“The title means exactly what the words say: naked lunch, a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork.”

Kerouac on the naming of Burrough’s Naked Lunch



Burroughs, William, Letter to Allen Ginsburg, 1960


Dunlop, John Boyd Wheel-Tire For Cycles

Belfast, Ireland


Dunlop, John Boyd Wheel-Tire For Cycles United States Patent Office, 1890


Rapid Increase in Rubber Demand fuels Amazon and Congo rubber industries




Zephyr, Frank Stanford University and Aldo Musacchio, Ibmec SãoPaulo The International Natural Rubber Market, 1870-1930 Economic History Association, 2010


San Francisco Riders As Disciples Of Progress

San Francisco


Streets Blog


Gertrude "My dear Jess, what on earth is that bicycle suit for?"

Jessie: "Why, to wear, of course."

Getrude: "But you haven't got a bicycle."

Jessie: "No: but I've got a sewing machine."

"The Bicycle Suit", cartoon from Punch, 1895



"The Bicycle Suit", cartoon from Punch, 1895





Woodroffe, Joseph The Rubber Industry Of The Amazon And How It’s Supremacy Can Be Maintained Bale, Sons & Danielson, Ltd, London, 1916 http://archive.org/stream/rubberindustryof00woodrich#page/xlvi/mode/2up


Congo Free State Atrocities




Hochschild, Adam King Leopold’s Ghost: a story of greed, terror, and heroism in Colonial Africa Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1999

The Japanese Invasion of Malaya



WWII History Channel, uploaded 2008

“In the beginning the Indians received payments of food, clothes, sewing machines, firearms, ammunition, and even musical instruments, of which due note was taken, for this needless extravagance was often encouraged in order that their value could run up huge bills, comparatively speaking, to be paid for in rubber by the unfortunate Indians later on. This they were unable to do and were thus reduced to a state of péonage as a result.”p28

“For these and other reasons, generally due to waste and needless expenditure, nearly the whole of the Amazon seringals [wild rubber tapping area] are mortgaged to commercial houses in Manáos, Pará, and the smaller towns, the proprietor relying upon the mortgages for his merchandise and, as a rule, binding them down to deliver to him alone…”p48

“…estimated the annual cost of the War to the six leading nations engaged in it as being about £9,147,000,000, made up of £4,870,900,000 for Great Britain and her Allies, and £4,277,000,000 for Germany and Austria, as follows:-… For these reasons it would, therefore, be as foolish for this country and her Allies, especially France, to let such a chance pass them by as Brazil will offer directly the War is over…” ppxix-xx Woodroffe, Joseph Froude The Upper Reaches of the Amazon Methuen, London, 1914. http://www.archive.org/details/rsupperreachesof00wooduoft (accessed 2010)

Péonage of nations.



Woodroffe, Joseph The Rubber Industry Of The Amazon And How It’s Supremacy Can Be Maintained Bale, Sons & Danielson, Ltd, London, 1916 http://archive.org/stream/rubberindustryof00woodrich#page/xlvi/mode/2up

“Australians love their bit of land, but Census figures reveal we’re less likely to own a home now than we were five years ago while the level of household debt has gone through the roof,” reports Nicki Bourlioufas at news.com.au. The census figures also showed the number of Australians who actually own their homes outright declined from 40% in 2001 to 32.6% today…As a man in a grey suit said on the TV last night, and we’re paraphrasing here, “It’s more accurate to describe Australia as a nation of home buyers than as a nation of home owners.”

Australian’s Live In Debt




Denning, Dan ‘Census Reveals Australians Have Mortgages, Not Homes’ in The Daily Reckoning Australia


New Development Suburban Home of the sort attracting young families with mortgages

Doolandella, Brisbane


Brisbane Times

To my inquiries respecting the amount of caucho worked and ready for shipment his replies were evasive, so I called up the men and questioned them, when, to my surprise, I learned that they had made an agreement whereby they recognized only the Peruvian as their master and creditor, and that, in so far as their indebtedness to me was concerned, I must look to my partner for payment, as they would deliver their caucho to him to cover his disbursements on their account.

The total amount of their indebtedness to me was about nine hundred pounds, in payment of which I took a bill of exchange drawn by their new master (my late partner) against one of the Iquitos houses. This draft when presented by me on my return to Iquitos was protested, so my voyage and the expenses incurred therewith had been in vain, added to which the loss caused by the non-delivery of the caucho I had expected to receive brought my total losses to over 1000.

Becoming thoroughly disgusted, I realized all my effects in Nauta in order to pay out the men who had returned from the River Tigre with credit balances. This done, I told all those who remained in debt that they could look for a new patron to guarantee for them, and that same evening they all had arranged with a very decent young Peruvian named Rengifo to accompany him to work caucho in the higher reaches of the Purus. He came the following day to arrange with me the payment of the debt, and, having checked the statements, he made me the offer of an immediate liquidation in cash if I would agree to allow him a discount of 20 per cent on the total of each account, to which I agreed. The money produced by this arrangement gave me sufficient to pay my own debts and left me sufficient with which to start life again. I then decided to leave the district and try in Manaos.

Finding himself in debt, Woodroffe sells debts



pp111-112 Woodroffe, Joseph F The Upper Reaches Of The Amazon Methuen & Co. Ltd., London, 1914


"All rights of HSBC under your Woolworths Money credit card contract have been assigned to, and will be exercised by, Macquarie (ABN 46 008 583 542; Australian Credit Licence 237502). All money owed under that credit card contract is now payable to Macquarie, not HSBC."

Sale of Credit Card Debt



Compiler's collection

In contrast to the debt-peoned English rubber trader [Woodroffe], the Colombian traveler Joaquin Rocha did dwell on the switch-about in meanings and on the rampant confusion constituting debt-peonage...

"we have spoken here incidentally of the selling of debts of the Indians, and in expressing ourselves thereby we thus respect the propriety of the terms. But in the language of the Caquetá the propriety is not observed. There they talk of the selling of Indians or, if talking of white workers, of the selling of peons, as if they were slaves."

To his perplexity was added horror, he said, when he heard that the manager of the Guepi rubber agency had gone downriver to the Caraparaná to sell his peons, and that a young friend of his, who had gone to Iquitos as an employee of a rubber firm, had been sold by this firm to anothehr. "It was neither the peons nor my friend that were sold, but the value of their debts; it is sad how they thus err in the Caquetá and in this deplorable manner deform good speech."...

It was a diabolically mischievous language, in which signifiers became signifieds. In the debt-peonage system, as befits a system built around the fiction of traders and not commodities, it is the debt and not the commodity that is fetishized-so that in answer to the question, What makes a man a man?, the answer lying closest to hand is his debt. And if one asks, What is a debt? in a situation in which goods called advances or even gifts are forced onto unwilling recipients, the answer is a man, or, failing that, an Indian or a peon. As commodity fetishism was to the discourse of the political economists of Marx’s England and France and to the folklore of capitalism there in the heartlands of empires, so we might say “debt fetishism” was to the discourse of the colonizers and the colonized of the Putamayo rubber boom.

Debt Fetishism



pp69-70 Taussig, Michael Shamanism, Colonialism and the Wild Man: A Study in Terror and Healing University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1987

"Oh well, can’t complain. At least we’re not starving."

Proverb. As heard from the other side of the office partition.




Three Day Blues



Davis, George The Singing Miner: Three Day Blues 1967

16 Tons



Tennessee Ernie Ford 16 Tons 1955


Nkisi Nkondi Fetish

Kongo, around Mayombe, Bas-Congo, DR Congo


via Royal Museum For Central Africa


Nautical chart of Portuguese cartographer Lázaro Luís, 1563 (Academia das Ciências, Lisboa)

Academia das Ciências, Lisboa

West Africa


Lázaro Luís, 1563 (Academia das Ciências, Lisboa)

Queen Nzinga of Angola Matamba Africa Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi before Portuguese Governor

When the Portuguese Governor of Luanda met Queen Nzinga he ensured there was only one chair in the room on which he sat. According to local custom superiors sat on chairs or stools, while inferiors sat on the ground. When Queen Nzinga entered she ordered her slave to kneel and sat on him. She dominated all negotiations thereafter.

Queen Nzinga of Ndongo meets the Governor of Luanda




p437 Cavazzi, Giovanni Antonio Istorica Descrizione de’ Tre Regni Congo, Matamba, et Angola Milan, 1690 via Black History Heros

“Merchandizing (truly considered in it self, and rightly practised) may well be said to be an art or science invented by ingenious mankind, for the public good, commoditie and welfare of all Commonwealths; for thereby some places and kingdomes are supplyed and furnished with those necessary things, wherof Nature her selfe hath proved deficient in, and which in some other places or Kingdomes hath abounded, tending either to the need, ornament, or commodity of humane life, and is performed by exporting the superfluities, that are found in the one, to furnish the defects and wants that are found in the other: and the Arts-men that are seen thus to practise and exercise the same, and which doe thus transport these things from one place to another, are generally known to us and commonly termed by the name of Merchants, and the things themselves wherewith they negociate and traffique are termed merchandizes or commodities.”

Roberts, Lewis The Marchants Map of Commerce



p12 (chap II) Roberts, Lewis The Marchants Map of Commerce (sic) London, 1638 facsimile published by Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, Ltd. 0.2. Voorburgwal 85, Amsterdam, 1974.

While Kylie’s island has a lot of fertile grain growing land and a small sheep population, Jason’s island has little fertile grain-growing land and plenty of sheep… The gains from trade are represented by the increase in consumption of both goods that each obtains.

Economics 101



pp54-55 McTaggart, Douglas et al Economics Addison-Wesley Publishers Ltd, Sydney, 1992


Transatlantic Slave Shipping, 1638 (Total embarked: 9218)



Slave Voyages, The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database Emory University, 2009


Total disembarked slaves by year, 1514 to 1866 (Total embarked: 10,147,907)




Slave Voyages, The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database Emory University, 2009


Nkisi fetishes are used to cause some affect in the world. When a request is made a nail is driven into the fetish. The more nails driven the more powerful the fetish becomes.

Sculpture Vili, Statue protectrice nkisi nkondi


19th century

unknown, Vili, Louvre


African ‘talking drums’ typically have a ‘strong’ and ‘soft’ lip. The rhythmes beaten on these lips correspond to the ‘strong’ and ‘soft’ tones of spoken Bantu languages. Long epithets and elaborate phrases are used when speaking with the drums, the complexity of the rhythms adds ‘information’ in the information theoretical sense, disambiguating the meaning of the ‘symbols’ (the two tones) of this binary signalling system. The epithets and elaborate rephrasing also creates redundancy in the message, reducing noise. For example, if a person has a name of only two syllables, one hard one soft, this would be indistinguishable from any other word with one hard and one soft syllable. Adding an epithet establishes a complex pattern the meaning of which cannot be mistaken for anything else, as well as an extra confirmation that the word is what you thought you heard it to be.

Sculpture yangere, Tambour a fente

Central African Republic or Democratic Republic of Congo

19th century

anon., Yangere, Louvre


“Super Normal is not other than normal, but an attempt to capture Normality’s very essence.”

Supernormal (Sensations of the Ordinary)

Pompidou Centre



Fukasawa, Naoto & Morrison, Jasper Supernormal (Sensations of the Ordinary) 2006-2007, installation at Pompidou Centre in 2014


The artist is capable of giving the lifeless machine-made product a soul. His involvement is not a luxury, but must become an essential part, integral to the system of modern industry.

Gropius on the soul of things




Citation written on wall of Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Koeln, 2014


“In the whole process of manufacturing Cadbury’s Pure Cocoa, the automatic machinery employed obviates the necessity for its being once touched by the human hand.”

Pure mechanical cocoa advertisement with bicycle



O’Connor, T.P. (ed) TP’s Weekly, Vol IV July 1st to Dec 30th, London, 1904

The discovery that a slave traffic was still in full swing between Angola and the “Cocoa Islands” came about in this wise. In the opening years of the present century [1900s] about one-third of the cocoa produced in Sao Thomé found its way to England. The bulk of the crop went to the United States, Germany and France. The cocoa is then, and continues to be, grown upon estates owned by Portuguese planters. The chocolate manufacturers of the world bought the raw material on the open market. They had no more to do with the methods of its production thatn the manufacturers of rubber tyres or toys, who bought Congo rubber on the open market had to do with the system under which rubber was produced in the Congo. In 1901 and 1902 sinister rumours reach Cadbury Brothers in regard to the manner in which labour was procured for these estates, and they took it upon themselves to make inquiries in Lisbon as to the truth of the allegations…

Cadbury Brothers were no more concerned in righting such wrongs as inquiry might prove to exist in the production of raw material they turned into the finished article than were other firms in the same line of business. They rightly felt that collective action by the largets British, Continental and American manufacturers would have more weight than isolated steps of their own. They thereupon approached their colleagues and competitors in the industry, placing the facts as they then appeared before them, detailing what they themselves had already done, and what was proposed. Fry’s of Bristol, Rowntree’s of York, and Stollwercks of Cologne, agreed to participate in a commission of inquiry: the Americans refused…

Although merely purchasers of raw materail on the open market, when they found reason to believe that a protion of that raw material represented the output of forced or slave labour, these firms felt their moral responsibility involved. The firms who did not join them took the view that it was not the business of the manufacturer to worry himself about the origin of the stuff he handled.

Cadbury Act Against Cocoa Sourced Slavery

West Africa


Morel, EdmundThe Black Man’s Burden Metro Books, Inc, Northbrook, 1972 (first published 1920)


Children harvesting cocoa

Ivory Coast


Krawll, Ashleigh Fair Trade Your Easter Fair Trade News, 2011

As it passes from farmer to buyer to wholesalers, exporters, importers and manufacturers, on the journey from cocoa pod to dried bean to chocolate bunny, it becomes more and more likely that the source of the bean will be lost.

Unable To Trace Chocolate Sources



Kenyon, Paul Tracing the bitter truth of chocolate and child labour BBC Panorama, 2010

The UK’s best-selling chocolate bar is set to become Fairtrade certified, increasing the amount of Fairtrade cocoa sourced from West Africa.

Cadbury Dairy Milk goes Fairtrade



Cadbury Dairy Milk goes fair trade BBC News, 2009



Côte d’Ivoire



“Social action is not only taken over by aliens, it is also shifted or delegated to different types of actors which are able to transport the action further through other modes of action, other types of forces altogether. At first, bring objects back into the normal course of action should appear innocuous enough. After all, there is hardly any doubt that kettles ‘boil’ water, knifes ‘cut’ meat, baskets ‘hold’ provisions, hammers ‘hit’ nails on the head… If action is limited a priori to what ‘intentional’, ‘meaningful’ humans do, it is hard to see how a hammer, a basket, a door closer, a cat, a rug, a mug, a list, or a tag could act. They might exist in the domain of ‘material’ ‘causal’ relations, but not in the ‘reflexive’ ‘symbolic’ domain of social relations. By contrast, if we stick to our decision to start from the controversies about actors and agencies, then any thing that does modify a stat of affairs by making a difference is an actor – or, if it has no figuration yet, an actant.”pp70-71

“…we have to lay continuous connections leading from one local intteraction to the other places, times, and agencies though which a local site is made to do something…this deployment might take the shape of a network on the condition that every transprot be paid in transformations, that is, if we make sure to pave the whole way from one site to the next not with intermediaries but with full-blown mediators…”p173

Reassembling the Social, An Introduction to Actor Network Theory



Latour, Bruno Reassembling The Social, An Introduction To Actor-Network-Theory Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2005

"…and then she was going on about child slaves. As if I don’t feel guilty enough already eating chocolate."

As heard from the other side of the office partition.




J.A. Adofo & City Boys Band – Baabi Dehyee



J.A. Adofo & City Boys Band – Baabi Dehyee

"When I reached Standard 5 my father and mother made some trouble so I had to leave my Cape Coast Elementary School just like that. I was a carpenter so I went to the Bubuaso mines near Dunkwa to find business, but I didn't get some so I went to the surveyor's department as a line-cutter [cutting lines through the bush for surveyors]. So when I was there I met one of my brother-in-law's nephews called Kofi Adzei. He was a guitarist and showed me how to play. That was in 1937. Then when my mother fetched me back to Cape Coast I met my uncle Sam, and he also taught me to play, and anywhere he goes I go with him. We were entertaining the soldiers during the war in Cape Coast, Kumasi and Accra. We made music and mime for the soldiers and army officers. I was the singer and clips player and he was playing guitar, singing and changing costumes. He used to dress up sometimes as a Sierra Leonese woman and sometimes as an Ashanti woman." - Kwaa Mensah.

Collins, John Music Makers of West Africa Lynne Rienner Publishers, Washington, 1985

Kalabule, Kwaa Mensah



Kwaa Mensah

“Aristotle declares that slavery would cease to be necessary if only the shuttles and plectrums could set themselves going on their own. The idea accords admirably with his definition of the slave as animated instrument….By the same token, the ancient poet Pherecydes of Syros had told how the Dactyls, after building a new house for Zeus had fashioned for him male and female servants as well. We are in the realm of fable…. Yet before three centuries have passed, an Anthology poet, Antiphilos of Byzantium, offers a response to Aristotle by singing of the invention of the water mill, which liberates women from the arduous task of grinding: ‘Spare the hand that grinds the corn, O miller girles, and softly sleep. Let Chanticleer announce the morn in vain! Demeter has commanded that the girls’ work be done by Nymphs, and now they skip lightly over the wheels, so that the shaken axles revolve with their spokes and pull round the load of revolving stones. Let us live the life of our fathers, and let us rest from work and enjoy the gifts that Demeter sends us.”

Peasants migrate to city factories

Paris, France


Pierre-Maxime Schuhl Machinisme et philosophie (Paris, 1938), pp 19-20 via p697 Benjamin, Water The Arcades Project The Belknap Press, Cambridge Mass., 2002

We find great numbers of peasants emigrating to the cities, where steam entergy permits the concentration of factories that formerly were scattered along the banks of rivers.

Peasants migrate to city factories

Paris, France


Pierre-Maxime Schuhl Machinisme et philosophie (Paris, 1938), pp 56-57 via p697 Benjamin, Water The Arcades Project The Belknap Press, Cambridge Mass., 2002

Suzhou Silk Factory Number 1


FishVidz, Youtube, Uploaded on Dec 7, 2008

Sometimes kidnappers would not take their booty directly to a rival mill but would hide the girls in a farmer’s house for a while. When they thought the coast was clear, they would smuggle them into the mill. In time, companies made sure female hands were accompanied by a male employee whenever they left factory grounds-to insure that the women were not captured, as well as to prevent their running away. p74

Money is sent to a a girl’s home and a letter written to her father or guardian stating that “your daughter is health and really working well and thus we are able to send you this monetary token…” Because the father doesn’t know much about the [factory] conditions he tatke [the company's letter] at face value. He tell his daughter, “We’re very grateful that we recieved the money you earned. It’s a good factory so do your best and work hard…” When the girls themselves tell their fathers about the hardships of the work, the fathers just think their daughters hate the work because they are self indulgent. p83 (Ishihara Osamu, Joko to kekkaku (Female factory workers and tuberculosis), originally published in 1913, to be found in Seikatsu koten sosho (Tokyo, 1970), 5: 185)

Don’t fall in love with male workers.

You’ll end up discarded like tea dregs.

At parting one is like a fan,

Discarded when a breeze is no longer needed.

Meet him often and the factory gets upset,

Don’t meet him and the master gets upset.

This company is like a brothel;

We are whores who live by selling our faces.

In Suwa geisha get thirty-five sen.

Common prostitutes get fifteen sen.

Silk reelers get one potato.p90-91

(Yamamoto Shigemi, Aa nomugi toge, 393-95)

Silk Reel Girls




Tsurumi, E Patricia Factory Girls: Women In The Thread Mills Of Meiji Japan Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1990





Scholten, Japanese Art

Tools turn out to be damaged, their material unsuitable…When we discover it’s unusability, the thing becomes conspicuous…Useful things become ‘things’ in the sense of what one would like to throw away… Similarly, when something at hand is missing whose everyday presence was so much a matter of course that we never even paid attention to it, this constitutes a breach in the context of references discovered in our circumspection. Circumspection comes up with emptiness and now sees for the first time what the missing thing was at hand for and at hand with.

Heidegger on Things



pp68-70 Heidegger, Martin Being And Time State University Of New York Press, NY 1996

“La perruque is the worker’s own work disguised as work for his employer… La perruque may be as simple a matter as a secretary’s writing a love letter on ‘company time’ or as complex as a cabinetmaker’s ‘borrowing’ a lathe to make a piece of furniture for his living room.”

la perruque


p25, de Certeau, Michel The Practice Of Everyday Life University of California Press, Berkeley, 1988

“History, in which the interiority of each will manifests itself only in plastic form-in the muteness of products-is an economic history. In history the will is congealed into a personage interpreted on the basis of his work, in which the essential of the will productive of things, dependent on things, but struggling against the dependence which delivers it to the Other is obscured. As long as the will, in a being who speaks, takes up again and defends his work against a foreign will, history lacks the distance it lives from…

"The work has a meaning for other wills; it can serve another and eventually turn against its author… The historical distance which makes this historiography, this violence, this subjection possible is proportionate to the time necessary for the will to lose its work completely. Historiography recounts the way the survivors appropriate the works of dead wills to themselves; it rests on the usurpation carried out by the conquerors, that is, by the survivors; it recounts enslavement, forgetting the life that struggles against slavery."

Levinas on the History of Things



p228 Levinas, Emmanuel Totality And Infinity Duquesne University Press, Pittsburgh, 1996


Average amount of people with internet access.

Washington DC



Internet users (per 100 people), The World Bank

Mobile phone subscriptions per 100 people 2013

World 102.7

DR Congo 43.7

Mobile phone subscriptions, world and DR Congo.

Washington DC



Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people), The World Bank


So why the price spike for tantalum?

As a reminder, tantalum is used in cell phones, DVD players, PCs, digital cameras, LCD screens, and game consoles. It is also an essential component for jet turbine blades, nuclear reactors … and the list goes on. On January 1 of this year, the Frank-Dodd financial reform bill went into effect requiring US corporations to “state whether they source ‘conflict minerals’ from both Congo and neighboring countries” and “report on steps taken to exclude conflict sources from their supply chains, backed by independent audits.

Even China has stopped purchasing tantalum on the spot market, because of the conflict minerals legislation. China has historically served as the largest purchaser of this material. It should come as no surprise that Chinese ODMs and contract manufacturers had great concern and interest in keeping their US customers from Apple to Intel to Toyota.

Tantalum Prices About to Go Through The Roof?

Wodgina mine


Tantalum Prices About to Go Through The Roof? Lisa Reisman on January 20, 2011 in MetalMiner


Tantalum Sources.



New Tantalum Supply Sources to Ease Some of the Shortages Lisa Reisman on OCTOBER 4, 2011 in MetalMiner

Cassiterite Tantalum Capacitors

Cassiterite, Tantalum, Capacitors



Wikipedia Commons


Deaths In Some Historic Events




Wikipedia Commons

World Reserves and Production

World reserves of tantalum are estimated at 153,000 (2011): the largest reserves are located in Brazil (87,000t) and Australia (40,500t), followed by China and South East Asia (7,800t), Central Africa (3,200t) and other African regions (12,500t). World 2010 production is estimated to be approximately 2,000t, the largest producers are Brazil, Australia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Uganda, Congo and Zimbabwe.

Tantalum Reserves.



Tantalum Global Metals & Mining


Children Mining Coltan in east of DR Congo

DR Congo


Mvemba Phezo Dizolele, January 3, 2012


Child soldiers under command of Cobra Matata (Front for Patriotic Resistance in Ituri)

Child Soldiers, DR Congo

Ituri, DR Congo


Bleasdale, Marcus (Photographer) The Price of Precious National Geographic


First Person Shooter Game



The Banisher, First Person Shooter Avoid Me, Friday, January 18, 2013

Kony: Hunt for the World’s Most Wanted



Kony: Hunt for the World’s Most Wanted, Sorious Samura, 2012


TEDDY RUGE: One of the main issues that I really had with this video was the very blatant and visible nature in which it said ‘we are here and we are the ones that can actually do something about this’. I mean it eroded the efforts, I mean seemingly of people like Betty Bigombe in Uganda who had been working on this issue for years. I think she should have been highlighted in this issue just like Sorious did in his piece, in terms of her efforts to actually solve this situation on the ground.
I think that agency, the fact of the video robbed agency of Ugandans and Africans within the diaspora, as well as on the ground, to actually solve this situation. It was embarrassing to us and that’s why a lot of us rose to the occasion.

I’m actually uncomfortable with that. It’s because it says to me in order for something to actually really matter we have to dumb it down for you and make it slick enough for you to be… to even care to press a button of Facebook and say I ‘Like’ and then spread it around to your …

It was a little embarrassing that it took that for the world to actually care. And while people were busy clicking ‘Like’ on this video, atrocities were going on in Syria. And plenty of videos of that, and we seemingly don’t care or are not making any moves to solve that situation.

So what will it really take in the internet generation for us to actually care about something when it’s genuine without it being manipulated?

The Hunt For Joseph Kony



The Hunt for Joseph Kony (Interviews), Four Corners, BBC Panorama / ABC

Set in the Liberian Second World War, based on the novel of the same name by Congolese author Emmanuel Dongala

Johnny Mad Dog

Liberia, Congo


Sauvaire, Jean-Stéphane Johnny Mad Dog 2008

The shortest route, the easiest job in Congo is the army: they are always hiring; above all they are paid. p22 Albert, Congo-Brazzaville

I come from a warrior’s family; as far as I remember, my father has always been in the rebellion. Catherine, DRC, p24

Almost all my family disappeared, to start with my dad, who passed away. We were so poor, and because of the wars, the worries, our dad died, our mom, too; the members of our family were dispersed in the bush. Vanessa, DRC, p25

My family is not there anymore [...] they died during the conflict, they are all dead… The soldiers came in the villages, they plundered and killed everybody, they raped the women, the girls; they killed everyone, even the children. Christine, DRC, p25

Mobutu and his soldiers, they were mean, they oppressed us, tormented us, we were always mistreated [...] He and his men! Once they had beaten me because of my boots! Till this day, I have hated them. When I was small, I had fashionable clothes, and I had boots like military boots; it was fashionable in Congo. But not everyone could have some because they were expensive. Once my mother bought me some. Once I left for school with my boots, I was proud. A soldier called me over and said to me to come to him, and he asked me, “Who gave you a soldier’s boots?” [..] the soldier told me to remove them [...] I told them that it was my mom who had bought these for me. They didn’t care. The guy started to strike my back with a cord that hurts. I bled. Germain, DRC, 27

You know, I come from a warrior’s family; as far as I remember, my father has always been in the rebellion; [...] I always wanted to be with my father, to listen to the stories, the plans; and then my brothers, they were with him also. [...] In fact, it’s because I was a girl. I was the only girl with three brothers, I wanted to help th rebellion, I thought that if my brothers could do it, well so could I. I wanted to do like my brothers. When you are little, you want to do as if you were tall, when you are a girl, do as if you were a boy. Catherine, DRC, p91

We were inspired y the films; war films, spy films [...] you believe that it’s reality, that’s easy Pascal, Congo-Brazzaville, p92

We tried to prevent [the boys from committing rapes] but if they are doped it’s difficult, so sometimes you must kill them. If you can’t kill them at this time, well you kill them when you are on the front line. Vanessa, DRC, p98

When I was younger, I watched a lot of action films; it encourage me to take up a weapon. [...] I joined the rebellion at 10 years old, so you know, the films coupled with dictatorship, is encouraging enough. [...] I hung out with a Rwandan major. [...] I wanted to learn, to discover, to know what it was; so he motivated me, he influenced me. And you know, him and his soldiers, they were so chic in their uniforms. Above all, my parents travelled a lot-I was left at home with my brothers and sisters. [...] My parents were away [...] so I would hang out with the major. And one day, the major took me to the training centre. Germain, DRC, p108

Involuntary-if you have nothing-you volunteer for the army. Involuntary because the situation requires it. Michel, DRC, p108

Young Soldiers, Why They Choose To Fight



Brett, Rachel & Specht, Irma Young Soldiers: Why They Choose To Fight Lynne Rienner Publishers, Colorado, 2004

As a living, socio-ideological concrete thing, as heterglot opinion, for the individual consciousness, lies on the borderline between oneself and the other. The word in language is half someone else’s. … it exists in other people’s mouths, other people’s contexts, serving other people’s intentions: it is from there that one must take the word, and make it one’s own.





293-294 Bakhtin, M.M. The Dialogic Imagination University of Texas Press, Austin, 1981


Luba history written with beads and nails in Lukasa memory boards which are legible to initiates of the Mbudye Society.

Lukasa Memory Board

Luba, DR Congo


Mbudye Society via Tangible interactive Museum Installation for 2014 Africa-Atlanta Exhibition, YUANYUAN LIN, 2013

The row of raised bumps across the board’s center constitutes the veil that initiates must penetrate in order to achieve the highest grade of Mbudye. Each represents a tree or plant, each of which, in turn, has its own proverb related to kingship. The first bump on the left is mulenga, a type of fern, which means, ‘The king is flexible like the fern, which bends in all directions in the wind.’ There is no problem the king refuses to solve. The second bump is kilongolongo, a plant with tuberous roots, for ‘the rubber tuber is not hard, but it can break the metal hoe'; the king is not ‘hard,’ but if you create problems for him, you will be broken…The last cowrie on the lower-right-hand side represents the spirit capital of the royal diviners. Some diveiners and spirit mediums undergo a rite in which the plunge into a lake; these are teh diviners of the highest order. They are shown on hte board by a medium-sized blue bead between the cetnral and theh lower-right-hand cowries, which depicts the lake into which they throw themselves…The small red bead above the lower central cowrie depicts Nkongolo Mwamba Seya, who was born in a village originally called Myamba ya Nkeba. The birth of this child produced an astonishing phenomenon: wherever the child went, the earth below his feet turned red…

Reading of a Lukasa Memory Board

Luba, DR Congo


Roberts, Mary Nooter & Roberts, Allen F. Memory, Luba Art and the Making of History The Museum for African Art, NY, 1996

Mwamba’s mother was named Seya, and he took the name of Nkongolo (“The Rainbow”). Nkongolo was red, and wherever he travelled the land turned red. Nkongolo was noted for his cruelty, fo rwhen he stood up he leaned on spears which pierced people lying at his feet. With the curved nkololo knife used to scrape out the insides of mortars, he would cut off the noses, ears, arms, or hands of people who displeased him. That is why he is remembered as Nkongolo Mwamba mujya na nkololo (“Nkongolo Mwamba who dances with the nkololo knife”)

Nkongolo ate and drank in full view of his people. He offered Mbidi Kiluwe food and drink, but Mbidi Kiluwe refused the offer. His servant said that Mbidi Kiluwe ate and drank in private, hidden from the gaze of all people. The servant explained how a special two-door kitchen hut had to be made in which Mbidi Kiluwe’s sacred cooking fire was guarded and in which he could eat. When Mbidi Kiluwe drank, he was hidden by a screen held by two wives kneeling with their backs to him. When he was done he snapped his fingers as a signal for the screen to be lowered. Nkongolo then learned many other things about truly royal behaviour from Mbidi Kiluwe.

He told them if the children born were black-skinned like himself, then they were his children, but if they were born red-skinned, then they were Nkongolo’s offspring. Mbidi Kiluwe commissioned Mijibu Kalenga to look after his children, and he gave the god a basket containing a magic iron ball, a rubber ball, and specially shaped arrows.

Nkongolo then challenged Kalala Ilunga to a game of bulundu (a kick game played with a ball made from latex). Once again, Kalala Ilunga went to Mijibu Kalenga, who gave him the magic rubber ball left by his father. When Nkongolo and Kalala Ilunga played the game and Kalala Ilunga kicked his rubber ball, it rolled into Nkongolo’s cooking hut and bounced around destroying all the utensils.

Luba History



Kataba, Inabanza. “The Luba Genesis Myth” in pp23-31 Reefe, Thomas Q The Rainbow And The Kings University of California Press, Berkeley, 1981

Tippu Tip described Luba tactics during the reign of king Ilunga Kabale:

Each time he went into combat, he placed in front of him all those whose arms, noses and ears had been cut off and thus he terrorized his adversaries. When he made war, at the head of his army, marched more than 7000 persons; when these horrifying people appeared, the Warua [baLuba] trembled with fear.

Tippu Tip passed through territories of the Luba Empire and later described that:

In all their villages one sees three or four hundred men with either their noses, ears or arms cut off.

Tippu Tip’s Account of Luba Warfare




p110 Reefe, Thomas Q The Rainbow And The Kings University of California Press, Berkeley, 1981




Lang, Fritz Metropolis 1927

“We will sing of the great crowds agitated by work, pleasure and revolt; the multi-colored and polyphonic surf of revolutions in modern capitals: the nocturnal vibration of the arsenals and the workshops beneath their violent electric moons: the gluttonous railway stations devouring smoking serpents; factories suspended from the clouds by the thread of their smoke; bridges with the leap of gymnasts flung across the diabolic cutlery of sunny rivers: adventurous steamers sniffing the horizon; great-breasted locomotives, puffing on the rails like enormous steel horses with long tubes for bridle, and the gliding flight of aeroplanes whose propeller sounds like the flapping of a flag and the applause of enthusiastic crowds.

“When we are forty let younger and stronger men than we throw us in the waste paper basket like useless manuscripts!

“The oldest among us are not yet thirty, and yet we have already wasted treasures, treasures of strength, love, courage and keen will, hastily, deliriously, without thinking, with all our might, till we are out of breath.

“We declare that the splendor of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed.

“We are on the extreme promontory of the centuries! What is the use of looking behind at the moment when we must open the mysterious shutters of the impossible? Time and Space died yesterday. We are already living in the absolute, since we have already created eternal, omnipresent speed.”

Futurist Manifesto



Marinetti, FT Futurist Manifesto, 1909

“The authenticity of a thing is the essence of all that is transmissible from its beginning, ranging from its substantive duration to its testimony to the history which it has experienced… Since the historical testimony rests on the authenticity, the former, too, is jeopardized by reproduction when substantive duration ceases to matter… One might generalise by saying: the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition…These two processes lead to a tremendous shattering of tradition…” (‘The Work Of Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction’ Benjamin 2007, p221)

If the natural utilization of productive forces is impeded by the property system, the increase in technical devices, in speed, and in the sources of energy will press for an unnatural utilization, and this is found in war…The horrible features of imperialistic warfare are attributable to the discrepancy between the tremendous means of production and their inadequate utilization in the process of production-in other words, to unemployment and the lack of markets. Imperialistic warfare is a rebellion of technology which collects, in the form of ‘human material,’ the claims to which society has denied its natural material. Instead of draining rivers, society directs a human stream into a bed of trenches; instead of dropping seeds from airplanes, it drops incendiary bombs over cities; and through gas warfare the aura is abolished in a new way.

“Fiat ars-pereat mundus,” says Fascism, and, as Marinetti admits, expects war to supply the artistic gratification of a sense perception that has been changed by technology. This is evidently the consummation of ‘l’art puor l’art.’ Mankind, which in Homer’s time was an object of contemplation for the Olympian gods, now is one for itself. Its self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order. This is the situation of politics which Fascism is rendering aesthetic. Communism responds by politicising art.”(‘The Work Of Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction’ Benjamin 2007, p242)

[quoting Valery] ‘The inhabitant of the great urban centers [sic],’ he writes, ‘reverts to a state of savagery-that is, of isolation. The feeling of being dependant on others, which used to be kept alive by need, is gradually blunted in the smooth functioning of the social mechanism. Any improvement of this mechanism eliminates certain modes of behaviour and emotions.’ Comfort isolates; on the other hand, it brings those enjoying it closer to mechanization.
(‘On Some Motifs in Baudelaire’, Benjamin 2007, 174)

Walter Benjamin on Things



Benjamin, Walter Illuminations Harcourt, Brace and World, New York, 1968

“This researcher was looking into drones, drone aircraft, for the military. So we were wondering if these drones could maybe be used in bushfires, the big bushfires we have, for firefighting. So we asked him and he said yes they could, so we got an artist to draw up a picture of what it might look like and asked him if this is a realist representation of what it would look like. And he said yes they would look like that, so we’ve got this. We want it to look exciting and good, but we also want honesty. This is a realistic representation of his vision. What it might look like if these drones were used in firefighting. And this article has been very successful, it’s been picked up by Huffington post, news online and plenty of other news services. So that’s what we’re looking for. Something honest.”

As heard from the other side of the office partition.




Iquitos, Peru


Google Maps

Ball Court, Chichen Itza


Google Maps

As I believe it will suit our interests to have Japan, in preference to a European competitor, to work with in China, it seems possible that if we can help the Japs to advantageously dispose of a portion of their surplus population along the Amazon Valley and elsewhere in Brazil, we should also assist them, in time, to increase the national wealth of Japan and thus enable her to obtain the money to finance the railways necessary for the opening up and economic development of China.pxxii

Let us, therefore, for a moment, discuss the raw material, and try to ascertain which tribes might be utilized as a beginning.p4

Progress must be slow; probably it will be necessary, after the Indians have been enticed from the forests and settled on the land, to allow them time to become accustomed to the Asiatics and remove any prejudice they may have (and as the Mexican Indian women, when forced to cohabit with Chinamen, very naturally showed) by becoming familiar with the imported Japanese, and especially the Chinese. If Lil, Sue, and Tilda, the white girls in America, go with Chinamen willingly, even preferring them to Americans and Europeans, becuase the Chinese so long as their jealousy is not aroused, are kinder, mere evenly liberal, and take more care of them, surely the Indian women and girls up in the horrible depths of the Brazilian wilds will not find them too repugnant as mates, but will also be willing to pair off with them. Allowing for all this, one must not, therefore, expect to do anything much in five or ten years, beyond getting the Asiatics into Brazil, settling them on the land, and then, probably with their help, persuading the Indians to take up land also. As with re-afforestation, one must be content to-day to work for a future generation, fifty, a hundred, or a hundred and fifty years ahead, but someone has to make a start, so let it be this generation, and let it be made now.

The same as with cattle in Argentina, Brazil, Africa, and elsewhere, the indigenous, and therefore thoroughly acclimatized, breed of cattle is used as the stock on which to interbreed with the imported animals of a superior strain to improve their build and increase their size (since success cannot be achieved without both kinds), so the native Indians in Brazil and along the Amazon Valley, once their confidence is gained and force is not used in any way, should be willing in time to interbreed with the Asiatics, and between them develop a mixed race possessing the hardiness of the Indian with the stolidness, stability of character, and the business capacity of the Asiatic.pp7-8

All this and similar evidence and facts confirm my opinion that with patience and tact Asiatics could again be introduced into Latin America, especially into Brazil, to the advantage of everyone, particularly of the Indians themselves, with whom the Asiatics could and would interbreed, and by their example and family ties would raise the standard of these, the lowest classes of Brazil. I honestly believe that such connections would do more than anything to stop the abominable traffic in and ill-use of Indian girls that seems to have been, and to still be, so rampant in the up-river country, if not elsewhere. If there is one thing more than another to rouse an Asiatic to wrath (at any rate, those I have come across), it is when a lively young spark starts to make love to his wife or concubine, and in a Chinese household it is not always easy to say which is the mother and which are the daughters… If it ever comes to a question of extermination, those whom I would like to see removed are the low-class half-breeds-that mixture of Moor, Goth, Semite, Vandal, Negro, and Indian, to couple Enock’s description with my own- who exploit and ill-treat the Indians, killing them out, and making those who escape or survive, hate and detest anyone with a shade of white in their skins.pp10-11

(1) The native races, whether pure Indian, pure Negro, Cholo (half Negro, half Indian), Mestizo (white and Indian), Mulatto (white and Negro),* &c., must, in all cases, form the basis of society, the drawers of water and the hewers of wood, or in these days, the cultivators of the soil in modern Brazil. From these will spring the peasant proprietor and agricultural labourer, the rubber tapper, the planter of maize and other foodstuffs, both for himself and for others, and every chance must be given them to rise in the social scale by encouraging them to further effort, for it is extremely necessary for the success of our scheme to develop Brazil that they should do so.

(2) Large numbers of agriculturists must be imported from other countries, either to form colonies of their own, and perhaps occasionally to interbreed with the better-class women in class (i), or, better still, Japanese, Chinese, Siamese, and others should be introduced under the personal direct charge of men of good social and political standing of their own race (see Chapter IX et seq.) as protectors of immigrants, and who would be able to see that humane treatment and just laws are meted out to their charges, and that they, like the natives, are given every encouragement and inducement to make good. Not only would these Asiatics be of great use to open up and develop the country, plant rice and cereals (so badly needed), introduce new local industries and food supplies, but they should be given every inducement and encouragement to interbreed freely with the women from class (i), and all the children from such unions should be placed under the charge of the Asiatic protectors of immigrants and be treated in every way as their Mongol fathers, and not as Brazilian Indians; this is an important point, judging from the Putumayo report and other information to hand. Follow out a system like this for fifty or a hundred years, and even if only an average of 5,000 Asiatics were introduced each year, anyone can soon realize what a substantial and useful army of agricultural labourers, artisans, small peasant proprietors, large estate owners and merchants would arise from these and be added to the population of Brazil, which needs them so badly.

Possibly at the start, revolts may occur, and some of the new-comers, and even of the native Indians, may be attacked and killed by the Brazilian mixed breeds, who, too indolent and incapable of developing the country themselves, object to being sent to the wall by this improved race.pp11-12

Personally, a race springing from the union of Malays and South American Indians does not appeal to me as likely to be either tractable or industrious, but one rather that might become a somewhat disturbing element… Coming now to the Tapuyas, here we have a race that I should imagine could well interbreed with the Chinese and Japanese and produce a strong, useful, if not altogether, to our minds, attractive race…p22

Let those countries who are anxious to place 10,000 or 20,000 Asiatics firmly in the Amazon Valley, buy Brazilian State Bonds to a degree that will give them a decided voice in the management of the Republic’s finances, and then they will secure the power to insist that this improved and more efficient class of labour shall be allowed to go through, in order that the investments of the bondholders shall be safeguarded and the interest on their bonds more regularly paid than has hitherto been the case, and than apparently will always be the case if the class of labour and the ways generally of the Amazon Valley are not improved practically out of existence. I say this because it will be remembered that rather less than two years ago ‘a meeting* of the Brazil Colonization Company was called together in Tokyo, which was presided over by Baron Shibusawa. The syndicate which was formed in 1908 to further a scheme of colonization for Japanese in Brazil had noted that the development of Germany and Italy largely depended on the development of their emigration, and the work done by these countries in that direction offered Japan a good example to follow. To Japan it is an absolute necessity to encourage emigration, as their food supply, especially of rice, tends, at times, to prove insufficient.pp140-141

Emigration is a serious necessity to Japan in an ever increasing degree, and her internal troubles, owing to overpopulation, are becoming more and more acute. The famine in Aomori and Hokkaido at the end of 1913 was the worst known since 1869. Crops were not one-tenth of normal whilst the fisheries also failed, poverty becoming so acute in some regions that the sales of female children by their parents to the agents of Geisha and kindred societies reached a scale and a degree of publicity never before attained, even in Japan.p153

Breeding Japanese with Indians for Ideal Rubber Labour Force, Aleviating Japanese Famine and Improving Morality

Amazon, Japan


Woodroffe, Joseph Froude & Smith, Harold Hamel The Rubber Industry of the Amazon London: John Bale, 1915


“Let’s go to South America (Brazil) with the family.”

Santos, Brazil


The Historical Museum of Japanese Immigration in Brazil.


Japanese Immigrants disembarking in Port of Santos, in Brazil, year 1937 or 1938

Santos, Brazil


Museu Histórico da Imigração Japonesa

The Congo Free State – known since August, 1908, as the Belgian Congo – is roughly one millions square miles in extent. When Stanley discovered the course of the Congo and observed its densely-populated river banks, he formed the, doubtless very much exaggerated, estimate that the total population amounted to forty millions. In the years that followed, when the country had been explored in every direction by travellers of divers nationalities, estimates varied between twenty and thirty millions. No estimate fell below twenty millions. In 1911 an official census was taken. It was not published in Belgium, but was reported in one of the British Consular dispatches. It revealed that only eight and a half million people were left.p109

As a further stimulus to “energetic action” a system of sliding-scale bonuses was elaborated, whereby the less the native was ‘paid’ for his labour in producing these articles of “taxation,” i.e., the lower the outlay in obtaining them, the higher was the Official’s commission. Thus if the outlay amounted to 70 centimes per kilo (2 lbs) of rubber, the Official got 4 centimes commission per kilo; but he got 15 centimes per kilo iff the outlay was only 30 centimes. In the third place, outside financiers had to be called in to share the loot, otherwise the new Policy would be unable to weather the storm. “Concessionaire” Companies were created to which the King farmed out a large proportion of the total territory, retaining half the shares in each venture. These priveleges were granted to business men, bankers, and others with whom the King thought it necessary to compound. They floated their companies on the stock exchange. The shares rose rapidly, so rapidly that they became negotiable in tenths of a share, and were largely taken up by the Belgian public. The “tip” was passed round among influential Belgian public men and journalists. By these means a public vested interest of a somewhat extensive character was created throughout Belgium which could be relied upon to support the King’s “System” should it ever be challenged by “pestilent philanthropists.” The more lucrative the profits and dividends-and both attained in due course to fabulous dimensions-the louder, it might be assumed, would an outraged patriotism protest against any agitation directed to reducing them.p118

Here are short extracts on this particular theme from a series of letters by the American missionary Mr. Clark, referring to the district in which he laboured:

It is blood-curdling to see them (the soldiers) returning with hands of the slain, and to find the hands of young children amongst the bigger ones evidencing their bravery… The rubber from this district has cost hundreds of lives, and the scenes I have witnessed, while unable to help the oppressed have been almost enough to make me wish I were dead… This rubber trade is steeped in blood, and if the natives were to rise up and sweep every white person on the Upper Congo into eternity, there would still be left a fearful balance to their credit.pp121-122

The value of a single £10 share stood at one teim as high as £640…the general condition of the natives in that year, may be estimated from the following extracts from Consul Thesiger’s report:

The rubber tax was so heavy that the villages had no time too attend even to the necessities of life… the capitas (the companies armed soldiers stationed in the village) told me they had orders not to allow the natives to clear the ground for cultivation, to hunt, or to fish, as it took up time which should be spent in making rubber. Even so, in many cases the natives can only comply with the demands made on them for rubber by utilising the labour of the women and children. In consequence, their huts are falling to ruin, their fields are uncultivated, and the people are short of food… and dying off…This district was formerly rich in corn, millet, and other foodstuffs… now it is almost a desert.p125

The Black Man’s Burden



Morel, Edmund The Black Man’s Burden Metro Books, Inc, Northbrook, 1972 (first published 1920)


King Leopold II Statue



compiler’s photo

A major IRC survey found that 5,400,000 people have died from war-related causes in Congo since 1998

War With Highest Mortality Since WWII




Coghlan, Benjamin et al Mortality In The Democratic Republic Of Congo, An Ongoing Crisis International Rescue Committee, 2008

Using a more appropriate baseline derived from the IRC’s own data, the “best estimate” of the excess death toll for this period declines from the IRC’s 2.83 million figure to just over 0.86 million

DRC War Mortality Rate Overestimated




Mack, Andrew (ed) Chapter 7: The Death Toll in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Human Security Report Project Human Security Report 2009/2010: The Causes of Peace and the Shrinking Costs of War Oxford University Press, New York, 2011

The whole country is very rich, gold, diamonds, the land is rich, the coltan there is the best quality in the world. Other countries in the world, powerful countries are afraid of what Congo can become. It is a rich country. And a big country. When we get a good leader it will be a powerful country. But when there is a new leader and if he says something bad about America they will kill him. Anyone who speaks badly about America, they will kill him, even if he is outside the Congo. That is why we speak very quietly. There is a war in the Congo now. Do you know that? 5 million people have died in the Congo from the war and people don’t talk about it in the rest of the world. Why? Because they are afraid of what Congo will become. They want there to be war there.

Tribes are very different, each has their own customs. Some who are close to each other may be similar. When there was no war I could travel to any part of the country and be welcome, but now, because of the war, the leaders turn one tribe against another, people are afraid.

Life is very different in the city to the village. It is very difficult in the in the city if you don’t have a job. Most people only go there because of the war – if soldiers come and shoot everyone. Life is better in the country, you can go into ‘Shamba’ – you know ‘Shamba’? ‘Field’. And any food you can take and sell at the market and buy other things.

If Congo became a strong country Belgium would be in a lot of trouble. There was one leader who asked them to pay back all the wealth they took from the Congo. I don’t need to tell you anything about Leopold. You can read about it.

In Australia, colonised by Britain, the end result is good. Yes, people have suffered. Everywhere there is suffering. But now Australia is a developed country. Congo is not. There is suffering but the law – things are ok in the law. A little while ago the government said, “Sorry”. That was a good thing. Not in the Congo.

Now about technology – there is Congolese technology, a lot of young people are starting to use it today – magic – but the government, supported by the West, says these are bad people, but they are only doing it to protect people from the war. If you use this technology they cannot kill you. They can shoot at you and you will not die. They use it to protect people. Because other people can be protected by this. What is the word in English? In French it is (sha….???) – a network. If you touch one of these people, and another person touches you, 10 people touching each other, they will be protected. The soldiers can come and kill everyone, but these people will not die. You will not believe it, no-one in Australia will believe it, even people in other countries in Africa won’t beleive this. They can make Congo a powerful country. but I can believe it because I have seen it – no-one will believe you if you write that so and so told you – so you must go there to see for yourself. If you went there, you are white, so people would think you are there to sell those people guns, so they [the enemy] would try to kill you. But I could tell them, because I know people there. You could use this technology. Pay a little money and they will protect you. Many other things they can do. If you take a photo of this person, and he doesn’t want his photo to be taken, he will not appear in the photo. If you want to travel, tell these people and at night you will cross borders, you can travel to Australia.

Interview on East DRC

East DRC


Congolese Refugee

A: Did you get it?

B: No, what address?

A: I don’t know, it was ###########

B: Ah no, don’t use that one. Those people send your information to the government.

A: Can I have your new email address?

B: Yes….

A: The government allows them to do it because they will allow the government to stay. The president of Congo. Do you know where he is from? He is Rwandan. A Congolese can tell who is Congolese. If you, an Australian, were told to kill 100 or 100,000 Australians for some money, would you do it? He is Rwandan… Many people know about Coltan. People have written articles… These things in phones should be called Congolese blood, because that is where it comes from. That is the only place it comes from. Do you want to go there? I could take you there.

B: The last time I asked you said If I went there they would shoot me. You said they would think the only reason a white person was there was to sell guns, and if they don’t know me I must be selling guns to their enemy. Can I go there?

A: I can’t go there because the government knows I have said something about it. Do you want to go there? I can’t go. But I know someone. He can take you to where it is happening. You will be safe. Because he is a soldier.

B: I probably won’t go. Also, I also don’t have any money.

A: You will need money. Especially because you are white. Nobody will do anything without money. Even me. And so it should be. People have to feed their family, they have children.

B: Yes. How much money would I need?

A: For what?

B: For, well, for your soldier friend. For an escort.

A: I don’t know. I don’t know.

Interview on East DRC

East DRC


Congolese Refugee

A: There’s three things stopping Africa: tribalism, corruption and religion.

A: It’s hard to get anything done. Some of these projects they say they’ll get done in 6 months. I say no fucking way it’ll get done in 6 months. But it’s all political, so it gets approved anyway for 6 months. 6 months later nothing’s fucking happened. Not even a pipe in the ground. I come in, I work on it. I make progress, but still it’s not finished after 12 months. I’m always fair to everyone. Some blokes I’d trust with my life. I had one bloke come in with plans, I showed them to this other engineer, a bloody good engineer, from Ghana, and he shakes his head. Just as I thought. Bullshit. There’s no fucking way this will get done in 6 months. Some try to play the racism card. Not many but some. He says, “Oh, he doesn’t respect my culture. He’s racist.” He makes a complaint, so I get called up and I say, “It’s not about the fucking culture. It’s about the man. And he’s fucking hopeless.”

A: It’s worse in Nigeria. It’s a basket case. I was speaking to one bloke working there, his job was to, once a week, take two suitcases full of money, hop on a helicopter with an armed guard, the government, and fly out, and when he lands, they hand over to another armed guard, the other guys and, seriously, they have three shipping containers set up there. Once for Dollars, one for Euros and one for Yuan.

B: What do you mean by tribalism, exactly?

A: Well, lets say, I’m a Smith and you’re a Jones. I hate you. If you get the contract and you’re a Jones and there’s a perfectly good contractor over here but he’s a Smith, you won’t give him the job. It’s like in Bishkek. There’s tribalism there too. If someone got elected in and he’s from one tribe, everyone in the post office for example gets the sack and all the jobs go to someone from his tribe. They move one lot out and the other lot comes in. It doesn’t matter that they don’t know what the fuck they’re doing. You have to tell them how to do their job. Education doesn’t help. It’s like they say. You take a bunch of goat herders and educate them and you end up with a bunch of well educated goat herders.

B: There’s corruption here too. I guess it’s a matter of degree.

A: Yes, but here if you get caught you get punished.

A: What sort of religion? Well not the sort of religion like the old religions, Catholics, Islam, Methodists whatever, but it’s these new ones that anyone starts up. Someone will start carrying on, “Fire! Hallelujah!” and they get a congregation and take everyone’s money. It’s against the law but the government doesn’t stop them, and nobody’s game enough to do anything. There was one, near where I lived, one too many times, at two in the morning he’d start up, “Fire! Hallelujah! Fire! Halleluja!” I was sick of it. I went round and said, “If you don’t shut up I’ll have you arrested.” He says, “You can’t arrest God!” I said, “I’m not talking about God mate. I’m talking about you.” and everyone around there was happy I called him out on it. They were sick of him too. A friend of mine says, “If I could do it over again, I’d find a good looking young man and start up one of these churches.” The good looking preacher attracts in all the young women. They want to marry him. And of course, all the good looking women bring in the men.

B: Do the Chinese have much political interest there anymore?

A: No they just want the commodities. The contracts are open for anyone to go for. We don’t like it if the Chinese get it, but sometimes they do. They do everything on the cheap. That’s how they get the contract, but they always cut corners. And they’ll give you the resume of one bloke, but then on the day a different one turns up. He’s been replaced. So then you have to get the resume of the new bloke. They always use cheap Chinese labourers too. They’re not really paid. They do a deal with prisoners. They say, we’ll cut 5 years off your sentence if you go and work in Africa for a bit.

B: If it’s an American organisation, why do they let Chinese get the contracts?

A: Well it’s not American. It’s international. It’s meant to be open competition. There is one organisation where Chinese can’t bid for contracts.

B: Why do they need irrigation?

A: Well it’s all rain based and they only get a few good months of rainfall a year. The rest there’s no farming.

B: But they have been ok up until now, or maybe they haven’t – Why do these farmers, who have been ok with rain based farming till now, need irrigation? Is it population increase?

A: Yes, population increase. They are given land concessions, they don’t own the land but they can work it and derive all the profit from it. They work the land like any normal Australian farmer.

B: One thing I can’t figure out is, well, America is not afraid to get involved in other contries, and to make war and so on. In the Congo there is a mineral, Coltan, or Tantalum, which is in high demand for mobile phones, computers, that sort of thing. So a while ago, we had this boom in IT and huge demand for these minerals, and if you look at a graph you’ll see that Congo production was like this (very small) and Australian production was like this (very large), but some of the best reserves of these minerals are in the Congo, and in very few other places. So surely it would be easier to get the minerals out if there were peace there, and not the war. What I can’t figure out is why didn’t America step in?

A: Because there’s no oil there.

B: But what I mean is they are not afraid to go in to other countries, here is this mineral in high demand, they obviously aren’t afraid to make war if it suits them, so why didn’t they go in and say, try and take control, and get the Coltan out? Is it just that they’re not as powerful as I think they are? Are they overcommitted in Iraq and Afghanistan maybe? Some Africans say it’s because if the Congo could sort itself out, it would become a very powerful country and nobody wants a powerful country in Africa.

A: There’s no way you can stop these people fighting. It’s tribalism. Same everywhere. If you’re a Smith and I’m a Jones, I hate you. I’ll kill you and the women and children too. I don’t care. As for America, well, it’s not political. It’s not like it used to be with the CIA and so on. They made some mistakes in the past. It could be that one of these warlords is the best person to run the country. If he got in he’d sort it all out. But you can’t pick that until it’s done. He might not be, and you can’t support him if he’s killed thousands of people.

Interview on African Development

West Africa


International Development Project Manager

“21. (SBU) The Rapp delegation also met in Kiwanja with a group of civil society representatives and then with a group of survivors of the massacres the year before. The civil society representatives described the tensions in Kiwanja as basically a conflict between Tutsis from the CNDP military and Hutu civilians, though much of Kiwanja is also ethnic Nande. They complained about impunity and how people had not been punished for their crimes, specifically mentioning Bosco Ntaganda, who commanded the CNDP troops during the Kiwanja killings. They complained that the presence of the FDLR destabilized Congo, but also blamed Rwanda for its unwillingness to allow an inter-Rwandan dialogue that might encourage the FDLR to return.

22. (SBU) The survivors of the Kiwanja massacre told a series of horrifying tales. In almost all cases, CNDP moved through the town, knocking on doors and killing, possibly because they suspected the residents were hiding anti-CNDP fighters. Each story was worse than the one before. A young mother with an infant said that she lived only because one of the soldiers told the others that, while they should kill everyone else in the house, if they killed the mother with the baby they would be cursed. Notably, one of the victims – a man crippled by gunshot wounds in an arm and a leg — said he had been shot in August 2009, not during the Kiwanja massacres. Members of the Rapp delegation were struck by the follow-on effects of the disaster that lingered in Kiwanja a year later: survivors were often rendered homeless; they not only lost their property but also the family breadwinners; the wounded, who were sometimes badly maimed, lost the ability to generate income until they recovered sufficiently to return to work.

Kiwanja Massacre, War Crimes Ambassador Rapp Visits Drc; 3mphasizes Need For Accountability

Kiwanja, North Kivu Province, DR Congo


Wikileaks, Cablegate, 09KINSHASA1042

“3. (SBU) Low wages, which are not paid regularly, are one of the root causes of the systematic corruption that exists throughout the ranks of the PNC. The average monthly salary of a police officer is 16 USD. Police officers are compelled to harass and “shake down” the local population for bribes in order to supplement their meager salaries. This causes the PNC to lose its credibility in the eyes of the local citizenry. Furthermore, the GDRC’s lack of a reliable salary payment system enables senior echelons of the PNC to embezzle officers’ salaries. Paying PNC officers a living wage and ensuring that this money ends up in their hands will go a long way in professionalizing the organization.

The Congolese National Police: Unpaid And Poorly Paid

DR Congo


Wikileaks, Cablegate, 10KINSHASA20

1. (SBU) Summary: The term “balkanization” has its own special meaning in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it refers to a conspiracy theory that foreign interests seek to divide the DRC into smaller client states in order to facilitate access to the country’s vast mineral reserves. Many prominent Congolese are quick to assert that United States is among the foreign powers poised to “balkanize” the DRC, just as many Congolese appear to believe that the U.S. favors alleged Rwandan designs vis-a-vis the DRC. It is not clear how broad-based such views are or if they result primarily from government manipulation of public opinion. Regardless, addressing “balkanization” should be an important element of Mission outreach strategy. End summary. …

2. (U) On February 2, PAS Kinshasa staff visited Freddy Mulumbu, editorial director of the newspaper Le Potentiel, to discuss the “balkanization theory,” the idea that Western, business interests and political lobbies have a plan to divide the DRC, undermine national sovereignty and state power, and keep the country enmeshed in violence and underdevelopment in order to exploit its natural resources. One of Le Potentiel’s former journalists, Emmanuel Kabongo, a major proponent of the Balkanization theory, was also present. (Note: Le Potentiel is one of the most widely read, influential, and relatively independent newspapers in Kinshasa. Every day the front page runs a small box that says: “No to the Balkanization of the DRC!” and the theme is often discussed in news articles, editorials and signed commentary. Through Le Potentiel, its television channel, Tele 7, and high-profile conferences and debates, the proponents of balkanization have an extremely powerful media platform. End note.) …

4. (U) Mulumba exposited a neo-Marxist theory of history in which each successive phase of Western economic development depended upon the exploitation of African human and natural resources, particularly from the Congo – first agriculture with slaves, then industry with Congolese rubber, and now high technology with coltan and other minerals from the eastern DRC. Mulumba blamed the conflict that killed millions of Congolese between 1997 and 2003 on the Rwandans, with support from the USG, turning the DRC into “a vassal state of Rwanda,” which he claimed it remains today. He saw efforts to integrate former rebels into the FARDC as a plot for Rwandan take-over of the Congolese military. While supporting security sector reform in theory, and advocating a strong and professional national army, Mulumba criticized international efforts as disorganized and even divisive. saw as U.S. interference in DRC sovereignty, from the Cold War (which he said “was won in the DRC,” due to minerals extracted here) up to the present day. With the election of Barack Obama, who championed the DRC in the U.S. Senate, Mulumba said he hoped that U.S. policy toward the DRC might change, and highlighted the generally positive coverage by his organization of Secretary Clinton’s visit last August as an indication of his optimism. Yet Mulumba was frustrated that he hadn’t seen more “concrete measures” of USG support. While believing that Obama personally cares about the DRC, Mulumba blamed “a lobby that has power over American foreign policy,” and hinted that mining interests are behind it. He also expressed skepticism over assistance from U.S. and other donors. Mulumba, who recently visited China, said foreign direct investment, rather than development aid, would help bring the DRC out of poverty. …

7. (U) Mulumba and his colleagues are not isolated in their opinions. L’Avenir, a pro-government newspaper with close ties to President Joseph Kabila, ran an article on February 3 expressing suspicion that demobilization programs run by the United Nations Mission in the DRC (MONUC) are a “Trojan horse” integrating Rwandans into the DRC military and other national institutions. When a UN-sponsored study questioned the estimate of 5.4 million Congolese dead from recent conflicts, an association of Congolese civil society groups accused unnamed “Western nations” of using the study to downplay “their responsibility in the DRC massacres.” In conversations with Congolese students, PDO often heard: “Everybody knows that the U.S. was behind Rwanda’s invasion of the DRC.”

8. (SBU) Comment: While the Balkanization theory has proponents across the DRC, we are unsure to what degree it resonates throughout Congolese society. While radical intellectuals like Mulumba express a hardline version, moderate variations of the theory are regularly articulated by the pro-government press, political figures, and private citizens. Some Congolese suspect, to one degree or another, that USG assistance (and all international aid, for that matter) is provided in order to weaken the country and advance private business interests. This view is particularly prevalent in the Kivus, as audiences continue to believe U.S. interests support Rwanda’s alleged efforts to annex the Kivus and monopolize the region’s resources (reftel). Still, it is possible that the theory is embraced only by a vocal few, or that it is encouraged by a cynical leadership and is without widespread public support. Absent baseline data concerning public attitudes and opinions, Embassy Kinshasa is currently unable to accurately measure the degree to which this theory has traction among ordinary Congolese. We will explore ways to obtain resources for in-depth survey research on opinions and attitudes concerning USG policies, in order to develop a strategy for effective engagement on countering the Balkanization theory, as well as other issues critical to the implementation of mission strategic goals in the DRC. Subsequent reporting will explore other opinions and attitudes that impact Congolese public perception of U.S. policy toward the DRC. End comment.

“balkanization” Conspiracy Theory — A Challenge To Pd Outreach Efforts In The Drc

DR Congo


Wikileaks, Cablegate, 10KINSHASA260

“The DRC’s rich endowment of natural resources, large population size (approximately 68 million) and generally open trading system provide significant potential opportunities for U.S. investors. At the same time, the DRC remains a highly challenging environment in which to do business. The DRC was ranked 182 out of 183 in the 2010 World Bank’s Doing Business report, the second most difficult country in the world in which to do business.”

“There are no laws forcing local ownership, although parastatal companies involved in the petroleum and mining sectors maintain minority shares of most foreign-owned projects. ”

“However, the largest foreign investor in the mining sector, a U.S. majority investor, has yet to reach agreement with the government under its contract review and negotiations continue.”

“The GDRC, with support from international donors, continues to work to reform state-owned enterprises (SOEs). To boost the efficiency of SOEs, many of which have been plagued by years of mismanagement, Prime Minister Adolph Muzito signed five ministerial decrees in April 2009. The decrees focused on transforming these SOEs into profitable commercial companies, public establishments (which would be autonomous from any ministry) and public services (which are directly tied to a particular ministry). Some SOEs would be dissolved. SOEs that have been targeted for reform include those operating in the mining, energy, industry, transport, telecommunications and finance sectors.”

“Awareness about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is growing, and many of the large, multinational investors in the DRC have formal CSR programs.”

“The United Nations has its largest peacekeeping operation in the world in the DRC. Known by its French acronym of MONUC, it has nearly 20,000 peacekeepers deployed in the country – primarily in the east. Violence nevertheless persists in the eastern DRC due to the presence of several militias and foreign armed groups, with sporadic outbreaks occurring in North Kivu, South Kivu, and northern Katanga provinces, as well as the Ituri and Haut-Uele Districts of Orientale province, and sporadically in Bas-Congo and Equateur provinces.”

“The political-military landscape in the eastern DRC changed dramatically in 2009, offering the best prospects for lasting peace in the region in many years. In early 2009, the DRC and Rwanda formally re-established full diplomatic relations and separate peace agreements were signed between the Government of the DRC and various armed groups.”

“The United States and the DRC (then-Zaire) signed a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in 1984 that entered into force in 1989. This treaty guarantees reciprocal rights and privileges to each country’s investors. The BIT provides for binding third-party arbitration in the event of an investment expropriation dispute.

¶47. (U) Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, South Korea, South Africa, and China (PRC) have signed bilateral investment agreements with the DRC.”

“The DRC’s large urban population provides a ready pool of available labor, including a significant number of high school and university graduates, a few of whom have studied at American universities. Employers cannot, however, take diplomas at face value. Skilled industrial labor is in short supply and must often be trained by individual companies.

¶51. (U) The GDRC sets regional minimum wages for all workers in private enterprise, with the highest pay scales applied in the cities of Kinshasa and Lubumbashi. Wages have not kept pace with the DRC’s rate of inflation. While most foreign employers pay higher wages than the official minimum wage, the average Congolese worker has had to cope with falling real wages for over a decade.”

DRC Investment Environment

DR Congo


Wikileaks, Cablegate, 10KINSHASA92

¶1. (SBU) United Nations Mission in the Democratic of Congo (MONUC) sources confirmed to us that Major Muzungu, the leader of the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) unit that pillaged an IDP camp in Muhanga in North Kivu on January 15 (reftel), formerly belonged to the CNDP (CongrC(s National pour la DC)fense du Peuple/National Congress for the Defense of the People), a Congolese Tutsi militia that was effectively disbanded when the DRC and Rwanda reconciled in January, 2009. The sources, who are based in Kitchanga, said that the other 19 FARDC soldiers involved in the looting were also ex-CNDP “integrated” into the FARDC. The camp’s inhabitants, according to MONUC, are primarily Congolese ethnic Hutus. The ex-CNDP FARDC in the area have accused the camp’s residents of being sympathizers of the FDLR (Front DC)moratique pour la LibC)ration du Rwanda/Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda), a loose union of Rwandan Hutus that has been operating inside the DRC since the defeat of Rwandan genocidaires in 1994.

¶2. (C) Comment: In addition to the issue of MONUC troops abandoning the camp to the FARDC (reftel), this incident highlights that the overwhelming majority of ex-CNDP “integrated” elements continue to operate within their old command and control structures. Moreover, such abuses will only increase the local population’s sympathy for groups fighting the FARDC, such as the FDLR and the predominantly Hunde-based APCLS (Alliance Patriotique pour un Congo Libre et Souverain/Patriotic Alliance for a Free and Sovereign Congo). End comment.

FARDC Pillaging

DR Congo


Wikileaks, Cablegate, 10KINSHASA29

“Poloff’s first impression is that there is a great deal of work to be done to convince the population of Eastern Congo that U.S. policy and its presence in Goma are in their best interests.”

Officer’s notes

DR Congo


Wikileaks, Cablegate, 10KINSHASA46

“Rwandan security forces at Lake Kivu, bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), on maritime patrolling and law enforcement techniques. During the year, Rwandan law enforcement officers also participated in U.S.-sponsored training courses on criminal investigation techniques and small arms identification.” “(SBU) The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and the Rally for Unity and Democracy (RUD-Urunana), two rebel groups that include former supporters of the regime that orchestrated the 1994 Rwandan genocide, continued to operate in eastern DRC.”

US trains Rwandan police. Rwandan Genocide groups in DRC

DR Congo


Wikileaks, Cablegate, 09KIGALI894

Gishwati forest lost 99.4 percent of its forest cover between 1986 and 2001 and is now less than 1,200 hectares in size. The first phase of the project aims to relocate 100 farming families and reforest 400 hectares of farmland. Ultimately, up to 5,000 families will be affected by the reforestation project. (Note: In land-poor Rwanda, reforestation projects inevitably require massive, and unpopular, relocation of local farmers. End Note)

Reforestation displaces 5000 Rwandan families.

DR Congo


Wikileaks, Cablegate, 09KIGALI830

Comment. The recent dramatic increase in Rwandan-DRC cooperation is no overnight success: it is the result of the two parties’ recognition of their shared fundamental interests and reflects sustained encouragement and effort by the U.S. and others to bring them together. The key challenge now is to nurture this partnership and extend it from the diplomatic and security arenas to economic development benefitting both countries. We expect that Kagame-Kabila discussions will touch on all these elements. End Comment.

Kagame-Kabila DRC-Rwanda cooperation

DR Congo


Wikileaks, Cablegate, 09KIGALI472

Task force set up to stop illegal mineral trade. Advocates management of it.

“(Note: The World Bank-led Promines program is a $100 million, five year technical assistance program that focuses on a broad range of activities aimed at improving overall management of the sector. End note.).”

“(SBU) The GDRC presented the Task Force with an initial response on January 22 to the Task Force’s proposals. The Task Force proposals include eight areas: (1) coordination and follow-up mechanisms between the GDRC and international partners; (2)mapping of mining sites; (3) clarification of the legal framework applicable to companies operating in the mining sector; (4) The fight against impunity, including against members of the Congolese army involved in illegal exploitation and trade of minerals; (5) capacity building; (6) improved due diligence; (7) regional initiatives including certification; and, (8)increased transparency in the mining sector through the implementation of EITI. The GDRC was largely receptive to the proposals presented and, in turn, provided Task Force members with a draft response that largely corresponded with the Task Force’s proposals. (Note: The GDRC’s response has been shared with Task Force members for review and approval. End note.).

Task Force Set Up To Stop Illegal Mineral Trade

DR Congo


Wikileaks, Cablegate, 10KINSHASA278

¶6. (SBU) A separate MONUC source told Goma poloff that two LRA groups had become separated from the bulk of the fighters and were now stranded in eastern Orientale Province (near Faradje). The source estimated the strength of the groups at 25-40 and 40-50 members each. The source said that due to FARDC and UPDF deployments, the two groups have little prospect of rejoining the several other groups now operating northwest of Dungu (and possibly heading for the CAR). Unless the two isolated groups are able to escape through Sudan, the source predicted that the two groups will be trapped and may try to abandon their weapons, strip off their uniforms and impersonate IDP’s to escape. (Comment: A plausible escape tactic, but we are less sanguine. There is a lot of open country in the isolated north east and the LRA is adept at avoiding capture. End comment).

¶7. (SBU) The LRA attacked the village of Podo, south of Faradje on July 31, and one LRA rebel was killed. There were no reports of FARDC casualties. The FARDC reportedly killed two civilians in Djabir (north of Faradje) during the week of July 20 while attempting to disarm them. Further south near Fataki, men in FARDC uniforms have been looting local villages. FARDC sources tell MONUC that the uniforms are stolen and the bandits are likely FNI-UPC militia elements.

LRA in Orientale Province

DR Congo


Wikileaks, Cablegate, 09KINSHASA736

Introducing the new Mai Mai groups ———————————-

¶4. (SBU) Over the last several months, there has been an increase in new Mai Mai groups, including the following:

— Mai Mai Manua Manua is based around Kishero in northern Rutshuru. It is primarily ethnic Nande, claiming to protect the local population against abuses by recently integrated CNDP elements in the FARDC.

— Mai Mai Coutumier is based around Bunyatenge in western Masisi. It draws primarily from PARECO-Hutu, also protecting the local population against ex-CNDP (now FARDC) abuses. It insists that it does not collaborate with the FDLR.

— Mai Mai Populaire is based in western Masisi and eastern Walikale. Led by “General” Tabu Panda Pascal, a FARDC deserter, this group claims to protect locals from ex-CNDP (specifically FARDC 211 and 212 Brigades) abuses. This group reportedly has recently cooperated with the FDLR against the FARDC.

¶5. (SBU) Comment: Each of the new Mai Mai groups has its own locally specific reasons for taking up arms. Nevertheless, there are three reasons not to dismiss them as simple opportunists. First, state authority is non-existent in a wide swath of the Kivus. Second, newly integrated FARDC units (ex-CNDP) have now advanced into areas where they are viewed with deep suspicion. Finally, FDLR targeting of the civilian population since the beginning of Kimia II has contributed to the formation of more local self-defense groups. None of these groups, old or new, appears to want to or be able to create wider instability. However, should these groups coalesce with other anti-government forces (FDLR, Mai Mai Kifuafua, APCLS), Qwith other anti-government forces (FDLR, Mai Mai Kifuafua, APCLS), they could present a real challenge to the FARDC.

Introducing the new Mai Mai groups

DR Congo


Wikileaks, Cablegate, 10KINSHASA260

Medecins du Monde estimated that 9 out of 10 girls (average age 12) living on the streets in Kinshasa survive by prostitution. This was based on a survey conducted among their target population. The UN Group of Experts stated that from November 2008 to October 2009, there were 623 cases of child soldier recruitment attributable to the FARDC or ex-CNDP elements of the FARDC. Mai-Mai groups were also responsible for recruiting child soldiers. UNICEF estimated that there remained 3,000 child soldiers with armed groups in North and South Kivu Provinces. OCHA estimated that the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan rebel group, had abducted over 1486 people including 185 children in 2009. The WPIO estimated that nearly 200 enslaved Pygmies were working in the agricultural and mining sectors in Eastern DRC.

Among rebel groups, women and children work in makeshift military camps. Women and girls work as domestics in maintaining the camps, collecting firewood, and cooking. They are also used as sex slaves. Boys work either on the front lines as soldiers or are running ammunition and supplies between the rebel troops. At artisanal mining sites, boys work nine to ten hours a day digging tunnel mines and open-pit mines using rudimentary equipment and without any safety gear. Outside mining sites, girls involved in prostitution work in tents or small huts that are organized as brothels. Street children (girls) involved in prostitution are forced to turn over their earning to gangs who offer “protection” or to madams. Pygmies continued to be abused and forced to work as agricultural or domestic workers in some parts of the country.

Child soldiers were abducted, enticed to join by being promised money, or sent by their parents. Middlemen in the mining sector enticed children into working in the mines by promising them wages. They also manipulated them by forcing them into debt bondage. Street gangs often offer protection to girls on the street. However, the girls often end up working in prostitution. Madams in brothels also offer protection to homeless girls as well as food and shelter.

9 out of 10 12yr old girls in prostitution, 3000 child soldiers

DR Congo


Wikileaks, Cablegate, 10KINSHASA248

¶1. (SBU) Summary: The Governments of the DRC and Rwanda, and UNHCR signed a long-awaited Tripartite Agreement in Kigali on February 17 providing a framework for the voluntary repatriation of Congolese refugees from Rwanda and Rwandan refugees in Congo. For the Congolese refugees, the agreement will cover only those registered with UNHCR, some 53,632…

¶7. (SBU) UNHCR Goma’s presentation to Goma diplomats was rather sanguine, noting that the agency was working with the MONUC stabilization team to “manage the risk” of returns, but sounding no dire warnings of impending instability due to return operations. However, in private discussions with PRM TDY officer, UNHCR staff admitted much more concern about the potential for violence stemming from refugee returns. Recognizing that the CNDP had much invested in the return to bolster its constituency in the Kivus, a senior UNHCR official said the agency was worried about the potential for violence stemming from an acceleration of the process by either the CNDP or the Government of Rwanda. The official said that it would be very easy for indigenous groups opposed to the return to “stage a small massacre” to terrorize Congolese Tutsis into staying in camps.

¶9. (SBU) While the Congolese return attracts most attention, and indeed was the dominant element of UNHCR’s presentation and ensuing discussions of the Tripartite Agreement, the return of Rwandan refugees from Congo is equally, if not more complex and difficult. This is because of the difficulty in identifying this caseload, many of whom remember little of Rwanda, and have only tentative links to their “homeland.” PRM TDY has spoken with multiple Rwandan refugees over the past several weeks at transit centers in Bukavu and in Goma, who had left Rwanda following the genocide as children, integrated in Congo either with Congolese or Rwandan families (including FDLR), but who had recently been separated via military operations against the FDLR. These refugees – in limbo at transit centers where they did not leave, fearing the reaction of local populations – knew no home in Rwanda, and were not allowed by the DRC authorities to remain in Congo. These returns have been occurring for years (9,019 returned in 2009), and thus the Tripartite represents only a formalization of the movement, which has been ongoing for years.

Refugee’s Repatriated, Small Massacre Anticipated (off the record), No Homeland For Long Term Refugees

DR Congo


Wikileaks, Cablegate, 10KINSHASA250

¶1. (U) Summary: Since privatization in early 2007, the Rwandan mining sector has experienced a surge in foreign investment and explosive growth of export earnings. 2008 mineral exports are expected to grow to over $100 million from $70 million in 2007 and less than $40 million in 2006. While trans-border trade from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues to contribute significantly to total mineral exports, domestic mineral production and processing attracted $105 million in new foreign investment over the last two years and employs an estimated 50,000 Rwandans. The current downturn in global commodity prices will likely negatively impact demand for minerals in 2009, but with lower energy costs expected by 2012 (ref a) the mining sector will likely continue to play a key role in generating export earnings and new jobs. End summary.

Growing Exports


¶2. (U) In the last five years, Rwandan mineral exports have exploded both in terms of total revenue and as a percent of total exports. From 2003 to 2008, mineral exports grew from $10 million (less than 20 percent of total exports) to over $100 million, representing 40 percent of total export earnings. In the last two years, mineral exports have outperformed the combined total exports of traditional exports tea and coffee (in 2008 total coffee and tea exports are expected to be $75 million). The key minerals being mined and traded in Rwanda are cassiterite (used for tin), wolframite (used in tungsten), colombo-tantilite (used for coltan) and gold. There is also increasing interest in local mining of construction materials such as granite, clay, Kaolin (used in ceramics) and peat.

¶3. (U) Rwanda is part of the same geological formation of highly mineralized Kibaran Rocks that extends from northern Tanzania through western Uganda to southeastern DRC and Angola. Mining and exploration concessions are located throughout Rwanda, but until recently exploration and exploitation were largely artisanal. Weak management of government-owned mining concessions contributed to limited investment in new exploration. Similarly, lack of investment capital and high energy costs resulted in small scale, labor intensive and inefficient production sensitive to world market fluctuations.

Growth Fueled by Privatization and New Foreign Investment

——————————————— ————

¶4. (U) The privatization of the sector in 2006 brought in new foreign investors to acquire 16 of 20 government-owned concessions, and stimulated new exploration throughout the country. Russian, British, American, Austrian, German and South African companies are actively expanding production at previously government-owned mining concessions and using modern exploration techniques to map new deposits. According to statistics from the Rwanda Development Board, since 2006, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the mining sector has exceeded $100 million…

A Closer Look at Key Players


¶6. (U) Key private sector players in the Rwandan mining sector include British-owned African Primary Tungsten (a subsidiary of ABS Industrial Resources Group) Russian-owned ROGI Mining, Canadian-owned Kivu Gold, South African-owned Transafrika (owned by founders of Eland Platinum), Austrian-owned Wolfram Mining and Processing (subsidiary of Wolfram Berghart Hutton WBH), German-owned Natural Resources Development (H.C. Starck is the major shareholder), British-owned Metal Processing Association (subsidiary of Kivu Resources), American-owned Bay View Group and South African-owned Eurotrade International…

¶8. (U) Metal Processing Association (MPA): MPA is owned by Kivu Resources headquartered in the UK which in turn has interests in both the DRC and Rwanda. Rwanda-based MPA operates a tin smelter in Gisenyi using raw materials produced both in Rwanda and from its sister company in the DRC, Mining and Processing Congo (MPC). Through MPA, Kivu Resources is also a joint venture partner with the GOR in the 21,000 hectare Gatumba Mining Concession… Based on planned investment, the group projects an increase in annual turnover from $21 million in 2008 to $85 million in 2012.

¶9. (U) Transafrika: Transafrika is a minerals (primarily gold) exploration company domiciled in Mauritius with exploration permits covering 220,000 square kilometers in Africa. In Rwanda, Transafrika has three exploration permit areas totaling 100,000 hectares granted by the GOR in November 2007…

¶10. (U) African Primary Tungsten (APS): APS is a subsidiary of UK-based ABS Industrial Resources Group which is active in specialty metals and has subsidiary operations in France, Germany, South Africa and Rwanda…

¶11. (U) Natural Resources Development (NRD): Since 2006 NRD has invested nearly $40 million into five mining concessions covering over 32,000 hectares in west and south Rwanda. The company employs 1,500 contract workers and has been upgrading access roads, reconstructing bridges and drainage canals, building housing and offices and equipping concessions with power and water…

¶12. (U) Wolfram Mining and Processing (WMP): Since 2007, WMP has invested $12 million in its 5,635 hectare concession in Gifurwe, northwest of Kigali. The company employs 900 workers and is producing wolfram for the international tungsten market. WMP’s Austrian parent company markets tungsten for uses such as light filaments, and to harden metals used for armor and cutting tools…

Trans-border Trade Still Important


¶13. (U) Domestic mineral production represented approximately 25 percent of total tons exported in 2007, the balance being minerals trans-shipped from the DRC (ref b)… Assuming Central Bank numbers are accurate, we can roughly estimate the value of unprocessed minerals brought in from the DRC (before added value, fees and other re-export costs) in 2008 to be $25-30 million, less than one third of total exports.

¶14. (U) The GOR is seeking to position Rwanda as a regional trading hub that will act a service center for the consolidation of minerals and light processing. The GOR markets Rwanda to investors as a politically and economically stable state located in the heart of mineral-rich central Africa that can serve as a base for processing, logistics, administrative and financial services for the industry. MPA, which imports cassiterite from its sister company in the DRC, smelts tin in Rwanda and exports tin ingots to its parent company in Europe, provides a model for this vision.



¶15. (U) Export earnings and mineral production are likely to slump in 2009 due to recession in the advanced economies. Trans-border trade and Rwanda’s artisanal mining industry are highly elastic and sensitive to global commodity price fluctuations…

¶17. (U) Comment: Rwanda’s mining and minerals processing sector has been oft overshadowed by a history of illegal or quasi-legal trans-border trade with the DRC. While some press and other observers suggest this illegal trade continues unabated, the GOR and many Rwanda-based minerals companies assert there is also a growing legitimate minerals trade between the two countries and an increasingly important extractive and processing industry in Rwanda. The challenge for Rwanda is to leverage its symbiotic economic ties with neighboring DRC and expand legitimate border trade for the benefit of communities on both sides of the border. With new energy sources becoming available in the near future, both countries have much to gain by expanding on this relationship.

Rwandan Mines Privatised. Owned by Russian, British, American, Austrian, German and South African companies

DR Congo


Wikileaks, Cablegate, 08KIGALI862


Tintin Au Congo

Belgium, Congo


Herge, Tintin Au Congo, 1931

Amara Dabo How can we ask the Belgian court to hear the case while Tintin is a national icon? It’s not serious!

The settlers were racist! This comic perfectly transcribed their vision of the day so Tintin in the Congo is clearly racist yes! As for those who say otherwise, they are either color blind, blind or hypocrites. Or maybe all 3 at the same time who knows?

I sincerely believe that the descendants of the settlers did not take this long history and would like us to forget too.

However, the past is gone but will never be erased!

February 12, 2012, 4:30 · 7

Leon-philippe Engulu As much as Asterix ban for that is it! Tintin in the Congo I found it very funny!

February 12, 2012, 4:41

Monia Lis should stop seeing the racist everywhere !!! how to see things is different now is something that dates back 30 !!!

February 12, 2012, 4:57

Amara Dabo Today, when a black dares to open his mouth to assert or just give his opinion on a sensitive topic, is accused of “seeing racism everywhere” as it is called victimization LOL .. That’s it we know the slogan: be black and shut your gu ***!

But sorry, if there really are people who like to close their eyes and identify with the description of the black man as Hergé, me, this is not my case!

February 12, 2012, 5:02 · 3

David Delbecq I am “descendant of settler”, my family lives in the Congo since the 1920s, and we are extremely proud of what we accomplished while respecting the identity Congolese. Accuse us of racism, although tiring do not new, but the same criticism has a simple comic strip that becomes rudiculissime. Let us focus on the real problems of the Congo.

February 12, 2012, 5:12

Amara Dabo Have you felt under my vision Mr. Delbecq? If this is the case, then you should better commprendre my reaction as a black man, Congolese (despite my name) against the description of the Congolese by Hergé, which apparently recognizes things at the time

February 12, 2012, 5:35 · 3

Amara Dabo Ask a Jew if his reaction is “ridiculissime” when he saw how they were seen at the time. chauvinism can itself become clear ridiculissime yes!

February 12, 2012, 5:38 · 2

Amara Dabo a simple comic strip read by umpteen children and that will certainly give them a beautiful image of the black man, the Congolese … MDR!

February 12, 2012, 5:40 · 2

Six Wolves LeGrand MéchantLoup Black racism even in miolement looking cat. Work and white will respect you!

February 12, 2012, 6:04

Is Tintin in Congo racist? (machine translation by Google)

Kinshasa, DR Congo


Kinshasa Facebook Page


Joel Landu Atiamutu Polycarp Mata, Israel Kanda and 280 others like this.

Erick Mupemba Despite this bozo Kende 2016 18 · August 11, 3:35 4 answers

Lindsay helped Kass And during that time. The people are starving … Pppfffffff 9 · August 11, 3:33 2 replies

Mark M Mukuna a pufffffffff people complaining all the time, there is no n` government in the world that creates the emploies but it is the investors who creentpour your info, and not the government to cn`est nouriture on your table Ca` but you and I work to put food packages on our table 7 · August 11, 11:30

Fleeo Blankok But already in jobs that are not European in Africa, may ince the money that you want to win like that nourisse August 12, 4:16 p.m.

Duch’s GaG Kna Between tps population has no stable current or clean running water …. Distraction always distractions in this country is crazy. 6 · August 11, 6:05

Net Baise People are suffering everywhere … if you have your money, no ‘forbidden to build … August 11, 3:46 p.m.

Duch’s GaG Kna Hmmm bn reasoning frcht Bravo !! But your comment tpx do with another person not the tps to discuss with you thank you in advance …. August 11, 3:48 p.m.

Che Kokesha On Blvrd ex … (Cinemax) cine-polis … Diago stroke in the mail. 5 · August 11, 3:00

Suleiman Muimbayi Ndeko okoki kozala na na yo Raizon Kotala me to pe Komana picture Oyo nazo NDIMA you soki ekoki kozala na cmmune are gombe Aug. 11, 3:06

Ckay Benjamin Good but tjr of blood 3 · August 11, 3:44

Véron Amisso Despite the advance in Congo feet turtle 2 · August 11, 4:07

Suleiman Muimbayi waooow !!! yango site eza na nini please cmmune 2 · August 11, 3:02

Simplice Kitenge Private building Mr Kinduelo nothing to do with the program dear government 1 · August 12, 4:23

Erick Nguwa Let’s be serious, vs do not understand that it is the job that creates one building this building …. Think twice Before you speak 1 · August 12, 3:03

Lamine Monzima Diane this is not normal so I’ll explain: we want to be like Europe but we want to not start where they started ….. they started by plants ….. 1 · August 11, 1:27 p.m.

Beev’s Tubz well kils will leave but Oyo ekotikala botia one can mayele na bino up sorry if I offended the world 1 · August 11, 9:34

But Brezhnev Breji Bilombe gonna k mm 1 · August 11, 8:36

Thierry Deloire Good ezali Ndako has gay! Asoki 1 story for 1 office 2 floor for 2 desktop … Oyebi? C it even 1 · August 11, 6:11

Banaya Congo TJRS RAIS Kabila Mobutu BATU YABA NA Tshisekedi BAZALAKA WAPI PO Basala Eloko YA BOYE LIKUNYA TE NA RAIS Kabila TI 2021 1 · August 11, 5:59

Sasoum Muza building the central government, it’ll be the pr ministerial offices 1 · August 11, 4:34

Serge Seundi is encourager.Tu p ns to post images of kin oasis? 1 · August 11, 3:52

Joel Ngwanza Bo tika wana ba game 1 · August 11, 3:40

Reagan Wanet It gonna be nice if it was for the Congolese state .. There I said tribute to everyone who speaks 5 yard then the building is owned by an individual 1 · August 11, 3:16

Mzee Kalonda Very good work on the part of investors. there 3:00

From Mzee Kalonda very good work on the part of investors. Only way to create jobs. there 3:00

Alex Stefano who built this building ?? it’s beautiful. Rakeen buildings? this is how? 17 hours ago

Fleurby Fleurbymbiya the One Bazo Boya kaka Pona soni but motema na na nao NDIMA bango Eloko eza nd wana ba po bango ezo sopa kosa biso Congo Eza mbongo yako na tonga tse but Rais APPROVES bango otherwise Congratulation government with President jkk Aug. 12, 9:08

Dieudo Kam’s just my old Tchamala c. Aug. 12, 8:24

Robert Amisi Watimbwa is the work of a Congolese businessman who has nothing to do with politics, it encouragement she needs! Aug. 12, 5:43

Aristide Nsimba How to draw the building? Aug. 12, 1:41

Thierry Tutona boye ndeeeé ezalaka. August 11, 10:09 p.m.

Cheval Blanc luxury in misery August 11, 2:40 p.m.

On jiibb Mikili In Case you fucking !!! Band mythos pfffff August 11, 2:06 p.m.

Vincent Mbawa Buildings yes, but not with money stolen from the people. Everyone knows that almost 90% of kin buildings are constructed by politicians with money stolen from the people. August 11, 1:03 p.m.

Kimvula Heir yasolo na nga po Ndimi soki bolobi slab there are ground floor wc is lufelo ok na ti oke oke Aug. 11, 12:14

Bijou Kabedi Wow. A jewelry. C pretty sight! These people have a serious problem. Fix the electricity, provide water and abolish poverty are on the agenda of that? Aug. 11, 7:30

Josue Kenny Oyo Qatar lol Aug. 11, 4:39

Debate Over New Skyscraper in Kinshasa (machine translated by Google)



Paiges Claires, Facebook

4 Juillet 2014 Des employés du cimetière de Kinsuka, qui dépendent du ministère de l'Intérieur, se tiennent à côté de leur bureau délabré_04 Juillet 2014 Des dizaines de maisons ont été détruites dans le cimetière. De nombreux habitants refusent de partir_0

In June and July, soldiers destroyed dozens of houses built in a cemetery in Kinshasa.

Many residents are determined to stay, saying they have nowhere to go or they hold documents proving their ownership.

Cemetery Kinsuka looks like a war zone. Military destroyed in June and July dozens of houses built in the cemetery, located in the district of Kinsuka in south of Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Therèse, 57, stands in front of the ruins of his house, destroyed for the sixth time since she moved there five years. “We are out. I have no home, “she says, warmly dressed for protection from the cold winds of the dry season.

Cemetery Kinsuka was built in 1978 and thousands of people lived there before the arrival of the soldiers, according to Jean-Pierre, an employee responsible for collecting taxes burial. It is not known when the plant started but condemns the phenomenon that lasts for “years.”

Kinsuka is not an exception in the DRC. In other cemeteries in Kinshasa and the provinces such as Bas-Congo (West) or Orientale province (northeast), sometimes civilians – as well as police and military paid little – living among the dead.

A Kinsuka, the soldiers came with tractors to destroy dozens of homes where sometimes lived up to twelve children. They also demolished at least two schools, two health centers, and downed power poles and fruit trees.

They said they had received orders from the “Head of State”, Joseph Kabila, but spared the houses after the owners have paid, tell homeless. In addition, they charged, soldiers hit people, arrests and prevented anyone from filming the destruction.

After the demolition, some have left the cemetery, taking with them intact bricks to ensure that “no one steals them.” Conversely, many stayed and no longer enough to build a makeshift shelter, sleeping under the stars.

Life in Cemetary Disrupted

Kinshasa, DR Congo


Kinshasa: destructions massives d’habitations dans un cimetière, Les Voix Du Monde, 25-07-2014


"The above tree... is from one of the original seeds brought to Kew by Mr H.A. Wickham from the Tapajoz Plateau of Brazil in 1876, and then sent out as a seedling to Ceylon."

Giant Hevea



Woodroffe, Joseph The Rubber Industry Of The Amazon And How It’s Supremacy Can Be Maintained Bale, Sons & Danielson, Ltd, London, 1916 http://archive.org/stream/rubberindustryof00woodrich#page/xlvi/mode/2up


The device contains a compartment underneath for a mouse. Rice stalks are placed in the box with some grains of rice. When the lid is closed the mouse emerges to eat the rice, disturbing the stalks in the process. When the lid is opened the divination is read from the position of the rice stalks.

Mouse divination box, Baule sculpture

Ivory Coast

19th century

anon, Baule, Louvre

This was the populous district of Irebu, the home of the champion traders on the Upper Congo, rivalled only in enterprise by Ubanghi on the right bank… It was, in fact, a Venice of the Congo, seated in the pride of its great numbers between the dark waters of the Lukangu and the deep, brown channels of the parent stream… These people were really acquainted with many lands and tribes of the Upper Congo. From Stanley Pool to Upoto, a distance of 6,000 miles, they knew every landing place on the river banks… They knew the varied lenght of ‘sina’ (‘long’ of cloth), the number of ‘matakos’ (brass rods) they were worth, whether of Savelish, Florentine, unbleached domestic twill, stripe, ticking, blue and white baft; the value of beads per 1,000 strings, as compared with the uncut pieces of sheeting or kegs of gunpowder, or flint-lock muskets, short and long… No wonder that all this commercial knowledge had left its traces on their faces; indeed it is the same as in your own cities in Europe… It is the same in Africa, more especially on the Congo, where the people are so devoted to trade.

Malebo Pool (aka Stanley Pool / Kinshasa / Brazzaville) traders




Morel, Edmund The Black Man’s Burden Metro Books, Inc, Northbrook, 1972 (first published 1920)


Kinshasa Island City Construction



Le Cité Du Fleuve Project

Real Image: 3D Architectural Animation and Live Footage – La Cité Du Fleuve



Real Image : 3D Architectural Animation and Live Footage – La Cité Du Fleuve

Cemetery State Trailer



Filip de Boeck, Cemetery State Film Natie, 2010


Rosa May Billinghurst, suffragette and early cyborg woman, utilised the speed intertia of her machine to break police lines.



Hanlon, Sheila http://www.sheilahanlon.com/?p=119 (accessed 2011) via “The Papers of Rosa May Billinghurst” The Women’s Library, Ref 7RMB via

The ‘multinational’ material organization of the production and reproduction of daily life and the symbolic organization of the production and reproduction of culture and imagination seem equally implicated. It is not clear who makes and who is made in the relation between human and machine. It is not clear what is mind and what body in machines that resolve into coding practices… Biological organisms have become biotic systems, communications devices like others.

Cyborg writing is about the power to survive, not on the basis of original innocence, but on the basis of seizing the tools to mark the world that marked them as other.

The tools are often stories, retold stories, versions that reverse and displace the hierarchical dualisms of naturalized identities. In retelling origin stories, cyborg authors subvert the central myths of origin of Western culture. We have all been colonized by those origin myths, with their longing for fulfillment in apocalypse. The phallogocentric origin stories most crucial for feminist cyborgs are built into the literal technologies – technologies that write the world, biotechnology and microelectronics – that have recently textualized our bodies as code problems on the grid of C3I. Feminist cyborg stories have the task of recoding communication and intelligence to subvert command and control.

A Cyborg Manifesto



Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century,” in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York; Routledge, 1991), pp.149-181


These numbers are control signals for:

Woodroffe to go to the Amazon seeking wealth as a middle manager.

His sacking on arrival in the upper reaches.

Demise of the peonage system in the Amazon due to plantation system in Malaysia.

Importation of Japanese labour to Brazil and Peru.

Japanese invasion of Malaysia and Singapore and bombing of Pearl Harbour to prevent US Navy support for Britain.

Malaysia Plantation Rubber out competes Amazon and Congo tapping




Zephyr, Frank Stanford University and Aldo Musacchio, Ibmec São Paulo The International Natural Rubber Market, 1870-1930 Economic History Association, 2010

Vista da fábrica com caixa d'agua ao fundo

Fordlandia On Google Map

Vista da fábrica com caixa d'agua ao fundo

Fordlandia, Brazil


Soares, Denio Vista da fábrica com caixa d'agua ao fundo Panoramio

Foremen were powerless to stop workers getting on boats and leaving. Most refused to say why they were quitting…Other Americans who spent time on the plantation thought the low retention rate had to do with the fact that living was too easy in the bountiful jungle, or at least they thought it was… If daily life could simply be picked off a tree, there was little incentive to harness the resources of the jungle to set prductive forces loose. “When they got a little money they would just take off,” the Michigan wife of one early Fordlandia administrator recalled. Workers would amble into the woods and bring “out avocados which grew wild. Wild bananas are sweet, yellow and are used for desserts. The natives would bring back grapefruits, oranges and papaya and lima beans… beans grow about ten times the size of their Michigan relatives. The orange was bigger than the grapefruit… Fishing was wonderful. This give syou an idea of how simple it was for the natives to live.”… That Ford paid wages, as opposed to advancing credit, did seem to undercut the plantation’s ability to ensure a stable labor force. Once a worker accumulated enough savings to live on for a few months, there was little incentive to stop him from returning home to his family and tending to his crops. “There was nothing down there to absorb their earnings,” said Ernest Liebold, acknowledging that the Amazon lacked a key ingredient of Fordism: something to buy. David Riker, who for a time served as one of Fordlandia’s labor recruiters, had a similar view. He had difficulty finding workers, since as long as Brazilians could live without wages they resisted the ‘Ford Machine.’

Fordlandia On Google Map

Failure of Fordlandia

Fordlandia, Brazil



pp150-151 Grandin, Greg Fordlandia, The Rise And Fall Of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City Metropolitan Books, NY, 2009

If you were asked, “What did Columbus discover in 1492?” you would have but one answer. But what he discovered on his second voyage is not quite so easy to say. He was looking for gold when he landed on the island of Hayti on that second trip. So his eyes were blind to the importance of a simple game which he saw being played with a ball that bounced by some half-naked Indian boys on the sand between the palm trees and the sea. Instead of the coveted gold, he took back to Europe, just as curiosities, some of the strange black balls given him by these Indian boys. He learned that the balls were made from the hardened juice of a tree…

For many years people only laughed at Wickham’s great idea, but like Goodyear he had faith enough to persevere. While in Brazil he planted some rubber seeds to see what would happen. The seeds DID grow, and the book which Wickham wrote about his idea and his experiments finally came into the hands of Sir Joseph Hooker, the Director of the Botanical Gardens in Kew, near London. So interested did he become that he called Wickham’s plan to the attention of the Government of India, and finally Wickham was commissioned to take a cargo of rubber seeds to England, so that his idea might be tried out.

This commission was more difficult than one might think, and all of Wickham’s faith and perseverance were needed to carry it out. Indeed for a time it seemed hopeless, principally because the seeds so quickly dry up and lose their vitality that they must be planted very soon after being gathered.

But Wickham watched his opportunity, and finally he was able to charter a ship in the name of the Indian Government. About a third of the way up the Amazon River he placed in her hold several thousand carefully packed seeds of the Hevea Braziliensis, or rubber tree. Let Wickham, himself, tell how he surmounted the next difficulty:

“We were bound to call in at the city of Para as the port of entry, in order to obtain clearance papers for the ship before we could go to sea. Any delay would have rendered my precious freight quite valueless and useless. But again fortune favored. I had a ‘friend at court’ in the person of Consul Green, who went himself with me to call on the proper official, and supported me as I presented to His Excellency ‘my difficulty and anxiety, being in charge of, and having on board a ship anchored out in the stream, exceedingly delicate botanical specimens, especially designated for delivery to Her Britannic Majesty’s own Royal Garden of Kew. Even while doing myself the honor of thus calling on His Excellency, I had given orders to the captain of the ship to keep up steam, having ventured to trust His Excellency would see his way clear to furnishing me with immediate dispatch. An interview most polite, full of mutual compliments in the best Portuguese manner, enabled us to get under way as soon as the captain had got the dinghy hauled aboard.”

Can you imagine Wickham’s sigh of relief as his vessel, with its freight of perishable treasure, steamed out of port, and began the long journey to England?

The transporting of the rubber seeds from the Brazilian forests to England was only the first step in Wickham’s project. The real test was still to come. The seeds were planted in the famous Botanical Gardens of Kew, and on August 12, 1876, the several thousand seedlings which had been raised from them were packed in special cases and shipped to Ceylon on the other side of the globe for the final and most important stage of the experiment.

How long the next five years must have seemed to the anxious Wickham, for it was that long before the first rubber tree flowered in the gardens at Heneratgoda, sixteen miles from Colombo, where the trees had finally been planted. In this year, 1881, experiments in tapping began, and it was plain that Wickham’s dream was to be realized.

From these few trees, so carefully tended in their youth, has sprung the whole rubber industry of Ceylon and the Far East. Wickham must indeed have been proud to see the plantations spreading from Ceylon to Malaya, where rubber was eagerly taken up by planters who were despairing of ever making a living out of coffee, and later to Sumatra and Java and Borneo. To-day rubber plantations cover an area of over 3,000,000 acres, with a yearly output of almost 360,000 tons, or about ten times the average yearly output of “wild rubber.”

From Kew Gardens To Malaya

London, Malaysia

early 20th Century

Martin, John (ed) The Romance Of Rubber The United States Rubber Company

Malaysia: Tanah Merah Rubber plantation 1952


Malaysia: Tanah Merah Rubber plantation 1952, uploaded 2009


Japanese troops advancing on bicycles, Malaya, circa Dec 1941-Feb 1942





C. Peter Chen, WWII Database


Capitanias, 1574 Luís Teixeira – Biblioteca da Ajuda (Lisboa)

Biblioteca da Ajuda (Lisboa)



Luís Teixeira, 1574


Portugul in Asia

Biblioteca da Ajuda (Lisboa)



Anonymous, Asia Oceania

Visualizing Ocean Shipping




Visualizing Ocean Shipping, Ben Schmidt, 2012


Dessert, National Lampoon, July 1974, Vol. 1, No. 52




Dessert, National Lampoon, July 1974, Vol. 1, No. 52


Standard Of Ur

Ur, Mesopotamia

2600 BC

2400 BC

British Museum via BBC

Wicked Babylon




Count Ossie And The Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari




Mishima, Yukio Patriotism 1966

Threnody For The Victims Of Hiroshima


Hiroshima, Japan


Penderecki, Threnody For The Victims Of Hiroshima

“Ue o Muite Aruko” (????????), “I Look Up As I Walk” aka ‘Sukiyaki’

I look up to keep the tears from falling. I look up to stop the rain.


Hiroshima, Japan


Kyu Sakamoto, Sukiyaki

Ken Saro Wiwa’s Last Interview



Without Walls Interview With Ken Saro-Wiwa

Dead Men Don’t Bite




Mr B. Basi and Company, 'Dead Men Don’t Bite'




Saro-wiwa, Ken Sozaboy: A Novel In Rotten English Longman, Harlow, 1994


Gaki-zoshi (Scroll of the Hungry Ghosts)

Rengeô-in (commonly known as Sanjûsangendô)



Kyoto National Museum


Population Data 21 June2014




Data from World Bank, Google Data Explorer

When they settle themselves in any country, they cut down as many palms as will serve them wine for a month : and then as many more, so that in a little time they spoil the country. They stay no longer in a place than it will afford them maintenance. And then in harvest-time they arise, and settle themselves in the fruitfullest place they can find ; and do reap their enemy’s corn, and take their cattle. For they will not sow, nor plant, nor bring up any cattle, more than they take by wars.^ When they come into any country that is strong, which they cannot the first day conquer, then their General buildeth his fort, and remaineth sometimes a month or two quiet.

The women are very fruitful, but they enjoy none of their children : for as soon as the woman is delivered of her child, it is presently buried quick [alive], so that there is not one child brought up in all this generation. But when they take any town they keep the boys and girls of thirteen or fourteen years of age as their own children. But the men and women they kill and eat. These little boys they train up in the wars, and hang a collar about their necks for a disgrace, which is never taken off till he proveth himself a man, and bring his enemy’s head to the General : and then it is taken off and he is a freeman, and is called Gonso or soldier. This maketh them all desperate, and forward to be free, and counted men : and so they do increase.

Description of Imbangala



Battel, Andrew The strange adventures of Andrew Battell of Leigh, in Angola and the adjoining regions The Hakluyt Society, London, 1901


Queen Nzinga of Ndongo, portrait




Wikimedia Commons, source unknown

“On Saturday, one of my muenho servants arrived here and told me that in Ambaca a large force had gathered, waiting for Your Honour to move against me to free the Portuguese held in captivity. Nothing is accomplished by force and to do so would bring both me and them harm because everything can be done peacefully and without force. And if some of the lords who have settled here have incurred heavy debts and have put it in the minds of Your Honour and the governor that you should wage war in order to get out of debt, they are welcome to do so, but I do not want to make war with the captain…

I ask that Your Honour send me a hammock, and four ells of red wool for a cover, a horse blanket, and good wine, and an arroba of wax for candles, and half a dozen lengths of muslin, and two or three lace tableclothes, and some purple, wine-colored, and blue garnets, and a large broad-brim hat made of blue velvet, or the one Your Honour wears, and four measures of paper.” Letter from Queen Nzinga of Ndongo to Bento Banha Cardoso, March 3, 1626 – p43 Afro-Latino Voices

“It would be worth even more if I were allowed to live in peace and quiet, bringing my markets closer to the coast, so the pombeiros need not go through so much trouble to bring their wares so far, and I could enjoy them at a cheaper price. Finally, I trust with God that Your Lordship will be in His Majesty’s good graces only if you leave me in peace and tranquillity and conquer Quissama, a thing that no governor has earned the glory of accomplishing…

I also give my word that as soon as the reverend fathers arrive with my sister, I will immediately endeavor to allow women to give birth to and raise their children, which I have not permitted until now because we have been living in the countryside, in quilombos. This would not happen if we had a firm and lasting peace. It would take only a few years for my lands to be repopulated as they once were, for up to now I have taken as servants only people from other provinces and nations that I have conquered, and they have obeyed me as if I were their native queen, some out of love and others out of fear.”p48

“The satisfaction of so many losses as he caused me should be good enough reason for him to remain in my service a few years longer. Nevertheless, so great is my desire to see my sister again that as soon as Captain Manuel Frois Peixoto arrives in my court, I will give the said Jaga permission to leave with him and place himself at his orders. Of this you can be certain, as well as of the aid I promised to give you in Quissama, should Your Honour need it…

With respect to the two hundred slaves Your Lordship requests as ransom for my sister Dona Barbara, that is a very exacting price, particularly since I have already given the slaves Your Honor must know of to past governors and envoys, to say nothing of my gifts to secretaries and servants from your noble house and to many settlers whose treachery I still endure to this day. What I am so bold as to offer Your Honour is one hundred and thirty slaves, a hundred of whom I will send as soon as my sister reaches Ambaca.” Letter from Queen Ana Njinga to the Governor General of Angola, December 13, 1665 – pp47-49

Letters from Queen Nzinga of Ndongo




McKnight, Kathryn (ed) Afro-Latino Voices: narratives from the early modern Ibero-Atlantic world, 1550-1812 Hackett Publishing Company, Indianapolis, 2009

Map of location of Mbanza Kongo, capital of the old Kingdom of Kongo

Angola, Congo



Google maps

Map of Kinshasa



Google maps


King Dom Garcia II of Kongo Receiving Capuchin Missionaries, 1648

Angola, Congo


Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi, Istorica Descrizione de Tre Regni Congo, Matamba, et Angola (Milan, 1690)


Don Alvaro, King of Kongo, Receving Dutch Delegation, 1642

Angola, Congo


Thomas Astley A New General Collection of Voyages and Travels (London, 1745to47)

Let us take you as an example. You reside in England. Can one say that you are immersed amongst the English? No, you select a restricted number of people with whom you are more ‘intimate’ (I do not like that word) than with others. These are persons who touch you in one way or the other, for example, professionally. You probably could not feel at ease in such and such a bar, amongst such and such a group. And it is like theat everywhere. When you come to my house for an interview, are you immersed? There remains between us a distance [an enormous distance] – ‘Milnaert’ p173

There were moments – it happened often at night – when all strategies and obstacles were lifted. Then the only thing which remained was men talking to each other. Vansina enjoyed such moments, but so did your informants, although perhaps less frequently. In these moments, ethere were not more Blacks and now more Whites, no ethnologist and not ethnologised, no administrator and no administered. There were men in contact with each other. I mean, there was a pure contact between them. This is what Tancre Van Leeuw calls a state of ‘grace': functions and obligations do not matter; we are there as two men on earth. Such a state is not false, it is true. – ‘Milnaert, p175

She lives in a world which has (partially) ‘resolved’ the colonial question. A world which on the whole qualifies colonialism as a sin. A world which enjoys security and therefore gets irritated with any military burden. A world which is incredibly rich, sufficiently affluent to eliminate below-subsistence levels (years of full employment); sufficiently scientifically developed to consider itself capable of resolving any problem in the future. A world whose coherence is not seen to derive from groups but which encourages its dispersion in a multitude of dust-like individuals so autonomous that they come to resent any constraining factor. A world where ‘power’ and discipline are considered to be ‘constraints’. – ‘Milnaert’ p181

Former Belgian Colonial Administrator’s comments to Anthropologist

Belgium, DRC



Dembour, Marie-Benedicte Recalling The Belgian Congo Berghahn Books, NY, 2000

Captain Wawn was a recruiting ship-master during many years. From his pleasant book one gets the idea that the recruiting business was quite popular with the islanders, as a rule. And yet that did not make the business wholly dull and uninteresting; for one finds rather frequent little breaks in the monotony of it—like this, for instance: "The afternoon of our arrival at Leper Island the schooner was lying almost becalmed under the lee of the lofty central portion of the island, about three-quarters of a mile from the shore. The boats were in sight at some distance. The recruiter-boat had run into a small nook on the rocky coast, under a high bank, above which stood a solitary hut backed by dense forest. The government agent and mate in the second boat lay about 400 yards to the westward. Suddenly we heard the sound of firing, followed by yells from the natives on shore, and then we saw the recruiter-boat push out with a seemingly diminished crew. The mate's boat pulled quickly up, took her in tow, and presently brought her alongside, all her own crew being more or less hurt. It seems the natives had called them into the place on pretence of friendship. A crowd gathered about the stern of the boat, and several fellows even got into her. All of a sudden our men were attacked with clubs and tomahawks. The recruiter escaped the first blows aimed at him, making play with his fists until he had an opportunity to draw his revolver. 'Tom Sayers,' a Mare man, received a tomahawk blow on the head which laid the scalp open but did not penetrate his skull, fortunately. 'Bobby Towns,' another Mare boatman, had both his thumbs cut in warding off blows, one of them being so nearly severed from the hand that the doctors had to finish the operation. Lihu, a Lifu boy, the recruiter's special attendant, was cut and pricked in various places, but nowhere seriously. Jack, an unlucky Tanna recruit, who had been engaged to act as boatman, received an arrow through his forearm, the head of which—apiece of bone seven or eight inches long—was still in the limb, protruding from both sides, when the boats returned. The recruiter himself would have got off scot-free had not an arrow pinned one of his fingers to the loom of the steering-oar just as they were getting off. The fight had been short but sharp. The enemy lost two men, both shot dead." The truth is, Captain Wawn furnishes such a crowd of instances of fatal encounters between natives and French and English recruiting-crews (for the French are in the business for the plantations of New Caledonia), that one is almost persuaded that recruiting is not thoroughly popular among the islanders; else why this bristling string of attacks and bloodcurdling slaughter? The captain lays it all to "Exeter Hall influence." But for the meddling philanthropists, the native fathers and mothers would be fond of seeing their children carted into exile and now and then the grave, instead of weeping about it and trying to kill the kind recruiters. - chapter 5

Twain, Mark on Blackbirding Following the Equator



Mark Twain, 1897, "Following the Equator, A Journey Around the World", chapters V and VI

I have spent more money on art than any other monarch of my time, and they know it. Do they speak of it, do they tell about it? No, they do not. They prefer to work up what they call 'ghastly statistics' into offensive kindergarten object lessons, whose purpose is to make sentimental people shudder, and prejudice them against me.

Each time the corporal goes out to get rubber, cartridges are given him. He must bring back all not used, and for every one used he must bring back a right hand. M.P. told me that sometimes they shot a cartridge at an animal in hunting; they then cut off a hand from a living man.

Twain, Mark King Leopold's Soliliquy



Twain, Mark King Leopold's Soliliquy 1905


The Artist and Object

Pompidou Centre


‘The Artist and the Object’ plaque, Une histoire, art, architecture et design, des années 80 à aujourd’hui, From July, 2 2014 to March, 7 2016


“It is probably a bad thing that, for a long time, we have not been in contact with our own culture and that, subsequently, occidental culture was not placed at its real level… Today the problem is global. No population can find its salvation by detaching itself from others. Either we are saved together or we disappear together.”

R. Tagore quote

Pompidou Centre


‘R. Tagore quote’ plaque, Une histoire, art, architecture et design, des années 80 à aujourd’hui, From July, 2 2014 to March, 7 2016

When the first Europeans arrived in Kongo in 1483, the Kongo regarded them as water or earth spirits of the mbumba dimentions. It was understandable that they should do so. They looked like albinos, who were venerated as water spirits; they came from the sea which, with other stretches of water, constituted the ideal barrier between this and the other world; they spoke a strange langauge, as the kimpassi cult initiates did, and they brought rich gifts unknown to ‘this’ world…p50

Within a few years of the initial baptisms, most of the Mwissikongo title-holders, together with the junior members of the central kanda and the mani Vunda, had redefined the new cult as kindoki, witchcraft, the destructive aspect of nkadi mbemba power. p52

The evolution of the Mpumbu market restored Afonso’s political and economic dominance. First, Tio, not Kongo, organised the supply. This reduced the dangers incurred in direct trade between the Portuguese and Kongo vassals. Second, the Mpumbu supplies were abundant and cheap. This drastically reduced the traders’ incentive to seek slaves in the Kongo provinces. Third, the traders had to pass through Mbanza Kongo, which commanded the route between Mpinda on the Sonyo coast and the Pool, and which became a base for the Mpumbu operations. Some Portuguese and later, mulattos, call pombeiros began to specialise in trading in the interior, sending the slaves they purchased to Mbanza Kongo or to Mpinda. Other Portuguese resided in these towns. They acted as agents for the pombeiros and also owned slaves that they send to the interior to trade on their own account. Fourthly, and most importantly, the Tio demanded nzimbu shells which the Portuguese had to buy from the mani Kongo. This largely restored Afonso’s monopoly on European imports, his dominance of the Atlantic trade and his traditional position at the apex of teh Kongo redistributive system. The markets at Malebo Pool dominated the supply of slaves through Kongo until after the ‘Jaga’ invasion of the late sixteenth century. -p59

In the early 1630s Nzinga, the female hoder of the ngola a kiluanje title, conquered Matamba and furthered its integration into the Luanda economic system. Nzinga had organized her followers on radically new lines following the example fo the Imbangala kilombo, which traditionally organised states found difficult to resist. In addition she probably had guns, for in the later 1630s gunpowder was one of her major imports. She conquered Matamba during the vulnerable period following the succession of a new muhongo Matamba and the death of a kambole and applied Imbangala methods of military organisation to extend her territories. She blocked a Luanda trade route which had developed in the 1620s to the new Imbangala state of Kasanje and she drew slaves from a large part of the upper and probably of the middle Kwango too. The Portuguese developed a new trade route from Luanda through the defeated ngola a kiluanje to Nzinga Matamba. By 1641 most of the slaves exported from Luanda were said to have come from Nzinga Matamba, an estimated 12,000-13,000 per year…By the mid-seventeenth century Nzinga had become so powerful that she posed a military threat to Kongo.pp110-112

According to one mid-seventeenth-century observer, if someone smashed or lost a borrowed calabash in Mbata, the owner would refuse to accept another or even several calabashes, insisting on the return of the original. Eventually, the offender would offer a slave. Similarly, if someone at a pig or a chicken belonging to another, the injured party would argue the chicken laid eggs, and from the eggs came chicks, which would also multiply, so that the loss equalled a slave or more… Exploitation of these new sources of slaves produced a dramatic rise in the proportion of slaves to free over the whole of the nuclear kingdom…Unlike the slaves of the pre-Atlantic period, these slaves were regarded less as clients and more as commodities which could be sold at any time to the Atlantic traders…An important consequence of this growth in internal Kongo enslavement was that provincial title-holders attracted clients, for whilst they could easily acquire captives or condemned people and convert them into European or other goods, it was less easy to convert them into loyal followers who would support their political aspirations. In this respect freed slaves were more dependable. Consequently, powerful men encouraged slaves to flee their masters and to seek protection with them. They offered freedom, in exchange for which the ex-slave paid a fee.p123

Kingdom of Kongo

DRC, Angola



Hilton, Anne The Kingdom Of Kongo Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1985


Battle of Waterloo



Antiqua Print Gallery


The Western Front 1915-17




Somme Battlefield Tours


Partition of Africa



“Africa1898?. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons


Bantu Languages Of Africa



Derek, Nurse and Tucker, Irene (cartographer) A Survey Report for the Bantu Languages, SIL International, 2001


Alexander von Humboldt’s Geography of Plants, 1805



Entworfen von A. von Humbold, gezeichnet 1805 in Paris von Schönberger und Turpin, gestochen von Bouquet, die Schrift von L. Aubert, gedruckt von Langlois


Isothermal chart, or, View of climates & productions / drawn from the accounts of Humboldt & others, by W.C. Woodbridge



Isothermal chart, or, View of climates & productions / drawn from the accounts of Humboldt & others, by W.C. Woodbridge

Performance “3éme Ruelle” de Julie Djikey sur 24 novembre



julie djikey Kimpanga, Youtube, 2013





Maitre, Pascal Urban Pulse of the Congo


Remains of Mbanza Kongo

Kingdom of Kongo, Angola


emoura2000, Igreja MBanza Kongo https://www.flickr.com/photos/8920358@N08/542997586/


Every time I want to speak, you put your foot in my mouth. Explanation: I cannot say anything or argue because you never let me speak.

Woyo Proverb Lid



Unknown Woyo Sculptor, Woyo Proverb Lids, Royal Museum For Central Africa, 1946


Building Cité du Fleuve



Filip De Boeck, “Cite du Fleuve, Kinshasa.” March 2012


Waral K’iche’ u b’i’.

WARAL xchiqatz’ib’aj 1 wi, 2

Xchiqatikib’a’ wi ojer tzij,

U tikarib’al,

U xe’nab’al puch,


Here Quiché its name.

HERE we shall write,

We shall plant ancient word,

Its planting,

Its root-beginning as well,

Popul Vuh, Literal Transcription


pre columbian

Christenson, Allen J (trans) Popul Vu: Literal Translation, Mesoweb Publications, http://www.mesoweb.com/publications/Christenson/PV-Literal.pdf (accessed 26 Oct 2010)


Mixtec Codex, Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus



Anon (Mixtec), Codex Vindobensis Mexicanus Foundation For The Advancement Of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc.



Maya Codex, Dresden Codex

Guatemala, Mexico


Anon (Yucatecan Maya) Dresden Codex Foundation For The Advancement Of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc.

THEN was the arrival of the messengers of One Death and Seven Death:

“Go you war councilors247 to summon One Hunahpu and Seven Hunahpu. Tell them when you arrive, ‘Thus say the lords: They must come, say the lords to you. They must come here to play ball with us that we may be invigorated by them. Truly we are amazed greatly at them. Thus they must come, say the lords. May they bring hither their implements—their yokes, their arm protectors, and their rubber ball248 as well. Thus say the lords,’ tell them when you arrive there,” the messengers were told.

These messengers were the owls249 —Arrow Owl, One Leg Owl, Macaw Owl, and Skull Owl—for so the messengers of Xibalba were called. This Arrow Owl was like the arrow, piercing.250 This One Leg Owl merely had one leg, but there were his wings. This Macaw Owl had a red back, and there were also his wings. Now this Skull Owl only had a skull with no legs; there were merely wings. The burden251 of these four messengers was to be the war councilors. Thus they arrived there from Xibalba. They arrived suddenly, perching atop the ballcourt.252

One Hunahpu and Seven Hunahpu were playing ball at the court that was called Honor and Respect253 at Carchah254 when they came. The owls, therefore, alighted atop the ballcourt, where they delivered in order the words of One Death and Seven Death, Pus Demon and Jaundice Demon, Bone Staff and Skull Staff, Flying Scab and Gathered Blood, Sweepings Demon and Stabbings Demon, Wing and Packstrap. For these are the names of all the lords. Thus the owls repeated their words.

“Are these not the words of the lords One Death and Seven Death?”

“Those are the words that they said,” replied the owls. “We shall surely be your companions. ‘You shall bring all the gaming things,’ say the lords.”

Popul Vuh, translation

Guatemala, Mexico


Christenson, Allen J. (trans) Popul Vuh Mesoweb, 2003

The artist: a Toltec, disciple, resourceful, diverse, restless.

The true artist, capable, well trained, expert;

he converses with his heart, finds things with his mind.

The true artist draws from his heart; he works with delight;

does things calmly, with feeling; works like a Toltec;

invents things, works skillfully, creates; he arranges things;

adorns them; reconciles them.

Nahuatl Poem

Pre Columbian

Códice Matritense de la Real Academia via p174 León-Portilla, Miguel Pre-Columbian Literatures Of Mexico University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1986.

Will I have to go like the flowers that perish?

Will nothing remain of my name?

Nothing of my fame here on earth?

At least my flowers, at least my songs!

Earth is the region of the fleeing moment.

Is it also thus in the place

where in some way one lives?

Is there joy there, is there friendship?

Or is it only here on earth

we come to know our faces?

Nahuatl Poem

Pre Columbian

Tecayehuatzin via pp81-82 p174 León-Portilla, Miguel Pre-Columbian Literatures Of Mexico University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1986


Ximenez, K’Iche Transcription and Spanish Translation of Popul Vuh




Ximénez, Francisco. Historia de la provincia de San Vicente de Chiapa y Guatemala de la orden de predicadores. Ed. Carmelo Sáenz de Santa María. 2 vols. Mexico: Consejo Estatal para la Cultura y las Artes de Chiapas, 1999

Beyond the fish the sea was left on its own. The roots had attended the funeral of the comets in the vast plains of things now bloodless, and they were wearied and unable to sleep. No way to foresee the attack. To prevent the attack. Leaves falling and fish jumping. The rhythm of plants’ breathing shortened and the sap froze on contact with the icy blood of the elastic attackers.

The Wizards Of The Spring Storm, Asturias


p 84, Asturias, Miguel Leyendas de Guatemala Cátedra, Madrid, 1995

The sun had not yet finished rising. There was only the sound made by the earth as it turns, interrupted, perhaps, by the flight of a bird or the sliding of a snake.

I was coming from my house. At my side I carried a sack of seeds, and in a little bag tied around my neck I had feathers whose colors changed as one moved them.

The Rain And Other Children, Rey Rosa


Rey Rosa, Rodrigo The Beggars Knife Peter Owen, London, 1988


is like leaves.

Some fall

others are born.

They stop being leaves

only when the tree

stops being a tree

Like The Leaves, Ak’Abal


Ak’Abal, Humberto Like The LeavesWords Without Borders, 2003-2013

San Soleil



Marker, Chris San Soleil 1983












Father Teaching Asmat people ‘how to survive in the modern world’

New Guinea


Abrams, Ira R. & Jordan, William H. The Asmat of New Guinea: a case study in religion and magic Coast Community College District, U.S., 1983





Father: What do you want to buy?

Daughter: I want an iPod.

Father: That’s expensive. We have put aside $200 of your savings. You will have to pay us back the rest. $1 – That’s your salary. Do you want to wash up?

Daughter: Yes.

Father teaching daughter ‘how to survive in the modern world’




The Lie

Go, Soul, the body’s guest,

Upon a thankless errand;

Fear not to touch the best;

The truth shall be thy warrant:

Go, since I needs must die,

And give the world the lie.

Say to the court, it glows

And shines like rotten wood;

Say to the church, it shows

What’s good, and doth no good:

If church and court reply,

Then give them both the lie.

Tell potentates, they live

Acting by others’ action;

Not loved unless they give,

Not strong but by a faction.

If potentates reply,

Give potentates the lie.

Tell men of high condition,

That manage the estate,

Their purpose is ambition,

Their practice only hate:

And if they once reply,

Then give them all the lie.

Tell them that brave it most,

They beg for more by spending,

Who, in their greatest cost,

Seek nothing but commending.

And if they make reply,

Then give them all the lie.

Tell zeal it wants devotion;

Tell love it is but lust;

Tell time it metes but motion;

Tell flesh it is but dust:

And wish them not reply,

For thou must give the lie.

Tell age it daily wasteth;

Tell honour how it alters;

Tell beauty how she blasteth;

Tell favour how it falters:

And as they shall reply,

Give every one the lie.

Tell wit how much it wrangles

In tickle points of niceness;

Tell wisdom she entangles

Herself in overwiseness:

And when they do reply,

Straight give them both the lie.

Tell physic of her boldness;

Tell skill it is pretension;

Tell charity of coldness;

Tell law it is contention:

And as they do reply,

So give them still the lie.

Tell fortune of her blindness;

Tell nature of decay;

Tell friendship of unkindness;

Tell justice of delay:

And if they will reply,

Then give them all the lie.

Tell arts they have no soundness,

But vary by esteeming;

Tell schools they want profoundness,

And stand too much on seeming:

If arts and schools reply,

Give arts and schools the lie.

Tell faith it’s fled the city;

Tell how the country erreth;

Tell manhood shakes off pity

And virtue least preferreth:

And if they do reply,

Spare not to give the lie.

So when thou hast, as I

Commanded thee, done blabbing–

Although to give the lie

Deserves no less than stabbing–

Stab at thee he that will,

No stab the soul can kill.

The Lie



The Lie, Sir Walter Raleigh, 1592

It became not the former fortune, in which I once lived, to go journeys of picory (marauding); it had sorted ill with the offices of honour, which by her Majesty’s grace I hold this day in England, to run from cape to cape and from place to place, for the pillage of ordinary prizes. Many years since I had knowledge, by relation, of that mighty, rich, and beautiful empire of Guiana, and of that great and golden city, which the Spaniards call El Dorado…

El Dorado

Mythical Land


Sir Walter Raleigh, The Discovery Of Guiana, Project Gutenberg, 2013 (first published 1595)