Sunday, December 14, 2008

Weekend catch-up

Our first visitor from St Lucia stopped by around November 12 and our guest from the Democratic Republic of Congo clicked this way around November 21. I am behind in my welcomes. In spite of my tardiness, the welcome is hardy. I hope you and your fellow citizens visit again!

The Democratic Republic of Congo was introduced in the Western Central Africa geography post. Here I will add a paragraph related to the river from which the nation takes its name (Wikipedia):
The tropical climate has also produced the Congo River system which dominates the region topographically along with the rainforest it flows through, (though they are not mutually exclusive). The name for the "Congo" state is derived in part from the river. The river basin (meaning the Congo River and all of its myriad tributaries) occupies nearly the entire country and an area of nearly one million square kilometers (400,000 sq mi). The river and its tributaries (major offshoots include the Kasai, Sangha, Ubangi, Aruwimi, and Lulonga) form the backbone of Congolese economics and transportation. They have a dramatic impact on the daily lives of the people.
Democratic Republic of Congo: Healing the Wounds of War (this video is a year old, put out by the International Medical Corps (IMC). It gives us a graphic image of the people's plight.

Here is an excerpt of a report from yesterday by Franz Wild and Bill Varner:
Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Rwanda is supporting rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo, while the Congolese government is arming a Rwandan militia, a United Nations report said yesterday.

The report to the UN Security Council “found evidence that the Rwandan authorities have been complicit in the recruitment of soldiers, including children, have facilitated the supply of military equipment, and have sent officers and units from the Rwandan Defense Forces” to the DRC. The support is for the National Congress for the Defense of the People, or CNDP, led by Laurent Nkunda.

A “Group of Experts” appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to monitor UN sanctions in Congo also cited “extensive collaboration” between Congolese government troops and rebel groups in the country’s North Kivu province that fight against Nkunda, the report said. Groups including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR, are getting government support.

Nkunda says he is fighting to protect Congo’s Tutsi minority from militias such as the ethnic Hutu FDLR that took refuge in the east of the country after participating in the genocide in neighboring Rwanda in 1994. Since August, more than 250,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, the UN said.

The CNDP is accused of war crimes by the UN. Its military leader General Bosco Ntaganda is wanted by the International Criminal Court for recruiting child soldiers.

The Congolese rebels’ funding sources include local and export taxes, payments from landowners in areas they control and the charcoal trade, the report said.
Democratic Republic of Congo - The Faces of Peace

Mi Amor & Basokin of D.R. Congo in Africa

Papa Wemba - Awa Y'okeyi [this is haunting and rather lovely]

Saint Lucia is an island nation in the Lesser Antilles and is named for Saint Lucy of Syracuse whose feast, coincidentally, was yesterday. Wikipedia informs us of the following:
The volcanic island of Saint Lucia is more mountainous than many other Caribbean islands, with the highest point being Mount Gimie, at 950 metres (3,120 ft) above sea level. Two other mountains, the Pitons, form the island's most famous landmark. They are located between Soufrière and Choiseul on the western side of the island. Saint Lucia is also one of the few islands in the world that boasts a drive-in volcano.

The capital is Castries, the official languages are English and Patois. The culture is a blend of African, French, and English. St Lucia is a commonwealth nation.

St Lucia guide

Groovy Soca Music, St Lucia

Zouk - Ai Amor

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