Howard French was the New York Times bureau chief for West and Central Africa during a period of time when I lived in Cote d’Ivoire, where he was based. His coverage of issues and conflicts concerning the African continent had always been thoughtful, complex and demanded a measure of focused participation from his readers. His recent comments about the coverage of the rape crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo affirmed my own frustration about the lack of concern for the millions of Congolese who have been killed because of a variety of complex causes that stem, to a significant degree, from DRC’s relationship with Europe and the United States.
I just completed a series of poems about DRC- its history, its people, its music and its incredibly big heart. I urge you to listen to and look at the three, short videos below. One is of Howard French speaking of how we engage with Africa and the others are videos of The Kinshasa Symphony. This orchestra is a symbol for me of everything I love about the vastness of the African continent; its boundless energy, its resourcefulness and its resilient streak.