Tag Archives | Congo

Origins of HIV Revealed

ElecMicro of HIV Retrovirus serum isolate Samp-HM47.jpg

ElecMicro of HIV Retrovirus serum isolate Samp-HM47. Picture attributed to uLtRa_GoLiAtH (CC)

It’s never been completely clear how the HIV virus came about, giving rise to various conspiracy theories about it being man-made. The Independent reports on a new study revealing a “perfect storm” of factors giving rise to the virus’s emergence:

A “perfect storm” of factors that came together in colonial Africa early last century led to the spread of Aids in the human population and eventually a full-blown pandemic infecting more than 75 million people worldwide, a study has found.

A genetic analysis of thousands of individual viruses has confirmed beyond reasonable doubt that HIV first emerged in Kinshasa, the capital of the Belgian Congo, in about 1920 from where it spread via the colonial railway network to other parts of central Africa.

Scientists believe the findings have finally nailed the origin of the Aids pandemic to a single source, a colonial-era city then called Leopoldville which had become the biggest urban centre in Central Africa and a bustling focus for trade, including a market in wild “bush meat” captured from the nearby forests.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Democratic Republic of Congo – Cannibalism in the Modern Age?

I’m incredibly skeptical of this story simply because of a Universiy teacher of mine who furiously claimed to us that cannibalism was a racist myth invented by evil British Imperialists. He was, I think, inspired by the book “The Man-Eating Myth: Anthropology and Anthropophagy” by William Arens. However, a quick glance at the cannibalism wikipedia page suggests the debate may have moved on since the late 90’s and I assume it will be attened to further in the comments section of this piece.

In short it appears that France 24 are reporting an act of cannibalism as a weird form of vigilante behaviour amid what sounds like continuing mob rule and civil war in the region:

Recent fighting between government forces and rebel groups has dramatically destabilised the Democratic Republic of Congo. During the night between December 2 and 3, a barbaric scene unfolded in the capital Goma, in North Kivu province.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Genocide Behind Your Smart Phone (Video)

Alan Mascarenhas writes on Newsweek:
It takes a lot to snap people out of apathy about Africa’s problems. But in the wake of Live Aid and Save Darfur, a new cause stands on the cusp of going mainstream. It’s the push to make major electronics companies (manufacturers of cell phones, laptops, portable music players, and cameras) disclose whether they use “conflict minerals” — the rare metals that finance civil wars and militia atrocities, most notably in Congo. The issue of ethical sourcing has long galvanized human-rights groups. In Liberia, Angola, and Sierra Leone, the notorious trade in “blood diamonds” helped fund rebel insurgencies. In Guinea, bauxite sustains a repressive military junta. And fair-labor groups have spent decades documenting the foreign sweatshops that sometimes supply American clothing stores. Yet Congo raises especially disturbing issues for famous tech brand names that fancy themselves responsible corporate citizens. A key mover behind the Congo campaign is the anti-genocide Enough Project: witness its clever spoof of the famous Apple commercial.
Continue Reading

A White God Freakout

Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone:

Thanks to Jonathan Schwarz of TinyRevolution.com for passing along this hilarious exchange between Time reporter Alex Wilson and Julie Hollar of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting). It’s one of the best case studies in the dangers of Google that I’ve ever seen.

The thing about Googling yourself — look, everyone’s done it. In the most literal sense, it’s like jacking off, and find me the grown man who’ll deny that he does that. But part of the growing up process is learning that playing with oneself, if not shameful and sordid exactly, it’s certainly something to be done at all times in private. Not even your average eight year-old will go charging bug-eyed into a room full of grownups frantically pulling on his Johnson. Time reporter Alex Wilson turns out to be a different story, however.

Background: last week, the press watchdogs at FAIR did a review of Wilson’s scare piece about how the Chinese are taking over Africa (China’s New Focus on Africa, June 24).

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Report: UN-Backed Congo Troops Killing Civilians

From Yahoo News:

JOHANNESBURG – A U.N.-backed Congolese military operation to oust rebels from eastern Congo has caused more civilian casualties than damage to rebels, with more than 1,400 people deliberately killed over a nine-month period, human rights groups said Monday.

Human Rights Watch said it had documented “vicious and widespread” attacks against civilians by soldiers and rebels between January and September. Soldiers being fed and supplied with ammunition by the United Nations have killed civilians, gang-raped girls and cut the heads off some young men they accuse of being rebels or supporting the enemy, groups said.

“For every rebel combatant disarmed, one civilian has been killed, seven women and girls have been raped, six houses have been burned and destroyed and 900 people have been forced to flee their homes,” British-based organization Oxfam said.

Human Rights Watch said it documented the killings of 732 civilians between January and September by the Congolese army and troops from neighboring Rwanda fighting alongside it.

Read the rest
Continue Reading