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Africa’s broken heart

Congo is sliding back to bloodshed

O CONFLICT since the 1940s has been bloodier, yet few have been more completely ignored. Estimates of the death toll in Congo between 1998 and 2003 range from roughly 1m to more than 5m—no one counted the corpses. Taking the midpoint, the cost in lives was higher than that in Syria, Iraq, Vietnam or Korea. Yet scarcely any outsider has a clue what the fighting was about or who was killing whom. Which is a tragedy, because the great war at the heart of Africa might be about to start again.



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They knocked on the door. Facing me, two hoarse eyes. And behind, a child who barely holds them up with his six years of the national misery. He holds outs his begging hand and on the face of my country my heart falls, protesting with punches the prior death of this man. Even so, when I give him the bread, the tenderness of his eyes greet me from the depth of his ignorance. ORC

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