Roosevelt Culpability for violence in the Congo published 2020.pdf (3.29 MB)
Culpability for Violence in the Congo: Lessons from the Crisis of 1960–1965
chapterposted on 2023-07-02, 21:33 authored by Anna RooseveltAnna Roosevelt
During Congo’s emergence from colonization in the mid-twentieth century, coups, political assassinations, and ethnic massacres took place that exacerbated inequality and insecurity in the region then and ever since. Some Western literature has essentialized these events, implying that they were a product of African people’s innate disorganization, divisiveness, leftism, and violence. Many of the writings keep to surface appearances rather than probing behind-the-scenes causalities. Evidence from archives, images, memoirs, and interviews, however, reveals a counterintuitive complexity in both the representation and perpetration of the direct and structural violence of the Congo crisis. Very different cultures, financing, technology, and interactions were characteristic of the western state agents who sponsored, organized, took part in, and often wrote about the coups and killings in Congo as opposed to the African functionaries with whom and against whom they worked. This chapter illustrates some of the evidence for these complex and contrasting patterns, offers alternative explanations, and outlines some lessons to be learned from the crisis.