12 January 2013

Blood cheese

Leading politicians and military commanders on both sides of the conflict own the cows that Eugene needs to make his cheese. 
'So, in a way, your cheese is helping fuel the conflict? In the same way that conflict diamonds are called blood diamonds, we could call your cheese "blood cheese"?' I ask him with a cheeky smile. 
He smiles, too, and, leaning back, draws his arm in an arc towards the lake.
'What do you see?' 
Eugene gently points out that all those villas, all the petrol stations, truck companies, this hotel, belong to warlords with ties to different militias or to the Congolese army. Nothing has really changed. The UN peacekeepers are the biggest customers in town for villas and petrol and vehicles. They are pumping the most money into Goma's economy, which keeps all these armed groups in business.  
'I am not into politics', he says. 'I am just a businessman. You cannot make or trade anything in Congo that does not somehow put money in the wrong hands.'
Fascinating stuff from Ben Rawlence's new book 'Radio Congo: Signals of Hope from Africa's Deadliest War'

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