Natural Resources Strike Again

I stumbled across this article by Josh Kron on the topic of deadly gas in Goma on the New York Times online. Natural resources and the DRC have a fantastic past. As if the people of Goma need one more thing reducing their life expectancy - they have mazuku [Swahili, evil wind] - invisible bubbles of carbon dioxide that lurk by the shores of Lake Kivu.[i]

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I will post various links and short articles as an introduction to the role natural resources play in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes region.

This is a quote from the New York Times article by Josh Kron:

"The lake's rare chemistry has also presented a financial opportunity. The World Bank has earmarked over $3 million for delicate gas extraction that could harvest years of energy for the countries of the African Great Lakes region, and it has been promoted by Rwanda and Congo as a centerpiece of the new and shaky peace between the former enemies. According to Rwanda's minister of energy, nearly 60 companies have come forward expressing interest in extracting gases, particularly methane, from the lake."

Pasted from <link>

This is a region ravaged by war, deep in the throes of the conflict trap [Paul Collier].[ii] War has not prevented potential investors from discussing extraction, or paying off warlords or presidents in order to get access to precious natural resources at a discount rate. Blood diamonds are sexy to discuss - but methane? Carbon dioxide reserves? What about bauxite? Coltan, a necessary component of cell phone batteries is mined in this region.[iii] For over a century, denizens of Great Lakes region have suffered to support our opulence. First the west extracted rubber at great human and environmental cost, then we moved on to mineral wealth. During the Cold War we were more concerned about the region's instability and uranium wealth.[iv] Once we run through one resource, a new one is quickly discovered and exploited.

[i] Kron, Josh. “Deadly Gas Flows Add to a Lake’s List of Perils”. New York Times. 5 Nov 2009. [ii] Collier, Paul (2003). Breaking the Conflict Trap. [iii] Montague, D. (2002). Stolen Goods: Coltan and Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. SAIS Review XXII (1), pg 106. [iv] Encyclopedia of the Nations. (2007). Congo, Democratic Republic of the (DROC). Accessed at

10 comments (Add your own)

1. Jace wrote:
This site is like a csaslroom, except I don't hate it. lol

Wed, November 30, 2011 @ 1:29 AM

2. butiaqwn wrote:
Zw7Lff ltcnfgavhhup

Wed, November 30, 2011 @ 5:40 AM

3. Beth wrote:
"I think people often pesurme the capitalist or the wealthy for that matter- to always be the oppressor. But remember it was the capitalist free market north that pressured the south to end slavery."Let me just preface everything I am about to say, with the idea that my tone is one of healthy debate, not animosity. The "free market" north did not desire to end slavery b/c it was inhumane, they wanted to end slavery b/c it gave the south a huge economic advantage over them. And, let's not forget, that some of those same northern states have fierce instances of localized racism, as well as pervasive racism to this day. So, I don't think that adds any favor to capitalism, however I am not condemning capitalism. Capitalism, practiced in its purest form is not the problem, but it is what is driving people to kill ( I hate to be so cliche9, but it is people who kill people). The way in which it is presented to people - flashy cars, life of leisure, control over others - turns people mad. The face of capitalism is a billboard of excess, which inevitably leads to corruption. The theory of capitalism, is opportunity to provide the services you desire to provide and healthy competition within a functioning and civil society, which is easily distorted in less organized areas. It is greedy unskilled, and useless individuals, who are exploiting these people (selling them the guns, instigating the wars, doing as much damage control in the media as they can to keep meddlers out, etc.) and are driving and fueling this war. And for what? MORE MONEY!! And A LOT of it, for that matter. These wars are making billionaires out of some people. So, there is where capitalism gets called to the table, to explain itself. But you can not equate the actions of individuals such as Hitler, or other mad and insane dictators, to the principles of the systems they promoted. Socialism, and communism both have there pros in practice they failed, but maybe with a more mature society in the future they could flourish. Also, I want to add, that I am not condemning the people of Congo for their actions either. I feel that it was important to mention the Belgians, b/c we have to remember that these Europeans went in with GUNS and no regard for the lives of the people there, to fight people who were fighting with less efficient killing tools. I do not think this type of attitude towards genocide was rampant before their influence, and I am sure it created a disregard for life that was not there before. Fighting is in our nature, killing is a reality of our lives (our ecological system relies on it, nothing is forever), but our humanity was what set us apart, from other species, and what we seem to be moving further away from as we become "more advanced"."Anyway, I think having a defeatist mindset and accepting the situation as is because you believe there isn't anything you can do isn't that much better than what these people are doing to each other. I think that by drawing attention and awareness to the situation you can affect change."I was actually going to post it on my blog as well. These things are not new, although horrendous everytime I hear them. I believe the situation is more complex, than any two minute post could address. Believe me, there are whole committees appointed to working on this mess for many years now, and they are still sitting around scratching their heads. So, I will not pesurme that my banter about it will change anything, but you are right that more people need to be aware of it, and more people need to advertise and make people aware of it. I will do what little I can. Thanks for pointing out the letter thing, Daphne. There are a lot of things to consider, and as I consider them, the complexity of this reality looms. Sorry, for the long post, but this isn't an easy subject any way you cut it. And I have a lot of thoughts about it.

Sat, March 31, 2012 @ 8:32 PM

4. Lilly wrote:
To all the members of the Mayo Clinic Team in the D.R.C.Thank you all for your efforts and dedication to following your hearts. I saw Dr. Mukwege speak in 2008 in New Orleans and have been a huge fan ever since. Thank you for joining his team, for helping this man help so many women and girls who have no place else to go. I applaud you all and look forward to hearing more.-Jenny HopkinsNellysford, Virginia

Tue, April 3, 2012 @ 1:40 AM

5. Jahlin wrote:
You can call a big pile of dog crap a fresh smelling rose, but it s still a big pile of dog crap.Doesn t matter what you call it. It is what it is. Very Orwellian.You can call something an Economic Stimulus Package that is nothing more than an expansion of social programs, but you can say how can you be against stimulating the economy?

Mon, April 9, 2012 @ 2:12 AM

6. Meadow wrote:
Been thinking all day of my friends who left on this trip today. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Despite all the obstacles it took to do this trip (including a cancelled first attempt due to the Iceland volcano!), they persevered and are going to make a HUGE difference in the lives of many women. Their spirit alone will be healing to these people. God s blessings be with you all!

Sat, April 14, 2012 @ 8:18 PM

7. Vyolet wrote:
Please explain how they are? Just stating their policies say is nothing.Since when is encouraging more employment, repairing infrastructure, constructing schools, keeping policemen,and firemen on the job etc.- giving to welfare or as you put it (the nasty word) socialistic?

Sat, April 21, 2012 @ 11:30 PM

8. Digger wrote:
Too be honest I had to leave the weights not because of anything other then I couldn t tolerate/recover from them. With 3 kids 2 under two, sleep is not alot of at the moment I was training normally and getting hammered with being sick feeling tired, grumpy!Basically it was a lifestyle choice but turned into the BEST choice relative to lifestyle. The Yoga OPENED my body/mind up improved my strength at all ranges of flexibility. BUT the biggest difference (good teacher) was the breathing/relaxing when all I wanted to do was strain my way out of a pose. Which is my normal , when stuck EXPLODE out with power/strength!! Thanks on the vids, I was happy with the comp been inactive (from BJJ) for 3yrs the guy I lost to is in the same club so that was fun!Next cage fight Spida

Mon, April 23, 2012 @ 2:02 AM

9. Philly wrote:
Thanks Steve JC Brown, the last 3mths I gave away the weights for Yoga, BJJ practice in a tournament just past weekend came 2nd in a division above my years!! I firmly believe it was from the Yoga (breathing, finding comfortable in uncomfortable daily meditation) with my BJJ mindset of allowing myself to be dominated in practice has given way to a new game rather then my traditional strength dominated style!!Great stuff thanks Jas Steve!~!

Wed, April 25, 2012 @ 12:49 AM

10. Robbie wrote:
Spida!!!! What s up brother? You re all over the place.I watched your BJJ Comp videos. You looked great.Any particular reason why you went without weights?

Wed, May 2, 2012 @ 2:31 AM

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