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Between War and Peace: Why Some Congo Narratives Evolve and Others Remain Entrenched

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Despite regional peace agreements, billions of dollars in aid, and the United Nations’ largest peacekeeping mission in the world, conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo persists. This paper explores criticisms made by political scientist Séverine Autesserre, who

Despite regional peace agreements, billions of dollars in aid, and the United Nations’ largest peacekeeping mission in the world, conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo persists. This paper explores criticisms made by political scientist Séverine Autesserre, who argues that three simplistic narratives revolving around conflict minerals as a cause, sexual abuse against women and girls as an outcome, and rebuilding central state control as the solution dominate how international interveners view the Congolese conflict. Autesserre further posits that conflict continues because peacebuilding efforts fail to address local dynamics. Using monitoring and evaluation reports of peacebuilding projects in the eastern Congo, primarily from the U.S. Agency for International Development, this paper examines three questions: Do aid agencies have any local peacebuilding projects? If so, do these projects reinforce the dominant narratives? And lastly, do these projects view conflict as a continuum that must be managed through process-oriented objectives, or as a binary phenomenon requiring events-oriented objectives, such as elections? The analysis is based on 10 total reports gathered online, the majority of which are from USAID. Due to a lack of publicly available data and M&E reports on Congo peacebuilding, this collection does not represent a random sample and is not being used to make statistically significant conclusions. Nevertheless, the M&E reports provide a window into how the “rubber meets the road,” so to speak, in terms of how USAID and others view the role of their peacebuilding programs and how to assess programmatic success.

These reports reveal there are certainly some local peacebuilding programs and they do appear to view conflict as a continuum requiring process-oriented goals, such as creating local community mediation organizations. In terms of Autesserre’s three dominant narratives, the results are more mixed. This assortment of seemingly contradictory findings does not mean Autesserre’s arguments are invalid. The USAID Congo Country Strategy document unlocks this apparent contradiction as it explicitly acknowledges Autesserre’s criticisms and appears to move toward finding more nuanced approaches to the conflict. However, at times it still emphasizes the same dominant narratives and state-to-state level approaches. This paper, therefore, concludes that USAID, and potentially others, are in a state of transition between entrenched and evolving narratives. The discord in these evaluations highlights the internal crisis peacebuilders in the Congo are currently facing as they reassess their narratives. In keeping with the self-improving nature of M&E, hopefully these international interveners can move through their narrative transition in an efficient manner, so that they can remain a supportive peacebuilding partner to the Congolese people.

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2016-05

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The Role of European Male in Relation to African Female Sexulization During Congo's Nineteenth Century Colonial Era

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Colonialism is the practice of conquering lands of already established individuals for the<br/>greater good of Western civilization. These actions are often rooted in the idea that the ways of<br/>the indigenous people are almost primitive in comparison to the ways of

Colonialism is the practice of conquering lands of already established individuals for the<br/>greater good of Western civilization. These actions are often rooted in the idea that the ways of<br/>the indigenous people are almost primitive in comparison to the ways of the West. Many forms<br/>of modern-day oppression are rooted in the disastrous acts against marginalized groups during<br/>colonial eras. In discourse relating to colonialism, it is necessary that the topic of the sexualization of<br/>Native groups are mentioned. Sexualization can be referred to as the act of sexualizing both<br/>humans and objects that are not intended to be innately sexual.<br/>Many literary texts were written during the nineteenth century expose the trends of<br/>sexualization towards indigenous peoples. More specifically, Heart of Darkness brings light to<br/>colonialism and provides insight into the European man’s sexualization for the Native woman.<br/>Within the text, the sexualization for the Native Congo woman is undeniably present all<br/>throughout the novel. Within the novella, the main character, Marlow, is infatuated with many<br/>aspects of the Native culture. He takes a particular interest in the land, when describing the land<br/>he uses verbiage such as “impenetrable” to describe lands that have yet to be discovered by<br/>Westerners. He describes the ways in which he no longer finds interest in lands that have been<br/>“penetrated”. These sexual undertones of virginity used to describe the Native land can be<br/>compared to that of a Native woman. Various aspects of the Native culture were sexualized in<br/>this similar manner, the sexual perspective they had on the Native women was so strong that<br/>they viewed all aspects of the Native sexually due to their linkage to the Native woman. This<br/>thesis serves to address the sexual connections made between the land and culture of the Congo<br/>to the Native woman. Many scholars praise the author for including a Native woman of power<br/><br/>within the text, however, this thesis contradicts these claims and analyzes the ways in which this<br/>The native woman is only powerful due to the European male gaze.<br/><br/>to how Africans within the congo were treated during their colonial era. The text provides<br/>insight into the unhealthy environments the Africans were forced to live in. They were forced to<br/>eat hippo meat and many physically looked as if they were on the verge of death while their<br/>white counterparts were dressed in luxury. Additionally, there was carelessness for the bodies<br/>of the Africans. Many were oversexualized and taken advantage of, due to the power systems<br/>placed upon them they were unable to deny any advances even if they wanted to. These systems<br/>of oppression are still in place, literary analysis of the remnants of colonialism can be found<br/>through twentieth and twenty-first-century texts.

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2021-05

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The United States’ Congo and Ghana: Neo-Colonialism and Conflict with Pan-Africanism

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Historical study of Congo and Ghana during the period of decolonization with context of colonialism. The ideas of Neo-Colonialism and Pan-Africanism are explained and contrasted. Neo-Colonialism is a criticism of the coercive activities of former colonizing countries in former colonies.

Historical study of Congo and Ghana during the period of decolonization with context of colonialism. The ideas of Neo-Colonialism and Pan-Africanism are explained and contrasted. Neo-Colonialism is a criticism of the coercive activities of former colonizing countries in former colonies. Pan-Africanism is the idea that all African people should be united to combat oppression and prejudice. These two forces directly clashed during decolonization with the United States playing the part of a Neo-Colonial power. The U.S., through organizations such as the C.I.A., attempted to destroy Pan-African ideas in both the Congo under Patrice Lumumba and Ghana under Kwame Nkrumah.

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2021-05