Monday, October 08, 2007

Heart of Darkness

What to do with a place like Africa? If it's not Darfur, it's Ebola, and if it's not that, it's the horrifying reports of an epidemic of brutal, indiscriminate raping in the Congo.
I read the report with revulsion. I couldn't sleep. Apparently in the Congo there is not even the semblance, not even the pretense of social institutions. There is no social fabric, there is nothing but rampant anarchy and subhuman brutality. Are we to still blame the Belgians for it?
The white man did untold damage to the continent but it seems to me that somehow the basic guarantees of peaceful human coexistence have never been in place. I'm just reading The Emperor, Ryszard Kapuscinski's amazing book on Haile Selassie and his despotic ways. And so it has been ever since. Rapacious, cruel dictators stealing millions in the face of abject hunger and poverty, horrid ethnic bloodbaths, endless brutal misery and colonial interests pretty much just making it all worse. Is the rest of the world just wating for Africa to totally implode so they can get their greedy paws on the rich natural resources there (whatever has not been plundered yet)? Is Africa the first place that's going to go on the list of human extinction? It is entirely possible. Because the thugs who run rampant are not only murdering the people but the human soul. The place has gone to the the dogs. There are about 17, 000 UN peacekeeping forces and they do absolutely nothing as thousands of women and children are savagely raped by gangs. Who can understand this? What new nadir of human depravity is at work in the Congo? Just a couple of days ago I was hearing writers speak about the big monster bullies of History, the usual suspects. It's somehow reassuring when you can ascribe the depths of human evil to some accidental freak of nature like Hitler or Pol Pot or Stalin. But what happens when you can't? What about the anonymous rapists, what about the gangs of youths who humiliate, torture, maim, kill and plunder with total impunity? They are being goaded by the monster of their own self-loathing and cowardly seek impunity in numbers. People try to make sense of it: it's the displaced Hutus; it's the Congolese government forces. It doesn't matter who it is. Men in Africa hate themselves so much that they turn against those who give them life and succor. They turn like rabid dogs against their mothers and their sisters and their wives and their daughters. I swear I read this shit and my first reaction, as if I were God having one of His usual conniptions about human bad behavior in the Old Testament, is burn that fucking place to cinders. Treat it like fucking Amalek and let no one survive. They don't deserve to live.

If only the women and children could be saved.

1 comment:

  1. Yes. And a yes, and a yes, and a yes. Reading that article disturbed me profoundly, but my hand-wringing isn't doing anyone much good there. What next, I ask myself as it's getting late and my eyes start to feel heavy.....