➜ [Epub] ❧ Consuming the Congo By Peter Eichstaedt ➦ – Motyourdrive.co.uk


10 thoughts on “Consuming the Congo

  1. says:

    A formless, untheorized travelogue through the hellish postmodern battlespace of Eastern Congo There s a little potted history of how Congo got to be such a cauldron of humanitarian abuse, and a vague sense that there are faraway factors that drive the cycles of violence, but no sense of how Congo s travails are symptoms of larger problems, or that the things that go on in Congo are continuous and importantly similar to problems elsewhere in the world The total inattention to the demand side of the conflict minerals makes the problems of Congo seem entirely without context, replicating the Conradian cliches about the place which, naturally, the books opens with And even the book s effort to see the nuance in the situation, eg that there are in fact many people, including locals, who benefit and profit from the chaos and violence In sum, there is no ANALYSIS of the STRUCTURAL factors that produce and perpetuate the awfulness, and hence little explanation for what we see Ironically, the lack of adequate explanation of why and how Congo got to be in the state it is in reduces what is meant to be earnest lament about human rights abuses into a kind of pornography, where we can only stare at the surface, but gain no deeper understanding In sum, the book invites pity, rather than providing comprehension.


  2. says:

    I have to start by thanking Nils because of your review of this book I feel like I don t have to start from scratch Still, I would like to build on your critique of this very problematic book a truly wasted opportunity.The biggest problem with this book is that it fails to break the centuries old Heart of Darkness approach to Africa and Africans In fact, it actively reinforces it At one point, I was disappointed to find myself trudging through two chapters about Sudan Darfur South Sudan Congo, Sudan it s all basically the same, right No biggie.Before I continue this roast, I would like to acknowledge two important things I did learn from this book 1 The coltan, tin, and gold extracted from the DRC represents a relatively small portion of the total amount extracted across the world I was under the impression that virtually all of the world s coltan comes from DRC Not true.2 In terms of monetary value, coltan represents a relatively small portion of the mineral resources extracted from DRC Gold is the big money maker there.So, thank you to the author for sharing that with me.Now, back to the roast This book reads like a he said, she said argument, offering no synthesis or BS filter At times it felt like I was just reading a list of quotes from different sources and the skeptical reader wouldn t take those quotes at face value My question is If you re going to write a book about a complex issue, then shouldn t you, as a knowledgeable person on the subject, be helping your readers tell fact from fiction Another frustration is that the very few times that the author chooses to present an opinion, he presents it as undeniable fact Towards the end of the book he states that simply leaving the minerals in the ground is simply not an option One reason he offers is that it would hurt local congolese miners who presumably would never ever ever be able to sustain themselves in any other way than by continuing the centuries old pillaging of the continent to satisfy foreign appetites But pages later, to make his argument AGAINST having MNCs avoid Congolese minerals, he argues that if Western MNCs pull out, then less scrupulous read less civilized and less white companies from China and India would just move in and continue buying up the resources, while ignoring any regulations currently in place I m confused will Poor Congolese miners have a market for their minerals or not Can t have it both ways.In the same way that the author carelessly adds to the Africa is a country mentality, he fails to make some critical distinctions between the different natural resources being plundered harvested exploited There is a Western Europe sized difference between Multinational corporations extracting gold, and the individuals who live in refugee camps harvesting wood charcoal from a National park, thereby decimating wildlife habitats.The biggest one for me is the difference between how gold and coltan are actually used around the world Coltan has some properties that make it critical for electronics and other processes Gold also has some good things going for it, but 50% of the world s gold consumption is for JEWELRY Another 40% is for investments, while only 10% is used for industry I actually think we should consider leaving a lot of it in the ground If you ask me, every ounce of gold in the city of Brussels should be melted down and used to finance the actual development of the DRC s economy as in, transitioning away from mineral and resource extraction On the flipside, we learned from the author that the DRC s tin and gold reserves make up a very small portion of what s out there So again, why is leaving it in the ground not an option You can tell a lot about a book, or the underlying theory being presented, by which ideas get the last word In this case, the book closes by doing two things 1 Slamming advocacy groups, whose advocacy work has done a lot to help the situation this book has.2 Pushing virtually all responsibility for solving the problems onto residents of the DRC He asks, Can the estimated two million people in eastern Congo who are involved in minerals and mining rise to the task Can the local leaders forego the the temptation to enrich themselves at the expense of their fellow countrymen Will the people of the Congo demand to have the kind of leadership and government they so badly need and deserve If you are a voyeur of African savagery just looking for yet another travelogue where a white guy celebrates being called muzungu by a gaggle of African beggar children is that some kind of rite of passage , then you will enjoy this In the meantime, I will be searching for another book that offers a critical analysis, maybe even ideas, to help me deepen my understanding of this complex situation.


  3. says:

    There has increasingly been attention paid to conflict minerals the minerals that are extracted from mainly developing countries that are used to power the technology we all cannot live without These minerals cause problems for a great many of us We cannot go a day or even a few hours without our cell phones, tablets, and laptops even though we realize that the minerals inside of them most likely caused suffering from some African miner working to earn very little wages With every social media update and email we send it seems we don t care, but conflict minerals put us into an unimaginable bind Whereas the great many of us can go without buying conflict diamonds none of us can seriously go without our technology Therein lies the rub Celebrities, activists, and humanitarians shout from the rooftops about conflict minerals and how multinationals are grabbing mines at breakneck speeds to claim the riches beneath the earth But no one is taking the next step and doing away with their technology to take a stand against the minerals that today cause undue harship for so many We remain largely nonplussed It s not that most of us don t care, it s that we don t understand the history of it all and the devastation surrounding conflict minerals It s a them problem, not ours That is why Consuming the Congo War and Conflict Minerals in the World s Deadliest Place is so importnt to this global dialogue Instead of the problem being simplified into soundbites, the history and repercussions of conflict minerals in the DRC is laid out in great detail by veteran journalist and Africa editor of the Institute of War and Peace Reporting at the Hague, Peter Eichstaedt In reading Consuming the Congo you get an overwhelming sense that it s not Eichstaedt s first time at the rodeo He already has great knowledge of the history of the region, but also has excellent resources who are not afraid to talk to him and provide inside information about the goings on of the area and provide insight about who is fighting whom It is a difficult task to undergo, to be sure putting the pieces together for an audience that largely couldn t point the Congo out on a map Eichstaedt makes the narrative easy to follow and the history relatively easy to comprehend although the actors are so rife it s hard to keep up with who is who Perhaps some of the bit players could have been left out of the narrative, but I have a feeling the story would be left rather incomplete to the book would have holes that would grow larger as history goes on Every bit person counts Every militia and rebel group counts Every multinational country counts and every country that is vying for supremacy over the region counts, even though for the reader it can become redious Eichstaedt does, however, a masterful job explaining why conflict diamonds exist and why they are so extremely valuable We know it is because they are essential to every electronic device on the planet, but he does a great job of explaining the why He also does a materful job at discribing how the rush for conflict diamonds is negatively affecting the people and the terrain of the Democratic Republic of Congo while nothing seems to be getting better Consuming the Congo is essential reading for those who want to get to the bottom of the conflict minerals debate and see why it really is important as consumers to fight for nonconflict minerals However, the book is also quite disturbing because it seems no one is doing anything about the suffering It just goes on while we fire up our devices and seemingly don t care.


  4. says:

    Profoundly depressing work from an experienced agent of the IPWR at the Hague about the eastern Congo not a history of the region s problems, but anecdotes from the ground displaying the intractability of the problems, including the deep resentment of the ICC s war crimes trials, the staggering corruption in joint Congolese Rwandan military operations, rogue militias making money charging observers for access to refugee camps and interviews, charcoal production and destruction of wildlife habitat, hatred of the international Coalition for Darfur interfering Jews , blood minerals coltan, wolferite, gold, diamonds and tin, and the awful reality that April 2011 Congressional regulation of purchase of these items either spurs corruption of causes less mining and thus collapses the meager economy Eichstaedt offers a few grass roots projects that have marginally helped child soldiers, widows, rape victims and AIDS patients, but the overall picture is grim.


  5. says:

    Excellent, since I wrote it.


  6. says:

    Eichstaedt gives us one journalist activist s view of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a basic history of why the violence is happening He attempts to weave together the histories of the various factions involved in the mess that is Eastern DRC, while recounting first and third person stories of atrocities and corruption perpetrated but these groups We get a good sense for how desperately violent the region can early in the book, and then a sometimes basic recounting of why the groups do what they do in the second half We are brought to understand that corruption at all levels, easily available arms, wretched levels of poverty all feed into the ever growing constant of a consumer demand for the minerals extracted from Congo s mines I feel there are parts of the book that seem like filler to get it to 200 pages I m still not clear why the chapter about Sudan exists in context to the issues in eastern DRC, but perhaps I just missed something and I was distracted by the overuse of brackets constantly re explaining which sides which groups where on If you can t recognize that the FDLR backs the Hutu interahamwe by the midpoint of the book, for example, perhaps you need to find a different subject While there is good background information here on the conflict and the atrocities perpetuated by it, I thought the best chapters where the final two, where he finally looks into various actions by international rights groups and mineral groups and what can be done by them The final chapter does this too, though the conclusions and questions he posits are obvious at that point anyway It almost seems like he had the final two chapters written first and spent his time filling in the why with the rest of the book Again, it is a decent, if loose, overview of the who s, how s and why s of the catastrphic problem in eastern DRC But continued reading on the subject is a good idea if you want to get down to the depth of the problems and their players.


  7. says:

    The author, Peter Eichstaedt is a writer and editor who has worked and traveled in Africa Here he writes of the eastern Congo, a region being destroyed by an entrenched war the scale of which exceeds any previous conflict by any measure.The book s chapters are each like their own essay on the various topics such as mining, armies, individual locations, the effects of war on people, the rape epidemic, the minerals themselves, reform proposals and others There are descriptions of mines, a buying cooperative, a refugee camp, a rape victim s clinic, a trip to Sudan and .Some of the story is told through interviews A wide range of people are interviewed, such as villagers, miners, a Mai Mai militia commander, a metals middleman comptoir , women s rape counselors and a victim, refugees, a reform advocate and politicians There are discussions of the wars effects on the civilians worn out , agriculture disappearing with some exceptions and wildlife rapidly disappearing.There are recurrent themes The vast mineral wealth is not trickling down to the people The government is too weak to protect the people and its own soldiers, because they are not paid, find ways to make a living off civilians The fighting is over the wealth and who runs the mines, but ethnic hatred is a factor as there is a lot of senseless violence.Reformers propose systems to identify conflict minerals will deter buyers Critics of the system say that European buyers will shun these minerals, but others will not Critics are also skeptical that those who tag these minerals will not be honest.There are excellent photos and a good index The last chapter offers mixed hope for measures that may stem the trade of conflict metals.


  8. says:

    It was quite interesting in a disturbing way Knowing what s happening in such a country was mind blowing But truth to be told i wouldn t have read this if it was for collegeit was one of those books that really opens up your mind and even if you don t find interest in such a theme, i advise you to read the book because if it changed my mind, it can also change yours.


  9. says:

    I received this book as a Good reads giveaway and found it a very interesting book I knew Congo was a waring country but had no idea of the extent We always hear of the exploiting of minerals in these countries but the extent is enormous This book is very enlightening and also offers a glimmer of hope with possible reforms.


  10. says:

    A disturbing book that highlights one of the biggest tragedies in the world My goal when reading it was to try and picture individual people rather than the masses When put in difficult circumstances us humans can inflict horrific things on each other.


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Consuming the Congo summary pdf Consuming the Congo , summary chapter 2 Consuming the Congo , sparknotes Consuming the Congo , Consuming the Congo 5ef8f9a Going Behind The Headlines And Deep Into The Brutal World Of The Congo, This Expos R Examines Why Eastern Congo Is The Most Dangerous Place On The Planet While The Western World Takes For Granted Its Creature Comforts Such As Cell Phones Or Computers, Five Million Congolese Needlessly Die In The Quest For The Valuable Minerals That Make Those Technologies Work Much Of The War Torn Country Has Largely Become Lawless, Overrun By Warlords Who Exploit And Murder The Population For Their Own Gain Delving Into The History Of The Former Belgian Colony, This Book Exposes The Horror Of Day To Day Life In The Congo, Largely Precipitated By Colonial Exploitation And Internal Strife After Gaining IndependenceaIt Offers Not Only A View Into The Dire Situation But Also Examines How The Western World, A Part Of The Problem, Can Become A Part Of The Solution

  • Kindle Edition
  • 272 pages
  • Consuming the Congo
  • Peter Eichstaedt
  • English
  • 03 July 2018

About the Author: Peter Eichstaedt

Peter Eichstaedt is a veteran journalist who has worked in locations worldwide, including the Balkans, eastern Europe, Afghanistan, and Eastern and Central Africa His latest work is a a murder mystery titled Napa Noir, set in northern California wine country.