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doctorcath

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I read books, I write about books, I would probably marry a book if I could find one who liked me enough. Three words to describe me mature, irresponsible, contradictory, unreliable...oh...that's four...

In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu's Congo

In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu's Congo - Michela Wrong A luminous, wry account of Congo during its time as Zaire when it was effectively ruled by Mobutu Sese Seko. Wrong takes us from the Belgian inspired murder of Patrick Lumumba through the asset stripping decades when Mobutu and his "Big Vegetables" built themselves huge mansions in the jungle complete with private zoos and gold sanitary ware. It's a story which was repeated across the continent and a period from which Africa is only just starting to emerge. Wrong's gift to us is to show how inevitable this series of events was and how difficult it is to point the finger of blame at leaders who were handed huge sums of money by the World Bank to use more or less as they pleased. When he died, the fabled wealth Mobutu was thought to have squirreled away in Swiss bank accounts turned out to be no more than a few million dollars. Staying in power was an expensive business in a country where the behaviour of the Belgians had long since destroyed any notion of trust or long term planning and bribes and kick backs were the only way to avoid at best deposition and at worst assassination.