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The Pictures’ descriptions are listed from top to bottom, and include background information relating to each topic. DRC is an acronym for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Many acronyms will not correspond to the word order of the actual group or organization titles, this is because their true titles are in French.

  • The Luki Biosphere Reserve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Bas-Congo province. The Reserve is just twenty miles north of the city of Boma, which was founded in the 16th century as a slaving station and entrepot by merchants of several European countries. The reserve is fed by the Congo river, whose north bank Boma rests upon, just 100 miles from Muanda, the small port where the river spills its life and its death into the Atlantic Ocean. Boma was once the capital of the Congo Free State and Belgian Congo before independence in 1960. 
  • The immutable first Prime Minister of the newly independent Republic of the Congo (renamed the Democratic Republic of the Congo as to not be confused with the former French Congo) and personal hero of my life, Patrice Lumumba. Patrice Lumumba was an ardent Pan-Africanist and his ability to face the King of Belgium and the disapproving West with unbelievable defiance was coupled with his ability to smith the greatest impromptu speeches. While the West is not inherently “evil” the DRC is a certain example as to how treaties and former alliances can draw righteous ideals down the path of hell. Patrice Lumumba only remained leader of the country as the democratically elected symbol of their revolution for twelve weeks before being placed in house arrest, deposed during a coup, and executed by a Belgian firing squad. A fragment of his skull was brandished with pride on national Belgian television. He was a simple priest looking for support around the world for justice to be rained upon the brutally raped and beaten Congo, and only the Soviet Union came to aid. The Soviet Union was not looking for idealistic belief in human rights, simply easily accessible materials in the mines of the Congo basin. The communist association placed a reticle on Lumumba’s silhouette during the Congo Crisis of the 1960s. 

  • Laurent Nkunda protected by two guards. Nkunda is the former warlord and leader of the National Congress for Defense of the People (CNDP), which he established in the Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2006. Nkunda was a general in the Congolese army before abandoning his post and accumulating a separate rebel force that sympathizes with Tutsis in the Congo and in Rwanda, just across Lake Kivu from the North Kivu province. During colonization in the 19th century, the Belgians decided that the Tutsi people were physically and intellectually superior to the Hutu people. These tribes, otherwise peaceful, were placed in completely different ends of society for natives in a Belgian-owned Congo, although neither position were preferable. It was something of an unusual Apartheid that spawned an unusual resentment toward Tutsis by the Hutu.

          A doctrine of Hutu superiority known as Hutu Power contributed to the Congo Crisis. The Hutu wanted vengeance. Most notably to us in the comfortable West, this materialized in mass rape and killings during the Rwandan and Ugandan genocides as well as Hutus taking power and reducing any Tutsis in office to nothing. In the DRC, once Mobutu (sanctioned by the CIA and British MI6) took power from an executed Lumumba, Mobutu further separated the tribes’ supposed differences. He forced the ethnicity of your heritage to be displayed on your identification, and preferred Hutu cabinet members in his corrupt office. 

By the 1970s, the roles of the two tribes had switched. The Tutsis were eaten alive by rebel groups in Ituri, Kivu, and Kisangani, they were killed for sport like the pygmy in the Congo Basin, and they were reduced to sub-human creatures in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Nkunda formed his own rebel group to fight for the Tutsis in the eastern Congo. He currently fights against the infamously incompetent DRC army and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, a Hutu Power rebel group in Rwanda. 

To his left, a soldier wields an AKM or AK-47 with a GP-30 40mm grenade launcher fastened to the barrel. To his right, a soldier sports a probably Khyber-Pass AK, with a strangely extended barrel reminiscent of the Norinco Type 81… but only slightly.

  • A photograph of the rapids in the Boyoma Falls, formerly the Stanley Falls, which consists of seven cataracts along the curve of the Lualaba River near Kisangani. At the end of the rapids, the Lualaba River transitions into the Congo river. A portage railway crosses the unnavigable river to connect Kisangani and Ubundu.

  • This is another photograph of fishing in the Boyoma Falls. However, these particular cataracts have been nicknamed the Wagenia Falls among French speakers. The last two cataracts are named after the Wagenya village and people nearby Kisangani, who have created an intricate system of fishing in the powerful rapids. They build large bridges constructed by tripods over the river, anchoring the tripods into the holes naturally carved in the rocks by the water current. Baskets hang into the water that sieve for fish. Because of the size of the baskets, only large fish are caught and equally divided among the members of the same family as the particular fisherman, even those that did not take direct action in catching the fish. The locations where each individual can set his baskets are inherited like property of land. 
  • FARDC soldiers of the 105th regiment, 12th brigade, situated in Baraka (DRC military) en route to Nord Kivu. The soldier in the foreground is carrying an RPG-7, while the soldier on the left is carrying a T48 variant of the FN FAL, and the soldier on the right is carrying an AKMS with a bakelite magazine. The FARDC have committed horrific war crimes including rape, cannibalism, and torture since the Second Congo War a decade ago and have continued to do so in every conflict within or around the DRC borders since then.

  • A militiaman carrying two East German MPi-KMS-72 Kalashnikovs in Ituri. Unfortunately, I cannot derive whether he is part of the Lendu tribe or the Hema tribe. The Ituri conflict has arisen due to reinstated violence between the two tribes since colonial disparity in education, wealth, and opportunities. The Belgians decided they preferred the Hema to the Lendu, just as they preferred the Tutsi to the Hutu, and as a result tensions escalated exponentially between the Hema tribe and the Lendu tribe. The Ituri conflict arose again after the end of the Second Congo War; the large influx of Chinese arms supplying several militias in the area due to unrelated conflict sparked old hatred with new weapons, some recycled from the Lord’s Resistance Army plants in Uganda.

The Second Congo War and its extended conflicts in Kivu, Ituri, and the M23 movement have accounted for more death than any other human conflict second only to World War II. The minerals and materials used to make the computers and smart phones you are certainly reading this from are acquired by rebel groups selling them cheaply to trading companies that release them onto the legitimate market. The rebels go through the Kivu region, murdering and raping millions of pygmy tribes and scorching their villages to mine the minerals underneath. They employ slave labor to aid in the process, risking the last pygmy tribes left alive after Belgians massacred the “sub-human” “novelties”. Of all the electronic companies responsible for the propagation of this horrific atrocity, Apple is the worst culprit. Whereas most companies consciously research the source of the minerals they us, Apple has no such plan and makes no effort to filter where exactly they get the materials to make their electronics in sweatshops in Taiwan and China.