July 03, 2005

Anticlimactic...

So, nothing much happened around the 30th of June. I think a bunch of people died in the neighborhoods around the airport though, which really really sucks. I mean isn't it sad that, instead of people being excited about their independence day, they hole themselves up from fear of civil strife? There were fireworks, midnight of the 29th. People thought the popping sounds were guns going off. Ugh.

On Wednesday, I went home from the office early in order to pack a suitcase and some food cans. On my way home, I had to stop at the intersection de la Gare because the police were putting on a show. Truck after truck full of soldiers armed to the teeth (with cute little sideways berets) were leaving from the corner of the intersection with blinking blue lights, honking and rushing about. I stopped the car to let them by, trying to smile while not bring attention to myself (I did undo my seat belt should I need to leave the car quickly with my hands on my steering wheel--"See I have no radio or anything threatening in my hands!")

We were cooped up in the compound--upon reading my last blog, I realized that I made it sound a whole lot better than it was :) It was safe but allowed us to do insane amounts of work while keeping an ear out for helicopter sounds and radio checks. I'm safe and soooooo glad to be back in my apartment. Yeah!!

Overall, there was a lot more bark than bite.

PS: Someone name Luke emailed me to get info about Congo... I mistakenly erased your email. Could you leave a comment or email me again?

8 comments:

Stephanie said...

Fiou ! J'ai pensé à toi en tout cas et mis le canal des nouvelles en permanence (en faisant des boites...) pour savoir s'il y avait qq. chose qui se passait.
Bisous, xxx

Beaver said...

Happy to know that all is well in AK-47land...

Try to take some time for yourself to relax and ressource, and let all that tension out.

Thinking of you in hot, stormy, firework-ridden Montreal.

Dave and I miss you, we love you. Take care.

007 in Africa said...

Thanks Steph! Thanks Beaver and Dave! I miss y'all too :)

Lorraine said...

I find your comment that "nothing much happened around the 30th of June" rather sad actually; especially when you consider that you continue with the statement that "a bunch of people died in the neighborhoods around the airport". Do you consider the death of peaceful Congolese citizens nothing?

May I suggest that you read at least two of the Kinshasa newspapers Le Potentiel or Le Phare to keep up to date on what is actually happening in the Congo, both in Kinshasa as well as in the interior?

During the latter part of June 3005 the transitional government sanctioned the murder and/or illegal arrest and torture of several members of Opposition parties (PALU, UDPS, etc) in Mbuji Mayi (my old stomping grounds) as well as in other cities in the interior.

What about the UDPS rally on July 9th at le stade Tata Raphaël? Thank Goodness France, Belgium, Canada, the USA and China all put pressure on Kabila and his cronies to let the rally occur without military interference.

007 in Africa said...

Lorraine, I am being very sarcastic here. I understand that the whole issue of politics in the Congo is very charged which is why I don't mention it much. This is my way to deal with the stresses of the country. I appreciate that you follow the events here closely.

The Congolese people have been amazing at keeping damages to a minimum, rallying against trouble-makers and keeping us "foreign" folks safe. Of course I appreciate their courage and the incredible sadness of not being able to celebrate the day of independance of the country in which we live.

Sahara Sarah said...

I would like to second Dorothee's comments. Anyone who's lived here probably understands that we deal with a lot in our work. If we didn't care about human rights, life, Africa, etc, we'd be off making more money and not living thousands of miles away from our loved ones. And yes, for a country that's had one of the most complex conflicts in Africa, where a couple of MILLION of people have died as a result of conflict, that has had the presence of at many invading armies and war criminals, that stills has instability in several areas that could potentially enlarge into larger scale conflict/civil unrest surrounding controversial issues such as the continuation of the transitional, government, i fully agree with the comment that "nothing much did happen regarding the 30th of june." It's a commentary on the bigger picture of war in the Congo, not on our moral fabric.

Beaver said...

Wow ! I had not seen this comment. Clearly this person does not know you, otherwise she would have understood that you are a NGO worker and thus obviously not oblivious to the reality of RDC at all or to human rights, democracy, yaddi yaddi yadda....

To make you feel better, check out this blog :
http://presidentsintern.blogspot.com

Fighting ignorance is a daily and endless struggle *chuckle*

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