All Things Must Fight to Live: Stories of War and Deliverance in Congo

All Things Must Fight to Live: Stories of War and Deliverance in Congo

by Bryan Mealer

In 1996, the fighting in Rwanda spilled over the Congolese border, sparking a conflict that would eventually claim more lives than any other since the Second World War. In the course of his three years as a reporter in Congo, Bryan Mealer was the witness often the only witness to almost unimaginable scenes: entire cities laid waste by teenage gunboys with machetes and ball gowns; an obsessed UN commander locked in a fight with a shadowy militia leader named Cobra Matata; local heroes who resurrected a defunct rail line to ferry supplies to war-choked villages.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Cultural
  • Rating: 3.98
  • Pages: 301
  • Publish Date: April 29th 2008 by Bloomsbury USA
  • Isbn10: 1596913452
  • Isbn13: 9781596913455

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Mealer put his neck on the line to interview the Congolese "man in the street", so to speak...except that there are few streets left in Congo. I'd heard it again from a pastor going to Kongolo, standing outside during the long Lusengi breakdown, asking me 'When is the white man coming to fix this train? When is he coming back to fix this mess?" Then again from the old man who rang the breakfast bell, who told me with those same pinched eyes, "The black man can't run this company because he lacks compassion. The black man lacks love." 'Whites have the same problem,' I said. I don't say I need pictures of dead folks, but Mealer met a lot of good struggling people in his travels; I think he lost a chance to show us their faces.

It seems difficult to understand how someone capable of writing such compelling descriptions of human suffering as seen in the first chapter of the book could be so indifferent to native people living in a state of chronic starvation, the likes of which he could never experience in his comparably privileged first-world life. Bringing attention to the unrest in the Congo is an admirable endeavor, and for that I give Mr. Mealer credit, however he seems to fancy himself some kind of hero, and I simply cannot hold in high esteem an individual who, at the end of the day, spends more on drinks in the hotel bar than many of his interviewees likely make in the course of a week.

Untuk sebuah karya memoar jurnalistik atas pengalaman penulisnya di Kongo buku ini memberikan gambaran bagaimana jurnalisme mendalam itu dibangun dari keringat dan kerut penderitaan wartawan sebagai saksi dari peristiwa tragis yang ada dihadapannya. Namun dari sekedar memberitakan kedukaan dan tragis yang paling brutal, di titik baliknya Mealer pun dihadapkan pada sebuah pertanyaan, "masih adakah harapan bagi Kongo?" Dari sana memoar ini juga bergerak, bukan saja dari kegetiran dan kengerian, tetapi dari hal yang sama mampukan jurnalisme menyuarakan sisi positif dan harapan meski dari kebrutalan yang telah menjadi keseharian.

The book was very important in helping me understand what is going on in Congo, why the peacekeeping missions are not effective, why people are starving in the midst of foreign aid.

Review saya lebih dari setahun yang lalu : Di Drodro, kepala desa meminta diadakan pertemuan dengan petugas PBB. Bagaimana anda bisa menghabiskan begitu banyak waktu dan sumber daya untuk memeriksa orang-orang mati, tapi tidak melakukan apa pun untuk melindungi orang yang masih hidup? PBB hanya memiliki kontingen kecil pengamat militer tak bersenjata di wilayah luas itu untuk melindungi empat juta orang. Aku berkenalan dengan seorang pengamat minggu itu di Hotel Hellenique, orang Uruguay bernama Juan yang baru-baru ini kembali dari misi panjang di perbukitan sebelah utara. Dan payahnya, saya baru sadar sekarang, setelah membaca buku All Things Must Fight to Live (karya Bryan Mealer reporter dan staf koresponden Associated Press) bahwa tragedi kemanusiaan di Kongo bukan semata-semata merupakan perang saudara, namun perang ini merupakan perang yang dirancang sepenuhnya oleh pihak luar, peperangan antarsuku bisa dibilang merupakan salah satu mata rantai dari perang multinasional yang terjadi di Kongo. Dari buku ini juga saya baru mengetahui bahwa usaha PBB dinilai gagal dalam mengantisipasi pembunuhan besar-besaran itu.

Bryan Mealer has penned a brutal memoir of his three years as a reporter in the Congo, three years when teenage gunboys roamed the countryside and city streets, when UN peacekeeping forces faced mystical leaders operating from jungle mountaintops, when rebel militias and government forces alike pillaged their own nation. While Mealer tells us the names and stories of many Congolese he meets along the way, he never really gives much insight into them as anything other than victims.

Where the book really took off for me was when the author decided to leave all the conflict stuff behind and really travel through DRC via river, bike, walking, and train. I guess the good thing is that I'm also reading a really excellent book that covers the history of the conflict, so missing that in this book wasn't so disappointing since I'm getting that elsewhere.

Too bad, because half-way through the book is what would have probably been my favorite story, of the reporter taking some time to travel the Congo river by boat.

He can't seem to let Congo go, and you can feel him trying to honor it and purge himself of it with each page.