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From the DR Congo all things are difficult.To the DR Congo all things are difficult. Inside the DR Congo all things are difficult.


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At this first opportunity I decided to go for a walk. This place is rough, but not so rough.People smiled and said “Bon jour.” I still have to say, though, that it was one of the strangest walks I have taken. This is usually the case when you first arrive in any country. But this one is so loaded with a history of violence and despair, that I could not help but keep that in mind as I “marched” at speed through the capital. These are some of the things I saw. (I will post a few photos and then see how quickly the process works–if it does at all. Then, if the first run is successful, I will continue with my Sunday afternoon walk with you.) By the way, I walked alone, but had in mind that I would do my best later to share this with you, so that you were walking with me.


Photos From the DR Congo

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On the ground now. Here is the view from my current office in Kinshasa

Made a trip to the Congo River today, which is the second largest in the world. This is Yellow Bird by the river.


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Not everyone loves a soldier.
Yet they continue.
Sometimes knowing why,
But mostly not.
The pride, the action, sure
Those are easy.
The sacrifice, the monotony,
Not so much.
Somewhere out there is a perception.
There are enemies at the gates.
Or more accurately,
They are already inside.
Ready to take away–
Or more yet–destroy
Those things a soldier loves:
Children free to play
Women free to move
Men and women free to love.
All of us free to be together–
Or if we chose to–not.
Sure, being free also means
Being free to make choices.
To make steps, to take steps
Away from personal freedom
When we believe those steps
Will help others to have
Each their own freedom.
It is those steps each soldier takes,
Sometimes thousands at a time,
In the hope that —
Whether right or wrong–
Those steps are helping others.
So, as each soldier walks
Away from his or her own personal freedom,
Each hopes the walk will find
Someone else’s freedom at the end.
Even so, and most of the time,
That is not the end result.
Simply and because
The soldier alone is a noble thought,
But soldiers are part of a bigger mess.
Where control comes from a higher command.
Whose interests are out of the soldier’s hands.
So, in the end, the people,
Whose freedom the soldier seeks
Are left with less freedom
Than the soldier sought.
So they–the unfree–
Think it’s the soldier’s fault.
And that is why not everyone loves a soldier.

So, with that in mind
Why should any soldier bother
To walk from his or her freedom?
Some say, or so I think,
“In the past others soldiers have walked
And they have set people free.
So I too will walk to set people free.”

So the walk continues
For days, weeks, decades
Again and again.
Because there is no end
To the controls
On people’s freedom
And the ways freedom is kept
In a cage.


Three Rooms

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This is my room in Paris

This is Vincent Van Gogh’s room in Arles

This is Captain Willard’s room in Saigon



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About This Place…

"This website is dedicated to the many people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who have suffered and died."

 

The writer was a journalist, prosecutor, and Canadian soldier who is now trying to help the people who live in the DR Congo.

 

The photographs and the commentary here are solely those of the writer and his pet dog named "Bark." The United Nations and MONUSCO have nothing to do with this website.

Similarly, the township of Puskokum in eastern Tennessee is equally not interested.