By Jacques Depelchin
To whomever wants to listen to the voice of conscience in the Democratic Republic of Congo, be they from the DRC or other countries, it is clear that these voices of conscience emanate from the majority of the Congolese population, revolted by a fraudulent and criminal electoral process. It would be wrong to only see the hierarchical role of the Catholic Church in this revolt. Revolt is not too strong a word to describe the goings-on in DRC. The roots of this revolt are multiple, profound and secular. Belittling the importance of this revolt of consciences, as many press organs have tried to do, illustrates the degree of unconsciousness of forces which, from generation to generation, have enriched themselves on the back of the Congolese people.
It can be observed, even from a distance, that this time round the revolted consciences are organizing themselves in a manner to ensure that change in DRC does not experience the failings that have always marked the most historic of transitions in Africa. The iron fist, which is now clenched, can lead to a separation with secular practices, which have led today’s humanity to the point where its obsolescence is no longer a fact of philosophical speculation but rather one that challenges any person of conscience, anguished by the current situation of humanity, obsessed by the search for material profit through the imposition of the law of the strongest in all and everywhere.
Be it in DRC, Europe, Asia, in rich or poor countries, revolted consciences express the same message; that the dictatorship of corruption, injustice, falsehood and finance should cease. What should also cease are the attempts to liquidate the most vulnerable by the most rich. That the recourse to charity, humanitarianism to buy the most faithful of revolted consciences to maintain justice, truth and humanity should end.
These revolted consciences say that they have had enough of twisting of words which say one thing yet systematically practice the contrary. That justice and truth should prevail with neither division nor negotiation. For these revolted consciences, one objective seems to dominate; faultless fidelity to justice and truth that is defended patiently will put an end to all practises of corruption. So why think that the revolted consciences of the Congolese are carriers of ideas that are completely new?
A GLANCE OF DRC’S PLANS A AND B
The architects of dictatorship are frantically looking to implement Plan B given that Plan A, which entailed corrupting the elections, did not work as they hoped it would. Plan B should, for the dictator and his allies, compulsorily produce the results intended in Plan A.
The act of enriching oneself on back of the Congolese people is not a recent thing. To better resist future Plan Bs, it is important to recall that the history of Congo is specific as it is generic. Before the traffickers of black people decided to use Africa as their privileged hunting ground in search for slaves, their predatory concerns had reduced the indigenous population of the New World to a fraction of what it was before their arrival in 1492. (See Ch. Mann, 1491, David Stannard, The American Holocaust).
The practices of corrupting justice and truth go back 51 years, when the heirs of the enriched ones organized themselves to assassinate Patrice Emery Lumumba because he had committed himself to being true to justice and truth in defence of the interests of the Congolese people. There has always been only one humanity. By killing Lumumba, the ones who have enriched themselves on the back of the Congolese people were also killing a member of humanity.
In the period of our interest, the last half-century, the dictatorship of injustice and falsehood took its roots in slavery. This type of dictatorship is more powerful than the individuals who escaped the mass destruction of humanity, which started with the industrialization of human trafficking from Africa. The dictators leave, but the system which bore them remains.
Under slavery, colonization and neo-colonization, the dictatorship of injustice and falsehood found itself faced with the believers of justice and truth, known and unknown in the likes of Kimpa Vita, Kimbangu, Lumumba, Mulele, and thousands of others. Should we not then reflect on the lessons from our past? Kimpa Vita burnt alive for having denounced slavery, a body without a resting place; Patrice Emery Lumumba’s body was soaked in a bath of sulphuric acid, another body without a grave. From 2 July 1706 to 17 January 1961 the killing of two people denouncing the dehumanization of a system first termed slavery then colonization. Two consciences revolted by the situation they experienced in their path. Two consciences affirming their humanity but killed for not having bowed to the demands of a system supported by external factors: political, economic and religious.
In all transitions of our history without exception, we find a principal characteristic, notably that those who enriched themselves on the back of the Congolese people have always organized themselves in such a way that the changes do not affect the relations between the rich and the poor. The goal was always to maintain the status quo; Plan A.
In the event of doubt, we should review Louis Sala-Molins’ book (the Black Code or the Ordeal of Canaan p.277) which recalls how during the abolition of slavery, planters and abolitionists were in agreement as Tocqueville so nicely sums this up as follows: ‘If blacks have the right to become free, it is undeniable that colonies have the right to not be destroyed by the freedom of blacks’. Just in case you may think that this is a slip-of-the-tongue, Sala-Molins once again quotes the very Tocqueville: ‘Gentlemen, France will not destroy slavery to have the pain of seeing ruined Whites leaving colonies and Blacks falling back into barbarism’. And again in ‘Little wonder that we do not consider them (Blacks) as an intermediary between brute and man.’
For the nouveau riche, all change is acceptable as long as it does not alter their status, privileges and the power struggle that exists between them and those who have been impoverished, tortured and destroyed by their system. The latter should never fulfil their dream for a just society based on truth and solidarity. Vis-a-vis fidelity, justice, truth, solidarity and humanity, the nouveau riche respond with charity and humanitarianism, in other words relations of submissiveness of the poor towards the rich remain unchanged according to the rules (written or not) by themselves. The rules can even change but the unchangeable rule is that which brings out the submissiveness of the poor towards the rich.
GLOBAL IMPORTANCE OF EVENTS IN DRC
In the hierarchisation of history, the dominant tradition would relegate the history of countries like the DRC to an onlooker’s role. Statistics from the United Nations on the most corrupt countries in the World do not explain the various ways that led to the spread of corruption. Where did the corruption of humanity begin as one and indivisible? Where did the corruption of justice begin, that of truth and humanity?
When will the rich understand that at the origin of their wealth, crimes against humanity were committed; when will they admit that at the origin of their riches there was criminal corruption of justice, corruption of truth and that of humanity; when will a fair and true dialogue between the rich and the poor looking to abandon the hierarchy dictated by the rich begin? Only then will the healing of crimes against humanity begin, crimes that are reproduced every time the rich refuse to acknowledge how their justice and truth have spread in the name of civilisation with the passing of time; justice has transformed into the barbarism that is called globalisation. A barbarity that recreates by changing words; discriminations from acquired mentalities during slavery, colonization and apartheid. With a few rare exceptions, these mentalities are rooted in society because the impunity of injustice and falsehood of the rich remain the law. The revolted consciences of the Congolese people are saying that that kind of mentality should be eradicated.
Jacques Depelchin is executive director of The Otabenga Alliance. Translated from French for Pambazuka News by Caroline Sipalla.