There is a rusty old bridge over a narrow finger of Lake Kivu, which separates Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Walking across it is like taking a journey across two Africas…. On the Rwandan side…freshly painted cubicle…computers…worker bees…. The streets are safe. The street lights even work….a small miracle, especially remarkable because of Rwanda’s recent genocide…and its … lack of resources. …[T]his packed little country is definitely not a land of plenty.
And then on the other side of the bridge is Congo. …a riot of dazzling colors, loud music, drunken border policemen, and … every imaginable kind of fruit and vegetable…. The soil here is some of the most fertile on the planet. And then there are the minerals, Congo’s seemingly limitless supply of them—gold, diamonds, zinc, nickel, cassiterite, copper, cobalt and coltan, old-school and modern gems. But … for the past 12 years and counting, Congo has been the theater of one of the worst civil wars in modern history, a truly continental disaster that has sucked in many of its neighbours … a festering wound in the green heart of Africa.
How could this be?
Jeffrey Gettleman, reviewing Africa’s World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe by Gérard Prunier
Hat tip to @vruba.