Dancing in the Glory of Monsters Kindle ó Dancing in

Dancing in the Glory of Monsters Kindle ó Dancing in

Dancing in the Glory of Monsters ☉ [PDF / Epub] ☆ Dancing in the Glory of Monsters By Jason Stearns ❤ – Centrumpowypadkowe.co.uk At the heart of Africa is Congo a country the size of Western Europe bordering nine other nations that since 1996 has been wracked by a brutal and unstaunchable war in which millions have died And yet the Glory PDF/EPUB Ã At the heart of Africa is Congo a country the size of Western Europe bordering nine other nations that since has been wracked by a brutal and unstaunchable war in which millions have died And yet despite its epic proportions it has received little sustained media attention In this deeply Dancing in MOBI :Ú reported book Jason Stearns vividly tells the story of this misunderstood conflict through the experiences of those who engineered and perpetrated it He depicts village pastors who survived massacres the child soldier assassin of President Kabila a female Hutu activist who relives the hunting and methodical extermination of fellow refugees and key in the Glory MOBI ó architects of the war that became as great a disaster as and was a direct conseuence of the genocide in neighboring Rwanda Through their stories he tries to understand why such mass violence made sense and why stability has been so elusiveThrough their voices and an astonishing wealth of knowledge and research Stearns chronicles the political social and moral decay of the Congolese State.


10 thoughts on “Dancing in the Glory of Monsters

  1. Warwick Warwick says:

    It's often claimed that the Congo Wars are too confusing for outsiders to understand PshawIt's really uite simple The RFP pushed into DRC in the guise of the AFDL originally pursuing ex FAR Naturally with UNITA and FLEC in the area Angola had an interest in getting involved and Uganda was wrestling with the WNBLF UMLA the ADM and of course the NALU; the Burundians meanwhile were contending with the FDD and FNL all of whom were laden with RPGs and AKs OK? After Kabila père turned on them Rwanda backed the RCD until it splintered at which point the RCD A and RCD O went one way while the RCD N won support from Kampala on the T Bemba who was running the MLC like an IPO was in the middle The UN and EU were not sure who to help and the ICRC IMF and NGOs like MSF were reporting widespread FUBAR leading most commentators to conclude simply WTFJason Stearns a journalist who worked for a decade in the Congo including for the UN and various human rights organisations is only moderately successful in unpicking the tangle of the two conflicts which between 1996 and 2003 killed around five million people He is much stronger though in making the general point that the violence in the Congo however complex does in fact result from comprehensible social and political conditions and that these need to be examined; it must not be left to the ascription of some inexplicable African capacity for evil or savagery which is the implication that lies behind much coverage of the warsThey are not alien; they are not evil; they are not beyond our comprehension The principal actors are far from just savages mindlessly killing and being killed but thinking breathing Homines sapientes whose actions however abhorrent are underpinned by political rationales and motivesSo let me have another run at summarising what happenedThe Congo Wars began as a seuel to the genocide in Rwanda when thousands of Hutu refugees fled over the border into eastern Zaire as it was then called Because perpetrators of the genocide were among these refugees the Rwandans crossed the border to hunt them down and the international community feeling somewhat guilty about having done so little during the Rwandan genocide mostly let them do itSeeking to give this incursion legitimacy the Rwandans along with Uganda who had their own motives for getting involved now picked from obscurity a minor Congolese rebel then living in exile called Laurent Kabila and made him the head of a new rebel group called the AFDL This was presented as a home grown rebellion against President Mobutu but really it was an elaborate fig leaf for Rwandan and Ugandan invasion With this foreign support Kabila made it to Kinshasa deposed Mobutu and became president having paused en route to slaughter all the Hutu refugees in the countryThe international community starting to lose track of who was supposed to be the goodies and baddies in this story again did very littleKabila was a fairly weak president since he'd come to power with little local support Whipping up some nationalist fervour he now ordered all foreign powers out of the country and turned his guns on the Rwandans and Ugandans who had brought him to power They were annoyed Apart from anything else they had been profiting handsomely from the eastern Congo's mineral wealth So they simply invaded again and began busily supporting whatever local rebellions they could find To make matters confusing Rwanda and Uganda also fell out with each other which meant they were both funding different rebel groups which now fought against each other as well as against the Congolese army and all of these groups were framing their arguments in divisively ethnic termsWhat becomes abundantly clear reading through the details of these messy conflicts is the absence of any functioning state in the Congo The Economist once commented that it wasn't a country but rather a ‘Zaire shaped hole in the middle of Africa’ and you soon start realising that the comparisons are not with other countries around the world now but with the Italian states familiar to Machiavelli or with seventeenth century Germany Nothing that a state needs to do is done There are for instance only two thousand miles of paved road in what is the world's twelfth largest country The tax system is not designed to finance the state but is set deliberately high to encourage bribes to local officials a World Bank report found that if you actually paid all your taxes in DRC you would be shelling out 230 percent of your profits; so the entire economy is shifted into the informal sector But most of all the Congo is not able to assume the monopoly on violence that we expect from a nation state and local militia and foreign proxies fill the vacuum in their dozensThis background is important When lazy articles boil DRC down to a series of shock images – violent gang rapes women forced to eat their dead babies and so on – these things happen but they are not the result of evil monsters but the result uite predictable of generations of intertribal violence and state weakness Reading about such scenes – and Stearns without being gratuitous does not shy away from some extremely upsetting close ups – I realised that I had been reading about exactly the same thing in a European context a few months ago when I was boning up on the Thirty Years' WarSometimes in here we can almost catch the cycle taking place in front of us One of Stearns's interviewees a young man who ran off to join a local AFDL unit – little than a group of armed kids in the forest – describes the horrific brutalisation that new recruits were put through something that in a way represents the brutalisation of all young men in a society so regularly at war the hazing the beating the constant reinforcement of the duty to kill and beyond that to exercise cruelty This is drummed into you Every weakness is penalised and every misdemeanour exploitedAfter committing a minor infraction Kizito was told to step in front of his fellow recruits and dig a small hole in the pitch ““This is your vagina’ the commander said ‘Take out your dick and fuck it’” Kizito told me blushing and looking down In front of all of his fellow recruits he was forced to hump the hole until he ejaculated “In front of all those people it was almost impossible” he muttered At sixteen he was still a virginA few weeks later at graduation they were made to slit the throats of some captured prisoners Then they were soldiers and real menThose who go on to be responsible for atrocities or massacres here justify themselves in much the same way as we've seen in Cambodia or Nazi Germany or anywhere else they were professionals who followed the orders they were given One RPF officer discussing the mass slaughter of Hutu refugees uite cheerfully explains how he went about it“We could do over a hundred a day” Papy told me I had a hard time believing him; it seemed so outrageous “We used ropes it was the fastest way and we didn't spill blood Two of us would place a guy on the ground wrap a rope around his neck once then pull hard” It would break the victim's windpipe and then strangle him to death There was little noise or fussBut trying to ascribe blame in this plexus of revenge and counter counterinsurgency is even in individual cases almost impossible Even the victims asked to address the matter of responsibility are overwhelmedI asked him whom he blamed for their deaths He shrugged “There are too many people to blame Mobutu for ruining our country Rwanda and Uganda for invading it Ourselves for letting them do so None of that will help bring my children back”How western countries and international agencies should insert themselves into this situation is a complicated uestion Stearns is sceptical about aid seeing it too often as a way of assuaging guilt without dealing with problems at the root level which is to say in terms of political structures ‘All development’ he points out I think rightly ‘is deeply political By taking over the financing of most public services donors take pressure off the Congolese government to respond to the needs of its citizens’ He cannot find any really new solutions but he does point to tighter regulation of international business as one area that could easily make a difference at the moment too many companies can turn a blind eye to the source of their coltan or copper and industry guidelines about how such minerals are produced are just not very firmly enforcedThe Congo's problems will only start to turn around through new relationships between the people the politicians and businesses and outside elements need to think carefully about how they are affecting this process instead of just chucking money into the whirlpool Ultimately he thinks ‘We simply do not care enough’He does care and for those who want to understand the region better his book makes a good starting point By focusing on the war the book unfortunately does nothing to deconstruct the constant harmful euation between the Congo and conflict – but at least you come away from it feeling a little informed and a little less like the whole thing is just an inexplicable bloody mess


  2. Dave Dave says:

    If you want to understand the tragedy that is the Congo put aside the mythology and read Dancing In The Glory of Monsters Jason Stearns has untangled the snarling mess that is the history of this sad nation As someone who's researched and written about the Congo myself Heart of Diamonds A Novel of Scandal Love and Death in the Congo I found new insights into the interminable conflicts that have wracked the country for it's entire modern history Stearns delineates the players putting them into context and showing how they interacted to make the Congo what it is today He clearly explains the role of Rwanda's Paul Kagame and other outsiders in the turmoil but also delineates the power hunger and shortcomings of the Congo's own leaders including current President Joseph Kabila Most importantly Stearns demonstrates that there is no one single cause of the Congo's troubles He calmly shows how tribal rivalries fuel the strife just as much as the struggle to control the country's mineral wealth He explains how the internal politics of Zimbabwe Uganda Angola and other countries in addition to Rwanda led to their deep involvement in the DRC's wars While he rightfully deplores the epidemic of rape in the Congo he puts it in context and doesn't dwell on it not because it's not important but because there's to the story I found it refreshing that Stearns resists the impulse to blame rapacious multinational corporations for much of anything except trying to find a way to do business in the Congo He doesn't ignore the many shortcomings of most of the deals to exploit the Congo's riches but correctly points out that most of them were struck by Congolese leaders eager to fund their own ambitions He leaves the conspiracy theories to other less informed writers Dancing In The Glory Of Monsters is an objective clear eyed look at one of the greatest ongoing tragedies in modern history


  3. Jake Jake says:

    This book has been called the best current nonfiction about the violence in the DRC which I think says far about the dearth of good books on the subject than on this one's meritsWhile the book is a useful primer on the facts and political history of the violence in the DRC I frankly disagree with most reviewers and the author himself that it somehow manages to achieve a nuanced understanding of the country the actors or their motivationsStearns claims to be weary of the Congo as Heart of Darkness motif but routinely resorts to shorthand that he chides others for One example Sometimes it seems that by crossing the border into the Congo one abandons any sort of Archimedean perspective on truthMoreover I simply disagree that this book lays bare the motivations of actors in the violence Numerous chapters end after having barraged the reader with 10000 words of rebel movements acronyms and alliances with exceedingly superficial analysis of higher order uestions A typical paragraph might read like this What would prompt someone to do x y and z awful things? Well I don't know but what I can say is that it is not because they are evil Obviously true and worth repeating but this is really only the beginning of the analysis whereas Stearns generally feels content making it the endWhat's perhaps most disappointing is the author's failure to translate the enormous uantity of interviews he has conducted into a truly human perspective on the violence Perhaps it is simply because Stearns is a rather dry and uninventive writer but none of the protagonists in this violence ever became human for me Ironically their depictions in this book tended to reinforce rather than overturn the stereotypes I had of opportunistic morally bankrupt leadersFinally there is a concluding chapter full of lazy policy recommendations like strengthening institutions and thinking about incentives and recognizing our moral debt to the Congo without even a token effort at delving into specificsEveryone else loved this book I just don't get the hype


  4. Nick Nick says:

    People remember Somalia because of the dead soldiers and Rwanda because the size and brutality of the massacre But the Congo massacres many times lethal than either largely escaped notice in the Western world perhaps because of the complexity perhaps because of the conflicts were labelled wars perhaps because of incredulity that tiny Rwanda and less tiny Uganda were defeating the massive Democratic Republic of the Congo DRC and certainly because a practiced indifference to Central AfricaDoing refugee work in Texas I started to meet Congolese in the late nineties I worked with refugees from lots of places Nepal Uzbekistan Russian Muslims Ira Each group was interesting in its own way I was with the Uzbekis on the anniversary of the date on which they were basically run out of their country and yet their were unfailingly generous and uite funny The Congolese stood out for their uiet dignity In particular I remember a mother who had travelled through refugee camps in four countries with her son and daughter teaching herself to use computers along the way Jason Stearns explains much of what happened in the DRC perhaps as well as it can be explained in book form He disentangles the various ethnicities and regional rivalries untangles the web of corruption and not just of the government but on an international scale covers some of the massacres in heart rending detail He shows how the subordination of a nation and its in this case weak institutions corrodes everything including the military He explains what I found incomprehensible how the Rwandans fresh from their own explosion of violence and death decided to create one next door An all too freuent cocktail of revenge minded anger and fear of militants among the refugees Perhaps most illuminating if not enlightening is his explanation of how the Congo is the victim of its own resources and size plenty of raw materials for a cash strapped and corrupt government to sell on the cheap and many neighbors with their own security concerns Rwandans Burundians Ugandans Angolans Zimbabweans and Namibians fought each other in the DRC I am still encountering Congolese seeking asylum Not everyone who tries to seek asylum at the US' southern border is Central American including Nicaragua or Mexican In recent years have seen people from Russia Georgia Albania Ethiopia Ghana China Angola Venezuela Ecuador Cuba Let me only add that they come to the United States because they believe that this country is what it says is a place of law and safety where rights are respected At times I think they have greater faith in those ideals than many of the citizens


  5. Mikey B. Mikey B. says:

    This book provides clarity to the uagmire of wars that have been happening in the Congo since the Rwandan genocide of 1994Mr Stearns explains well the personalities involved and also brings us face to face with the brutality undergone by ordinary people in the many shattered villages and cities The Tutsi Hutu animosities are a recurring theme – but in the Congo nothing is so simple and Mr Stearns always ualifies his explanationsThe Congo is a land blessed with many natural resources It is also surrounded by states that uickly recognize and exploit weakness The author uses the apt analogy of a small country like Japan dominating and invading China during the 1930’s – and similarly the super powers of the time looked on with little interest In the Congo’s case there are several states participating in this invasion – Rwanda Uganda Angola and Zimbabwe Also the long and corrupt reign of Mobutu came to an end during this time Mobutu did little to develop or maintain any of the infrastructures of his country – for instance the army became a ragtag group of competing forces that were unable to stop the invasion of its much smaller neighbours The Congo was inundated with Hutu refugees after the Rwandan genocide After the Rwandan invasion of 1996 these hundreds of thousands of people literally kept walking westward through the Congo to seek sanctuary – often they did not find itThe author weaves us through the complexities of problems Another persistent theme is that of “omission” Most of us including myself know little of the Congo More people died and most died of curable diseases than in Darfur But yet the devastation and the arduous journeys of the refugees hardly made air time on major news outlets As Romeo Dallaire wrote in his book “Shake Hands with the Devil” it would appear that the life of an African is worth little to the WestThe only uibble I have is at the beginning where Mr Stearns cites as a reference point Hannah Arendt’s famous uote on the “banality of evil” which is an outlook I have strong reservations on – particularly with regards to the violence that the Congolese people experienced Fortunately this viewpoint does not unduly influence the author’s writingThe future for the Congo even with the signing of a peace accord of the countries involved in this long war is still rather grim Are there the makings of another “strong man” in Joseph Kabila? This is definitely a worthwhile book that does much to disentangle the recent history of this tortured country


  6. Eric Eric says:

    Mass violence does not just affect the families of the dead It tears at the fabric of society and lodges in the minds of the witnesses and perpetrators alike A decade after the violence it seemed the villagers were still living in its aftershocks They had all fled after the massacre; no one wanted to stay in town They fled deep into the jungles where they crossed the strong currents of the Luindi River It was only on the other side that they felt safe They lived in clearings where they built grass huts There was no place to start farming and no one had the energy to cut down the brush and trees to start planting cassava and beans so they ate what they could find wild yams caterpillars forest mushrooms and even monkeys when they could catch them Exposed to the cold at night and deprived of adeuate nutrition many newborns and old people died A scabies infestation ravaged their makeshift camps and they couldn't even find the most rudimentary medicine for their various afflictions They would sometimes visit their homes along the main road but they would do so like burglars at night and uickly for fear of detectionSome of them had radios and they gave the nickname Kosovo to their hometown of Kasika after they heard of the war and massacres in the Balkans The main difference of course was that the press was giving the small Balkan region barely a sixth the size of South Kivu Province nonstop coverage while no foreign journalist visited Kasika for a decadeSocial life was deeply affected as well The death of their traditional chief along with the only priest left the community without any leaders They killed our father and our mother one villager told me The church closed down and the chief's family was embroiled in a succession battle that the RCD Congolese Rally for Democracy finally put an end to by imposing someone of their choice much to the chagrin of many community members Again and again the villagers told me how the chief's death had affected them much than anything else The well being of the community was vested in the chief; he presided over harvest ceremonies gave out land and blessed weddings Who would call for salongo the weekly communal labor to be performed? Who would reconcile feuding families and solve land conflicts? The community felt orphaned in other ways too After the massacre not a single national politician came to visit them and hear their grievances While Kasika featured in thousands of speeches that lambasted Rwanda and the RCD no investigation was ever launched and no compensation was ever offered for any of the victims The lack of justice had allowed the villagers to stew in their resentment and had made their anger fester into hatredI hate the Tutsi Patrice told me If I see a Tutsi face I feel fearI ask them if they could ever forgive the soldiers for what they didForgive whom? We don't even know who did it someone outside Patrice's house said4 12 stars


  7. Michael Burnam-Fink Michael Burnam-Fink says:

    In the hundred years of bloodshed that was the 20th century the Congo War is a tragedy that has mostly been ignored by the West and forgotten by history Something like five million people died placing the Congo War as the the 6th largest mass killing in the 20th century the deadliest event since the Second World War and the 27th largest in recorded history according to The Great Big Book of Horrible Things And there is a reason for this beyond Western dismissals of Africa in general As Stearns puts it in his introduction How do you cover a war that involves at least twenty different rebel groups and the armies of nine countries yet does not seem to have a clear cause or objective?He does his best using his skills as an investigative journalist to move through the key players in a rolling series of conflicts that started with the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 and linger today despite a peace conference in 2002 While no one can speak for all the dead Stearns does his best letting the survivors of genocidal attacks epidemic ridden refugee camps death marches mass rape and induction into armies of child soldiers speak It is impossible not to be movedOn the broader political front Stearns has a lot to say about the failures of institutions The Congo was systematically hollowed out first by the colonial slave trade then the nightmare of King Leopold's Free State and then by the decades long rule of Mobutu Sésé Seko who turned divide and rule into an art leaving a military that was incapable of conducting a coup against him but also incapable of mounting any sort of defense against the innumerable rebel groups foreign armies and bandit gangs who rose up in the void When the Rwandan government sought vengeance on Hutu génocidaires who had fled to the Congo with millions of refugeehostages and were planning a return the Congo was unable to resist Rebel leader and new President Laurent Kabila had barely a year before the international coalition that installed him tried to oust him This aggression undoubtedly Tutsi lead inspired retaliation against the Tutsi minority inside the Congo and instigated a spiral of ethnic violence It's impossible to blame people for turning to their primary loyalties their family and ethnic group and also impossible not to see the political exacerbation of ethnic tension as a major driver of violence Whatever one's affiliation it is too easy to see people with differently shaped noses as vermin to be exterminatedThere's also plenty of military daring and horrific absurdity to go around Rwandan military plans involved marching 1000 miles from the border to Kinshasa about the same distance as Moscow to Berlin except this time it's through practically trackless jungle Congolese soldiers deserted in droves their armor heavy columns cut to shreds by motivated guerrilla bands of child soldiers Laurent Kabila's authoritarian regime imposed taxes which would come to 230% of profits if they were ever payed At one of the collapses of the government the minister of finance announced Gentlemen I have taken the precaution of emptying the treasury It is in bags in trucks outside You each get 22000 Do the best that you canAs I write this President Joseph Kabila is planning to step down after elections in December 2018 after unconstitutionally extending his rule for two years and the country may be slipping into war again It's hard to fault the international community for not doing in a country with such terrible infrastructure and without a clear moral narrative to support There's always money to be made in turmoil with the Congo's mineral wealth is available to the daring and unscrupulous The people of the Congo deserve better If not justice they at least deserve a memorial for their dead


  8. Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin says:

    Very hard to read book on the Congo war that ran from the mid 1990s to the mid aughts About 5 million dead and no neat resolution no justice no benefit except for warlords This is the most extreme case of state failure in a continent that has many examples It is not an easy narrative with a single cause or villain but many actors making decisions for short term gain coming to horrible collective outcome Frankly living in a comfortable wealthy society which has some responsibility for some of the events I can't help but think about the ghost of Christmas future To me I look at the congo war I don't see some weird other in it I see people with similar motivations as actors in rich countries with much fewer resources the human failures could very well happen if we were as close to subsistence as the Congolese Given trends in corruption in the US and west with our politicians harboring the same corrupt authoritarian militaristic impulses we are a few states of emergency away from the horrors of this book People should not turn their heads away to things happening in Africa the way things are going they may be a canary in a coal mine


  9. Ed Ed says:

    Jason Stearns set a formidable task for himself in the Introduction to his excellent “Dancing in the Glory of Monsters” taking Hannah Arendt memorable “the banality of evil” as the starting point for his investigation into the decades long war in the Congo He doesn’t personalize the murderous violence and the evil behind it but tries to define the political system that allowed or encouraged such perversions of “normal” humanity Instead of the faceless bureaucratic machine of the Third Reich he compares the Congo to seventeenth century Europe during the Thirty Years War in which marauding armies fought back and forth across what is now Germany leaving privation disease and death in their wake “Dancing in the Glory of Monsters” is a brilliant combination of reporting current history political advocacy and ethnography Jason Stearns has spent much of the past decade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has met many of the key actors in Africa’s Great War and has seen the horror they have wreaked on the people and land in the Congo A keen analyst of the politico military affairs of the region—the DRC and the nine nations surrounding it particularly Rwanda and Uganda—he looks at the political elites and militia commanders of the area often the same people to try and figure out why the war happened if it “had” to happen and why the conflict has been so unrelenting and merciless He compares the situation in central Africa since 1996 to the Thirty Years War a continent wide cataclysm of death disease destruction and collapse of society brought on the by the constant marching and countermarching of mercenary armies deployed from the nations that surround what is now Germany and finds a parallel between Adolph Eichmann as described by Hannah Arendt and Paul Rwarakabije a general in the Rwandan Army whose forces operated in what was then Zaire as well as Rwanda Eichmann was an important cog in a machine while Rwarakabije was a policy maker to the extent anyone could be called that but both were convinced of the inevitability of mass slaughterThe Thirty Years War and the Holocaust are among the defining events of modern Europe Both caused insupportable suffering; the Holocaust is the closest thing to absolute and incomparable evil that I can think of—those who might need a refresher on its horrors would want to consult “The Third Reich at War” by Richard Evans—it is an astonishing book but one I was too daunted by its sweep and detail to finishStearns accomplishes the daunting challenge of making sense of what seems to be senseless activity giving the reader a real and horrifying sense of what life was like for internal displaced persons conscripted soldiers and refugees from Rwanda and Burundi “Dancing in the Glory of Monsters” captures the everydayness the granularity of life in the Congo during what must seem to be an endless war Although he concentrates largely on the perpetrators of violence one of the real strengths of the book is Stearns’ refusal to make permanent categories of good or bad oppressors or oppressed since many of his sources have been both during the past ten years The best example of this might be Paul Rwarakabije mentioned above; he fled from Rwanda with nothing saved most of his family and was stuck in a refugee camp subject to the whims of his guardscaptors Later after political exoneration he led a unit of the Rwandan armed forces in the DRC Another is the way the AFDL Laurent Kabila’s improvised army that was welcomed as liberators in the first Congo war even though they slaughtered Hutu refugees since they didn’t kill any Congolese It is a cliché to say there are no simple answers in the Congo since there are no simple answers anywhere but Strearns illustrates the complexity of the situation while showing the human side of almost all the players


  10. Richard Williams Richard Williams says:

    Easy recommendation to the govt put this author in charge somewhere in how western govt money is spent in the area1st read the last chapter then set aside an evening to read the whole thing then give it to a friend to readwhy? because people matter their pain and suffering matter killing people is wrong killing lots of people is evil and must to foughtit's first an examination of the history of the rwandan tutsi genocide and it's effects on the congo from 1990 to the present it's second a journalist interviews and talks to people involved telling their stories and putting it all together into a narrative that the rest of us can identify with lastly it's a call to the world to engage with the issues because the world has a hand in causing and continuing the suffering therecons the first part is confusing mostly because we need to get the names and background straight my advice to the author is a few pictures of the major participants so we can see them as they are discussinghow to integrate stories with historical narrative it's generally well done introducing the people through the interview process and then telling their stories is a good technicpros how to motivate people to care and to get involved? i don't know but this book is potentially a good answer to the uestion thanks


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