet this country and it people fascinate me and it tugs at my heart strings. A sad, memorable and extremely well written book about a people that the globe has written off. A amazing read.
I was drawn to reading this book because I was specifically looking for a memoir by a person of color from the West (not of African decent) writing about Africa. This came recommended after Anjan's appearances on TV. While he is not a US citizen, He does lend the perspective of being privileged (educated and having the means to come to the Congo) in this zone of the world. I was hoping there would be more detail about how he had to negotiate or learned more about his own marginalized identity in his travels, and there are moments where he meets other Indians living in the Congo and talks about that. And (spoiler) how difficult it was to search an embassy to take him in at the end. I feel that it very much is more journalistic than a memoir as I am really left to react emotionally to what he is experiencing. He has some interesting detail at the top about what he left behind to go to the Congo, but I feel he has missed an opportunity during the more stressful opportunities of the action, to not address regretting having gone there and leaving his old life behind. I appreciate that he talks about how small this region is reported on and paints a picture of exactly what a journalist must endure to work out there. I just want I had more emotional detail of what he was experiencing. I am giving 4 stars because I think he is an ambitious person to have done this.
David Van Reybrouck Congo: The Epic History of a People is an intimidating book both in terms of size and topic matter. I mean when someone says they are going to tell you the epic history of a people they have already set a daunting standard, but Van ReyBouck found a method to do it. All of the huge happenings are here: slave trade, colonization, independence struggle, Mobutu, the civil battle that has ravaged the country wasn’t an simple book to obtain into at first because I kept having difficulty with picking up whether he was talking to a person in the show or going back through history, but that could just be my idiosyncrasy and when we were talking about the present, it was like being jolted awake because the historical narrative had gone on so long. But when it all comes together, it’s a beautifully woven blend of history and the show and how that history shaped the ngo: The Epic History of a People is one of those books that lingers with the reader having a certain dream or memory like quality to it where you know that you have been touched by an experience, which is a rare and unbelievable gift.
I found the first part of this book by far the most interesting. Telling of the Congo and its earliest history then moving on to Leopold and the Belgians was by far the best part of this book. Once the author began the sad story of to the Belgians rather precipitous leaving of their colony, the book seemed to lose its continuity as the author more and more tells stories of the individual Congolese and their experiences in this collapsing ex-colony stranded in the middle of Africa without any of the former white Belgians civil service to support oversee the transfer of power. Without Africans trained to manage this large country with small to keep it together and tribalism pulling it apart, Congo (Zaire) rapidly suffers one dubious dictator after another. From Lubumba to Mobutu and on to others any hope of stability is lost. But here is where the author also loses his way. He spends far too much time telling of his private contacts and anecdotes with the native Congolese which create this less and less a history of the Congo and more his experiences with its people. He does create it abundantly clear the love these people have for music, dancing and the native drumbeat, but this, interesting as it is, tells the reader small of what went on in the collapsed group of disparate tribes during the end of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st. One thing comes across, the constant battles in the east involving Rwanda, Tutsi and Hutus tribes and myriad factions of Congo all seeming to be at constant war. This at times appears to consider the Congolese as his neighbor back home in Belgium; one knows this is absolutely not the case. As history the book cannot be recommended.
An interesting memoir of Sundaram's experience in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Having completed school as a brilliant mathmetician, Sundaram gives this up and moves to the DRC to be a journalist. With no training and limited finances, he works his method through DRC hoping to search success as a journalist. Interesting, well-written memoir which provides an examination of DRC much various than the experiences I am having.
Most authentic Congo memoir I've read. Although the author is well educated, he doesn't write condescendingly. I doubt he is really short on funds, though he lives like it. Interesting to hear tidbits about the immigrant populations/minority groups in the Congo - other that those from neighboring countries. I especially enjoyed this book because the author did not stop the story every few pages to copy/paste a list of facts, figures, and dates that sound like a reference book, but rather he cleverly worked them into the well-written chapters that don't read like journal entries. Thank you Anjan! I look forward to reading your next book.
DAVID VAN REYBROUCK. CONGO: THE EPIC HISTORY OF A PEOPLE.NY: HarperCollins, 2014.David van Reybrouck has made an perfect history of Congo that is intimate, thorough, and accurate.I. INTIMATE HISTORY The a lot of Congolese, whose words from interviews (mostly from 2008) are introduced in the appropriate historical happenings he is relating, give a amazing intimacy to the book. The author quite correctly calls this “bottom-up” ere are fascinating bits of info one doesn’t usually search in general histories of Congo, such as a description of the travels to Europe and back of Butungu, recorded in Boloki, his own language—the only known text by a Congolese from the nineteenth e stories of the Congolese who accompanied the foreigners who dominate the pages of colonial histories give fresh insights into those happenings. For instance, Disasi Makulo was with George Grenfell when he set off with 400 soldiers of the colonial troops to “chart and pacify the region.” (76) Martin Kabuya told about his grandfather who served in Globe Battle I, in a Belgian-led troops fighting Germans in what is today Tanganyika. Albert Kudjabo, prisoner of the Germans during WW I, gave recordings that are of the only soldier from WW I whose voice we know is Congolese.Even happenings known only from written documents are given an intimate twist. For example, concerning the creation of what became Congo: “No one knew exactly where the borders of Leopold’s empire ere was no natural entity, no historical inevitability, no metaphysical fate that predestined the inhabitants of this zone to become compatriots. There were only two white men, one with a mustache [Stanley], the other with a beard [Leopold], meeting on a summer afternoon somewhere along the North Sea coast to connect in red pencil a few lines on a huge piece of paper.” (38-39)The author integrates visits to Congolese websites and interviews with Congolese with historical facts. For instance, on the section on Kimbanguism, he went himself to Nkamba, headquarters of the movement, and interviewed people there. And as usual, the author has a nuanced and insightful understanding of the growth of this metimes he wanders a bit far from strict history telling, as when he describes in long detail his visit to a famous melody concert in Kinshasa.He describes incredibly fascinating bits of intimate detail, such as that of Mobutu and Lumumba riding about Leopoldville on a motor scooter on Jan. 4, 1959, on their method to check out the ABAKO meeting that the Belgian mayor had cancelled with such grave n Reybrouck personalizes history: “My father was looking out the window. He saw a white Volkswagen Bug coming up the road…Suddenly, a volley of shots rang out…the Volkswagen careened to a e two women—…Madeline and her mate Aline—did not obtain out. Across the fronts of their floral dresses, large red spots were spreading…The Indian blue helmets had apparently taken them for white mercenaries…My father had been an eyewitness to the most popular photograph of the Katangan secession.” (317)With amazing fortitude, he enters the horrendous and frightening Makala prison to interview a man associated with the murder of the former president Laurent Kabila.II. THOROUGH HISTORYSecondly, this is a thorough history. And as Van Reybrouck comes closer to the present, he becomes more detailed. After an introduction to the country and his methods of 16 pages, the prehistorical section is only 12 pages, the early explorations and the Congo Free State 72, the Belgian Congo 166, the First Republic 54, the Mobutu era 114, and Congo since then 162, Then there are notes of the sources, endnotes, an index, and a large bibliography of 22 pages little print, all adding up to a heavy 639 pages. There are nine clear and easy maps. He covers all aspects of the past—economic, political, religious, artistic, sociological, etc. There is even a section on pop music, and its relation to power e description and analysis of the Belgian Congo period, for example, is excellent. He presents the impact of Belgian concepts of “tribe” on the implementation of the control of the colonized population. The impact of ethnographers and medical personnel is explained. After detailed descriptions, the economic aspects are succinctly summarized: “There is no other country in the globe as fortunate as Congo in terms of its natural wealth. During the latest century and a half, whenever acute demand has arisen on the international shop for a given raw material—ivory in the Victorian era; rubber after the invention of the inflatable tire; copper during full-out industrial and military expansion; uranium during the Cold War; alternative electrical energy during the oil crisis of the 1970s; coltan in the age of portable telephonics—Congo has turned out to include large supplies of the coveted commodity… As a rule, not a drop of fabulous profits trickled down to the larger part of the population…Nkasi, who once worked by the sweat of his brow to empty sacs of jewel-laden earth, profited very small indeed from the entire diamond business. Today he is not good as a pauper.” (119-120).The list of people in the acknowledgment section covers many, a lot of of the most illustrious names in the study of Congo, and in the sources and references (bibliography) sections one sees just about every possible credible book on Congo of use to his history of the nation from A to Z.And in presenting a description of sources in the “sources” section, he demonstrates a fine ability to distinguish the strengths and weaknesses of sources concerning the same subject. For instance, of the a lot of books on the subject, he states “No one out to create a serious study of the [Mobutu] era should omit the bulky study by Crawford Young and Thomas Turner, The Rise and Decline of the Zairean [Zairian] State.” (p. 575)III. ACCURATE HISTORYThirdly, this is accurate history. The author pointed out the key reality of the Belgian Congo: that in spite of some reforms of the CFS regime, “Belgium was not answerable to the people of the country. The government was not elected by them, nor did it consult them in any way.” (106) There is a thorough presentation of both the poor and the better parts of life in the Belgian Congo, the Belgian colony. .Of the leaders at the time of independence, Kasavubu, Lumumba, Tshombe, and Mobutu: “none of these men had ever lived under a democracy in their own country…The colonial regime itself was an executive administration.”(283) The following pages read like a murder mystery, as one by one these men are killed or dying, leaving only Mobutu. There is a delicate fine-tuning of how things were going in Congo, contrasting for instance the first decade of Mobutu’s presidency to later years. We lived through those years 1964-1993, and Van Reybrouck’s assessment is right on. It is not only accurate about events, but he captures the atmosphere of the period, and its evolution, with all the ncerning the devastating impact of structural adjustment programs of the IMF, “The IMF was out to reorganize the country, but in fact dismantled it.” (379) The excessive spending on himself by Mobutu is detailed. “Mobutu was a political schemer par excellence….He could be charming, friendly, and funny, but also manipulative, treacherous, and vicious.” (384)Van Reybrouck has a amazing handle on the broad picture and its essential ingredients. For example, of the 2nd Congo Battle starting in 1998: “the conflict was characterized by the aftershocks of the Rwandan genocide, the weakness of the Congolese state, the military vitality of the fresh Rwanda, the overpopulation of the zone around the Amazing Lakes, the permeability of the former colonial borders, the growth of ethnic tension due to poverty, the presence of natural riches, the militarization of the informal economy, the globe demand for mineral raw materials, the local availability of arms, the impotence of the United Nations, and so on…” (442)There is a fascinating portrait of Kinshasa up until 2010 in the latter sections of the r example, on buying off police: “Call it extortion or a form of ultradirect taxation, as long as the government doesn’t the policeman’s wages it won’t stop…A police uniform…guarantees its wearer a regular income, not from on high, but from the bottom up.” (487)There are all sorts of interesting insights, such as the rivalries between the different musical groups, and their supportive relation with the beer companies, and to the strong politicians, including Mobutu and Kabila. And too, there are insights on the a lot of churches, including those started or influenced by American evangelists, including Jimmy Swaggart. “At l’Armée de l’Eternel, young women ten, twenty or fifty dollars to have the preacher, Général Sony Katua ‘Rockman,’ perform the laying on of hands and so support them to search a husband, become pregnant, or obtain a visa for Europe. Wasn’t that brazen money-grubbing at the expense of desperate people?” (492) The leader of one Pentecostal church urged his members: “Let everyone who loves Jesus and Kabila stand up and clap…The Catholic Church watched it all from a distance and shook its head.” (496) “The ‘post-colonial trinity’ consisted of a corrupt political caste that entered an alliance with newfangled religions and pop stars raised on high by the business world.” (494)He described how Kabila, since 2006 election has followed the path of Mobutu, using violence and repression. In the final sections, Van Reybrouck visited the battle location of eastern Congo, and the Congo community in China, where a constant going and coming of merchants takes place. He compares the Lower Congo of yesterday with its current influx of Chinese and their e tremendous amount of Chinese involvement in Congo is detailed. And the final chapter actually takes put in China, in the city of Guangzhou. There the large Congolese population, estimated at two or three thousand, is involved mainly in trade with Congo in ways picturesquely outlined by the author.Unchauvinistic authorIn all this, Van Reybrouck is an unchauvinistic Belgian. For instance, “Leopold had sworn to place an end to the Swahilo-Arab slave trade, but in essence there was no difference between the life of a Central African domestic slave on the Arab peninsula and a boy in the household of a European official in Congo.” (62) After heart-wrenching descriptions of the atrocities of the Congo Free State, the author states “Leopold II had, at least nominally, set out to eradicate Afro-Arabic slave trading, but had replaced it with an even more horrendous system.” (94)The not good work conditions in the mines and in the fields of Congo in the earlier colonial period are described (as well as better conditions later). On the disorder right after independence: “Belgium had granted Congo independence in to avoid a colonial war, but it got one anyway. And it was its own stupid fault.” (296)The writing of this bookVan Reybrouck’s father arrived in Congo the first time in 1961, to work on the railroad in Katanga (Likasi). The author’s first trip to Congo was in 2003. He eventually took ten trips to Congo. He finished writing and had the book published in the original Flemish in 2010, so unfortunately does not cover the 2011 elections and happenings since then. The perfect English translation (by Sam Garrett) was published in all ErrorsNo book can avoid an occasional slip-up, but in these 639 pages errors of either content or typos are almost impossible to find. He does use some passé vocabulary: native, Pygmy, tribe, and jungle. That may be the fault of his translator, though not necessarily is is the first time to hear Mt. Ruwenzori called Mt. Stanley (12). A vestige of the Belgian educational system?It is doubtful that manioc was “more nutritious” than plantain or yams. (23)The Lualaba is not “unnavigable” except in certain parts (34)The Belgian Congo shared no border with Cameroon. That was Congo (RC). (130)The Kwilu revolt lasted until 1965, not 1964 (321).The analysis of Tutsi/Hutu sociology is a bit old school (p. 350 ff), and could be refined by the studies of Vansina and Newbury among others.I think the Air Zaïre joke on p. 390 was a play on the word “vole” as steal and ing the initial rather than the full first name of the author in the bibliography led to some possible mistaken identities. For example, I doubt that Janssens, E 1905 and 1979 are the same. (606) He confounds Stengers and Stearns (613)Minor typos/errors (page/paragraph)Bandundu (14/2)Ndombe (155/1)century (308/1) nzadi (332/1)Resume should be recourse (351/5)Tshisekedi was (434/2)Lyrical, dramatic, colourful historyVan Reybrouck is gifted with descriptive charm in the recounting of his adventures: “The jeep rattles its method through the demilitarized zone…We see more people out on the road. Women carrying yellow water tubs on their back, men leading reddish-brown cattle, boys with wooden bicycles loaded with sugarcane, bananas, or charcoal…” (518)He waxes lyrical at the end, summarizing centuries of Congolese culture and history: “It is no longer the sound of the slit drum that spread the news from village to village, no longer the dull thump of the tom-tom, no longer the crack of the whip, not the pealing of the mission bells, not the thunder of the train or the rattling of the drill in the mineshaft, no, it is no longer the ticking of the telegraph, the crackle of the radio or the cheering of the people that sounds the nation’s heartbeat today. It is not in the stamping of manioc in the mortar, not in the slap of water versus the canoe’s hull. The heart of this country is not in the rattle of weapons in the jungle, not in the table pounding versus the wall while a woman screams that she never wanted this, e fresh Congo reverberates to a various tone, the fresh Congo sings in the arrival hall of an airport thrumming with noise. It is the sound of tape, brown rolls of tape around packages and boxes, tape that screams as it is unrolled and grunts as it is torn….” (554)ConclusionAs Van Reybrouck returns at the end to Congo from China, he underlines the importance of Congo in globe history: “In the early twentieth century the rubber policies gave rise to one of history’s first major humanitarian campaigns. During both globe battles Congolese soldiers contributed to crucial victories on the African continent. In the 1960s it was in Congo that the Cold Battle in Africa began, and that the first large-scale UN operation was held…Congolese history has helped to determine and form the history of the world. The battles of 1998 and 2003 prompted the largest and most costly peacekeeping mission ever, as well as the first joint military effort by the European Union…the 2006 elections were the most complex ever organized by the international community. The International Criminal Court is currently establishing invaluable jurisprudence with the prosecution of its first defendants—three men from Congo. Clearly, the history of Congo has on any number of occasions played a crucially necessary role in the tentative definition of an international globe order. The contract with China, accordingly, is a major milestone in a restless globe in motion.” (555-6)Thus David Van Reybrouck ends a book on Congo’s history with flourish, a history that is intimate, thorough, and accurate.
Congo is an "up close and personal" kind of history book weaving anecdotes about people interviewed by the author into the timeline of Belgium's former colony that was truly illuminating, though a bit uneven, which may be due to limits on his source material. Reading the book for research, I was most interested in the Katangan Secession, but found treatment of that period beautiful thin. Van Reybrouck's private connection to the country comes through in the writing (his father worked on the railroads there) and I have to thank him for discovering the title of my next novel in his book.
This is truly people’s history. Not in the sense of Howard Zinn’s tradition per se, though Van Renrouck calls oppression when he sees it (and there is a lot of it in Congo, historically and today). But with his private accounts of life in Congo, along with his interviews and the wealth of other historical info he cites, you gain a truly coherent and three dimensional portrait of one of the most ravaged countries on earth, one that is blunt in the facts and prospectives of Congo, that functions for the benefit of no particular entity besides the historical truth. I’ve read a lot of nonfiction, including books on battles and what have you, and this is the only one that’s created me cry, when the author recounts a Congolese man telling him of an operation where he’d drive people’s kidnapped opponents to a secluded zone to be murdered. All for a price. But there’s also glimmers of hope; of some of the ephemeral amazing times of the past (the 1920s were relatively amazing to the Congolese if I recall), as well as the opportunities of today (he makes a convincing case that Chinese state industries are some of the few if only actors bringing some economic “development” to Congo, and devotes a chapter to the Congo expatriate community in China, populated by successful merchants.) The globe isn’t black and white, though there is enormous darkness, and this book will create you rethink a lot of things if you live in a first globe country.
Congo: The Epic History of a People was a comprehensive and insightful acc into the desperate history of a people preyed upon by a European colonizer, by massively corrupt political leaders, and ultimately by ongoing Hutu-Tutsi slaughter imported from Rwanda, which the national government has been too weak to stop. Van Reybrouck injects Congo's history into global events--the scramble for Africa, Cold Battle pawn, victim of economic globalization, and website of one of the earliest human rights' scandals: the cutting off of hands of those who did not meet rubber collection quotas. The volume records the ongoing exploitation of the Congo for its natural resources and explains how often well-intentioned international groups worsened the travails of the Congolese by policies that ignored conditions on the ground . Van Reybrouck theorizes that the tragedy of the Congo soared with its premature independence; Congo did not have the infrastructure required for a democratic state. This book reads like a novel and is often piercingly painful as when Van Reybrouck relates the populace's habituation to corruption.
This a a very amazing history of the sad story of the Congo. It is a very bleak picture of a amazing people, with amazing resources, badly used & led. With the diamond, gold & mineral resources of the Congo, it could have been a amazing country. If all could have shared in the resources, an educational base could have been built and a amazing nation created. Unfortunately this was not done and the resources squandered to benefit only a few who exploited the people for their own benefit. What a tragedy but it is still event over & over. The USA cannot be excused from this tragedy since we supported a selfish dictator as part of the cold war. So we used them as well. This author does a amazing job of writing by useing interviews with Congalese who have lived through the nightmare. So this book is written from bottom up rather than top down as most histories are written. These stories create this book a amazing read. RAG
The author hits the ground running and then next thing you know, you've reached the end. It is a collection of unusual and shocking happenstances for the journalist. While the stories aren't really similar in a through and through storyline, they do come together to give a very true (seeming) acc of a "day in the life" in Congo. The fact that the author was always hustling to search and stories back in the West gave the experience a relatable tone. A nice divergence from such day to day accounts from mission trips and NGOs.
Anarchy is not merely the absence of government. It is a method of organizing a group of people and has remarkable stability, particularly if outside powers largely control it, or at least war over it. Think of a group of predators fighting over the kill. The only thing certain is that the slay stays dead. The book is the direct private experiences of Anjan Sundaram, a young man apparently from a privileged and sheltered background who launches his career of would be international reporter by just going to the Congo with very small to help and protect him. His contemplations as well as his day to day experiences seem honest and very well written and hence very compelling.
I'm a large fan and this android game has all the same familiar characters and comedy from the show. Plenty to do and when you run out you can come back later while the android game idles and collects resources for you. Worth mentioning that i had problems loading the android game recently and the devs promptly solved the issue for me. Angry respect 👍.
Alright so I noticed this android game at about 2 in the morning and I've been playing it non-stop since... It's now half 4...the whole time I'm playing this I'm thinking, "As if they actually created a bloody android game on this show." But it kinda works, the android game mechanics are interesting and fun to play, and apparently you can play it for hours?!? The android game references all the items in the present which is really the best part about it. Overall, decent game.
I'm rooting for this game, but right now the design of the main screen is throwing me off. The block the screen, it's really bright and hard on the eyes, and generally it's hard to focus while scrolling. Greasy is beautiful much the excellent android game in my opinion. Lots to take from the look of they main menu