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Africa's world war : Congo, the Rwandan…
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Africa's world war : Congo, the Rwandan genocide, and the making of a… (original 2009; edición 2009)

por Gřard Prunier

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1904113,177 (4.5)5
The Rwandan genocide sparked a horrific bloodbath that swept across sub-Saharan Africa, ultimately leading to the deaths of some four million people. In this extraordinary history of the recent wars in Central Africa, Gerard Prunier offers a gripping account of how one grisly episode laid the groundwork for a sweeping and disastrous upheaval. Prunier vividly describes the grisly aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, when some two million refugees--a third of Rwanda's population--fled to exile in Zaire in 1996. The new Rwandan regime then crossed into Zaire and attacked the refugees, slaughtering upwards of 400,000 people. The Rwandan forces then turned on Zaire's despotic President Mobutu and, with the help of a number of allied African countries, overthrew him. But as Prunier shows, the collapse of the Mobutu regime and the ascension of the corrupt and erratic Laurent-D#65533;sir#65533; Kabila created a power vacuum that drew Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Sudan, and other African nations into an extended and chaotic war. The heart of the book documents how the whole core of the African continent became engulfed in an intractible and bloody conflict after 1998, a devastating war that only wound down following the assassination of Kabila in 2001. Prunier not only captures all this in his riveting narrative, but he also indicts the international community for its utter lack of interest in what was then the largest conflict in the world. Praise for the hardcover: "The most ambitious of several remarkable new books that reexamine the extraordinary tragedy of Congo and Central Africa since the Rwandan genocide of 1994." --New York Review of Books "One of the first books to lay bare the complex dynamic between Rwanda and Congo that has been driving this disaster." --Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times Book Review "Lucid, meticulously researched and incisive, Prunier's will likely become the standard account of this under-reported tragedy." --Publishers Weekly… (más)
Miembro:BransonSchool
Título:Africa's world war : Congo, the Rwandan genocide, and the making of a continental catastrophe
Autores:Gřard Prunier
Info:New York, N.Y. Oxford University Press, 2009.
Colecciones:Tu biblioteca
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Africa's World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe por Gérard Prunier (2009)

Añadido recientemente porejmw, BransonSchool, cbadge1, mw724, 100sheets, Tpartin, dvnmng
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Following the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, the largely Tutsi RPF government built a repressive regime after a short pretence at national reconciliation, while hundreds of thousands of Hutu, many of whom had perpetrated the genocide, fled to Zaire. The two parties clashed when the Rwandan government attacked the refugee camps in September 1996, forcing some of the refugees back home and killing others. Their military success led the victorious Rwandan forces to push their advantage and overthrow President Mobutu with the help of several African allies and the discreet support of the United States. The collapse of the Zairian regime marked the passing of an era and the implosion of the Cold War postcolonial order in Africa. As a result the heart of the African continent has been engulfed in a low intensity but high civilian casualty conflict involving seven countries directly and another seven indirectly. The international community has shown little interest, yet this massive conflict will probably play a key role in reshaping the continent's future in terms of border definition, governance and economic change, all of which are addressed in this work. ( )
  HurstPub | Jan 4, 2011 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1344506.html

It is a tremendously detailed account of how, in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide, the new Rwandan government invaded its neighbour Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) kicking off a conflict that sucked in military interventions from Burundi, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Angola, Chad, Sudan and Namibia, and which also entangled Libya, the Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, Zambia and South Africa before it ended in 2002. Roughly four million people were killed. The conflict was complex and remote, and got almost no coverage in international media. The Rwandans essentially got a free pass from the rest of the world because of the genocide, and because nobody like the Zairean/DRC rulers. Prunier details the horror that resulted, and does not spare his criticism of the local and international actors who made it possible. He even criticises his own earlier book on Rwanda, where he admits having believed the government when he should not have. (Interesting to note that his Rwanda book is quoted several times by Jared Diamond in Collapse.)

An excellent final chapter reflects that probably there will not be another African conflict that is as far-reaching geographically, although the basic conditions for future smaller wars remain. Prunier also analyses the failure of international policy-makers to get to grips with the realities of African political life. I found this point particularly compelling (it should be read as if all in the present tense):

'These states were universally weak because they lacked both legitimacy and money. Legitimacy was the biggest problem because even those states that did or could have money, such as the mining states, were also weak. Loyalty to the state is not an internalised feeling in today's Africa... Internally states are seen as cows to be milked. But because there is little milk and the cow can go dry at any time, it would perhaps be better to say that the state is a cow to be bled quickly before it slips into somebody else's hands. The state is an asset for the group in power, but that asset is fragile, there are no commonly accepted rules for future devolution of power, and things have to be grabbed while they last... The state is always somebody's state, never the State in the legal abstract form beloved of Western constitutional law. It is the Museveni dictatorship for the Acholi [Uganda], the Arab state for th southern Sudanese, the mestiço state for UNITA [Angola], or the Tutsi state for the Hutu [Rwanda]. When tribes are not the main problem, pseudo-tribes or other groupings will do.'

There is nothing deterministic about conflict: these wars begin because of rational choices made by individuals in leadership positions, reacting to the set of circumstances they find themselves in. Ending them, however, is much more difficult. ( )
1 vota nwhyte | Nov 8, 2009 |
What lifts this “ethno-political” history above being a digest of journalistic accounts covering the ultimate culmination point of the Cold War in Africa is Prunier’s combination of wit and cool analysis; which he even brings to bear on his past errors of understanding. One is also given a good background briefing on the swirl of personalities, social factions, and political organizations that were sucked into the maelstrom created by Rwandan drive for power. As for the import of it all, Prunier suggests that the “transcontinental” war probably doesn’t count as Africa’s Great War, in that outside of Rwanda and Zaire there was no great emotional involvement in the general populations of the warring states, but that the Thirty Years War makes a better point of comparison. This is between the conduct of the war under ‘broken back’ conditions, where war had to support itself, and how this conflict has cleared the deck of obsolete intellectual impediments in understanding how Africa’s problems need to be understood in terms of the underlying structural problems of the continent. ( )
  Shrike58 | Aug 21, 2009 |
As a more-than-interested observer of events in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I found Gerard Prunier's Africa's World War a worthwhile if dense expression of one man's opinions about an incredibly complex chapter in the continent's history. Is it rife with supposition, self-serving sources, and subjective interpretation of events? Certainly. But that's the nature of the conflict, so readers expecting a black-hat-white-hat cast of good guys and bad guys are going to be dismissive of the work if not outraged at the author's audacity to present it as history. I suspect this is as close to an actual history of this period as we're ever going to see.

What I found particularly useful was Prunier's run down of the multitude of nations involved in the two wars. The roles played by everyone from Libya to South Africa are examined in sometimes mind-numbing detail. The whys and wherefores of each player's participation are by necessity speculative; the Angolan military doesn't have much in the way of neat regimental histories posted on the Web to use as sources and neither Yoweri Museveni or Paul Kagame are known for giving lengthy confessional interviews. Still, if you approach the material with patience and several grains of salt, you can come away with a better understanding of how the conflict in Congo was shaped by numerous outside forces.

It should be noted that this isn't light, recreational reading. I studied the DRC for five years as I was researching my novel Heart of Diamonds and I still found it essential to refer to Prunier's list of abbreviations and glossary time and time again. The sheer number of acronyms is enough to slow comprehension to a crawl, but again, this is no more than an accurate portrait of a 15-year conflict where six men with an RPG can declare themselves a rebel militia, take over a village, and eventually sit down at the negotiating table with representatives from several sovereign countries and the United Nations before splitting up to join opposing armies where they start the process all over again. Any account of alliances in Congo reads like alphabet soup in a blender.

Prunier could have provided a little more specficity and clarity about two big topics. One was the role the United States played (and plays) in the Congo wars. With his somewhat fragmented organizational approach, it was difficult to piece together what we did to whom and who did what to us. America's hands have come away soiled every time we lay them on Congo (dating to our rush to be the first country in the world to endorse King Leopold's bold claim to own the nation), and I would have liked a more detailed account of what happened and when we did it during the period covered by the book.

The other is Rwanda's major involvement in the game. Prunier certainly provides an exhaustive account of the genocide's aftermath and how it played out in the eastern provinces of the DRC, but the big picture seemed to have been obscured by the details. Maybe my mind was dulled by slogging through account after account of what was happening to the refugees and which ones were the good Tutsis and which ones where the bad Tutsis, but I have to say I didn't come away from the book with a clear understanding of what Prunier thinks Kagame really hopes to accomplish.

Those looking for a simple definitive account of war in Congo had best look elsewhere, but readers who are sophisticated enough to take one man's observations and opinions and weigh them accordingly will find Africa's World War a useful addition to the shelf. ( )
2 vota davedonelson | Apr 21, 2009 |
Mostrando 4 de 4
The bloodiest modern conflict you've never heard of gets a searching appraisal in this exhaustive history. Africanist Prunier (The Rwanda Crisis) follows the 1996-2002 war in the Democratic Republic of Congo through many bewildering twists and turns. Sparked by a Rwandan army incursion to clear out Hutu-dominated refugee camps on the border between the two countries, the conflict dragged in the armies of eight surrounding countries and an alphabet soup of Congolese guerrilla movements and tribal militias; millions died in the fighting and attendant massacres, starvation and disease. Prunier discerns many layers to the upheaval; a conventional struggle for political control of what had been called Zaire, it was also a multisided act of piracy aimed at looting the country's mineral wealth, an outbreak of generations-long ethnic hatreds and a ghastly symptom of Africa's ongoing crisis of weak and illegitimate governments. The author carefully untangles these complexities while offering unsparing assessments of the participants, including a vigorous indictment of Rwanda's Tutsi leaders for using the 1994 genocide as an excuse for their own atrocities. Lucid, meticulously researched and incisive, Prunier's will likely become the standard account of this under-reported tragedy.
añadido por HurstPub | editarPublishers Weekly
 
This remarkable book sets out to explain the way in which the 1994 Rwandan genocide triggered what is sometimes termed "Africa's first world war", the conflict in the Congo basin that sucked Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe into war, and ultimately saw the overthrow of the Mobutu regime in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and the death of 4m people
añadido por HurstPub | editarSunday Times
 
Mr Prunier, elaborate, anecdotal and discursive, enjoys demolishing the idea that the war is a conspiracy of English-speaking countries to prise Congo away from the French sphere of influence. He points out that despite the intervention of Congo's neighbours in 1998, this was never a world war. [...] Rather, Prunier points out, the genocide in Rwanda acted as an incendiary bomb, setting fire to disputes that go back generations.
añadido por HurstPub | editarThe Economist
 
If Gerard Prunier did not exist already, there would be an urgent need for him to be created. The maverick French historian is a genuine rarity, someone who has criss-crossed Africa for 37 years, who can deliver a historical sweep but masters the details. He has battled at times alone to clear the foggy lens through which the continent is viewed.
añadido por HurstPub | editarFinancial Times
 
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The Rwandan genocide sparked a horrific bloodbath that swept across sub-Saharan Africa, ultimately leading to the deaths of some four million people. In this extraordinary history of the recent wars in Central Africa, Gerard Prunier offers a gripping account of how one grisly episode laid the groundwork for a sweeping and disastrous upheaval. Prunier vividly describes the grisly aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, when some two million refugees--a third of Rwanda's population--fled to exile in Zaire in 1996. The new Rwandan regime then crossed into Zaire and attacked the refugees, slaughtering upwards of 400,000 people. The Rwandan forces then turned on Zaire's despotic President Mobutu and, with the help of a number of allied African countries, overthrew him. But as Prunier shows, the collapse of the Mobutu regime and the ascension of the corrupt and erratic Laurent-D#65533;sir#65533; Kabila created a power vacuum that drew Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Sudan, and other African nations into an extended and chaotic war. The heart of the book documents how the whole core of the African continent became engulfed in an intractible and bloody conflict after 1998, a devastating war that only wound down following the assassination of Kabila in 2001. Prunier not only captures all this in his riveting narrative, but he also indicts the international community for its utter lack of interest in what was then the largest conflict in the world. Praise for the hardcover: "The most ambitious of several remarkable new books that reexamine the extraordinary tragedy of Congo and Central Africa since the Rwandan genocide of 1994." --New York Review of Books "One of the first books to lay bare the complex dynamic between Rwanda and Congo that has been driving this disaster." --Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times Book Review "Lucid, meticulously researched and incisive, Prunier's will likely become the standard account of this under-reported tragedy." --Publishers Weekly

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