colonization

Episode 28: Murhula Zigabe - Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo remains an enigma to many in the West, and for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s the lack of coverage, the singular focus on violence and poverty, or the silent bigotry that informs many Western attitudes towards the fortunes of Africans more generally. Many of the root causes of human suffering continue to get ignored while aid money pours in, resources pour out, and little changes to improve the lives of the people. Murhula is one example of the many positive stories from the Congo that we don’t hear about much. He’s from the eastern part of the DRC, and by watching Youtube videos managed to find a solution to multiple problems faced by his community, including environmental degradation, unemployment, poverty, lack of education, and autonomy for women. It centers on recycling organic waste into eco-charcoal for cooking. Sound like an unlikely solution? I thought so too until we connected for this episode.

In our conversation we also set his work against the backdrop of the DR Congo’s recent history, in particular the wars of the mid 90’s and early 2000’s that claimed approximately 5 million lives, and the ongoing use of rape as a weapon of war on a scale that sees a woman raped nearly once every minute. However, this conversation is not a catalogue of miseries and grievances. Murhula is an optimist, and perhaps after listening to his story you will be too, and maybe you’ll be inspired to look at the DRC and Africa a little differently.

Check below for more info about Murhula’s projects, and for some helpful videos to learn more about the DRC.

 

For a quick history lesson…

 
Murhula’s Website and articles about his work.

Murhula’s Website and articles about his work.

 

Feature-length documentary films…

 
 

Episode 26: Mahfud Mohamed Lamin - Western Sahara

In 1975 Spain ended its nearly century-long colonization of Spanish Sahara, leaving the territory to be overtaken by Moroccan and Mauritanian forces. Under the leadership of the POLISARIO Front the Sahrawis continued their guerilla war for self determination. In 1979 Mauritania withdrew and Morocco moved in to claim the rest of the territory now known as Western Sahara. The war continued until 1991, until a UN-brokered ceasefire with the promise of a referendum on independence for Western Sahara that never came. Morocco continues to occupy Western Sahara, transferring its citizens to the territory and extracting its resources under the protection of France’s protective veto in the UN. Meanwhile the Sahrawi community either lives under a brutally oppressive police state in occupied Western Sahara, or on the other side of the wall, a 2,700 kilometer barrier that Morocco constructed, which forms the de-facto border, splits Western Sahara in half, annexes most of the economically valuable land, and which forms the second longest wall on earth.

Mahfoud is one of approximately 170,000 Sahrawi refugees who are stuck on the other side of that wall in the harsh desert of Western Algeria. He was was born in 1991, the very same year that saw an end to the 16-year war between the the Sahrawis and the Moroccan government. But the following 28 years have not seen an end to the conflict, or the referendum that was promised to his people.

Latitude Adjustment is 100% listener supported. If you agree that we need more independent media that prioritizes curiosity and connections over fear and divisions then please support us with a monthly donation through our Patreon page. Thanks!

 
 
The New Yorker

The New Yorker

Western Sahara Resource Watch

Western Sahara Resource Watch