Asma Fedosia's Reviews > Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa

Dancing in the Glory of Monsters by Jason  Stearns
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's review
Mar 27, 12

really liked it
Read in January, 2012

Stearns does two things in this book, first describing conditions in the Congo since Mobutu by interviewing leaders and participants in two Congo wars and the aftermath of it; secondly, suggesting ways Congolese and foreigners can rebuild the country, which fell apart since the days of slave trading, of colonialism and independence, of privatization in mining, and of the cold war up to the present. He compares the Congo of today--characterized by "Machiavellian" politics, by unaccountability to the Congolese for both the past and present, and by irresponsible corporate investing--with suggestions as to what can bring about "growth and stability".
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Quotes Asma Fedosia Liked

Jason Stearns
“As so often happens in politics, what appears to be politically expedient for those in power rarely overlaps with the public interest. The lesser evils of the regime become entrenched, while the greater good is never realized.”
Jason Stearns, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa

Reading Progress

01/19/2012 page 69
17.0% "The Congolese conflict derived not from ethnicity between Hutu and Tutsi but from political state. The double conflict--Rwandan civil war and its genocide of minority Tutsi rebels by majority Hutu by profiling victims--spread into neighboring Zaire (Congo) with the streaming refugees, among them those who committed genocide in Rwanda."
01/20/2012 page 127
32.0% "Reasons for conflict: imagined aggressors, land tenure, citizenship, access to resources, popular prejudices, vicious cycle of revenge. Reasons for Congo war (113): Rwandan genocide, exodus of génocidaires and refugees to Zaire, decay of Mobutu's state and army whose function became law and order and suppression of dissent."
01/21/2012 page 201
50.0% "Laurent Kabila renames Zaire to Congo, taking over the government from Mobutu with help from neighboring countries. After several months, a second war in the Congo starts."
01/22/2012 page 267
67.0% "Neighbor states bring conflict to settle in the Congo; Mobutu had disenfranchised Banyamulenge of eastern Congo who sought revenge; but their political ascendency between 1993-2003 was repressive, creating more rebellion & instability. Effects on inhabitants: "aftershocks", "no coherent social life", no "compensation" or "justice" for deaths."
01/24/2012 "After Mobutu, there is Laurent Kabila, then Joseph Kabila. These rulers didn't develop stronger institutions, like judiciary, fearing rules and oversight would create problems for autocratic, informal leadership. Second, they privatized mining, gave concessions to businessmen and foreigners with no profits going to improve the average Congolese or to develop the country's infrastructure."

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Asma Fedosia Judy, I appreciate that you read the review of this book :)

message 2: by Judy (new)

Judy It looks like a good book to read after Poisonwood Bible. Unfortunately, no time... (sigh)

Asma Fedosia I revisited my review to suggest it for a GR's book group, Around the World in Books. Have you noted the one-volume abridgment of Joseph Frank's multi-volumed Dostoevsky biography, Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time? I won't be reading it until next year but wanted to mention it, the original series considered one of the very best biographies.

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