From the author of the New York Times bestselling and award-winning Not on Our Watch, John Prendergast co-writes a compelling book with Fidel Bafilemba--with stunning photographs by Ryan Gosling--revealing the way in which the people and resources of the Democratic Republic of Congo have been used throughout the last five centuries to build, develop, advance, and safeguard the United States and Europe. The book highlights the devastating price Congo has paid for that support. However, the way the world deals with Congo is finally changing, and the book tells the remarkable stories of those in Congo and the United States leading that transformation.
The people of Congo are fighting back against a tidal wave of international exploitation and governmental oppression to make things better for their nation, their neighborhoods, and their families. They are risking their lives to resist and alter the deadly status quo. And now, finally, there are human rights movements led by young people in the United States and Europe building solidarity with Congolese change-makers in support of dignity, justice, and equality for the Congolese people. As a result, the way the world deal with Congo is finally changing.
Fidel Bafilemba, Ryan Gosling, and John Prendergast traveled to Congo to document some of the stories not only of the Congolese upstanders who are building a better future for their country but also of young Congolese people overcoming enormous odds just to go to school and help take care of their families.
Through Gosling's photographs of Congolese daily life, Bafilemba's profiles of heroic Congolese activists, and Prendergast's narratives of the extraordinary history and evolving social movements that directly link Congo with the United States and Europe, Congo Stories provides windows into the history, the people, the challenges, the possibilities, and the movements that could change the course of Congo's destiny.
Chosen by Amazon as the Best Book of the Month for December 2018 in Biographies & Memoirs, History, and Nonfiction.
Featuring the life story of Dr. Denis Mukwege, winner of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize
Prendergast (Not on Our Watch), the founder of Enough Project, and Bafilemba, the coordinator of the Congolese civil society network GATT-RN, narrate how "the plundering of Congo has been engineered and maintained to benefit a few people for more than 500 years." Accompanied by photographs by actor Ryan Gosling, the text provides a broad historical overview of the central African nation, particularly the economic exploitation that has benefited Europe, the U.S., and armed groups. Congo has been used as a source of slaves, ivory, rubber, copper, uranium, diamonds, cobalt, and most recently gold and "the 3Ts" (tin, tantalum, and tungsten) indispensable in the manufacturing of electronic devices. In the stated hope that the book will inspire readers to engage in advocacy in solidarity with the Congolese people, the authors highlight local initiatives and success stories from activists whom they call "upstanders" (as opposed to "bystanders") striving to put an end to the present-day conflict; one example is a collaboration between D.R.C. and U.S. activists that pushed Congress to enact legislation requiring American companies to report on their supply chains with regard to conflict minerals, which "dramatically reduced... the number of Congolese armed groups and the money that sustains them." Idealists and activists new to the D.R.C. will find this call to arms illuminating.