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The invisible assumptions of charity driven development: reading Bill and Melinda Gates's 2014 letter

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation released their annual letter for 2014 a few months ago. It was devoted to dispelling three common myths, which they argue, block progress for the poor.

1. Poor countries are doomed to stay poor.
2. Foreign aid is a waste.
3. Saving lives leads to overpopulation.

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A short course on development in "Post-conflict" Congo. A Radical Teacher article.

Podur, J. (2014). A Short Course on Development in “Post-conflict” Congo. Radical Teacher, 98, 52-57. doi:10.5195/rt.2014.70

This article, published in the journal Radical Teacher, is about higher education in the eastern DR Congo, based on my experience teaching a course at the Universite Evangelique en Afrique (UEA) in Bukavu in 2011.

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Global Research Podcast on the DRC

A podcast interview with me on the DRC on global research.ca, conducted by Michael Welch.

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Mark Twain's Killing Train

Every time I give someone my email address, or tell them the title of my blog, I get a raised eyebrow or a shocked look. Now, telling people the title of my first book has the same effect. For that reason, I've set up this blog to have "Why Killing Train?" and an explanation about the new book very prominently available on the front page.

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Partition talk

When Belgium realized in the 1950s that, given that France and Britain were losing their African colonies, it would no longer be able to hold on to Congo, it set about trying to guarantee continued control over the strategic aspects of the economy, especially the mines. At first, it sponsored its local political groups, but lost control of these. The next step, just after the Congo became independent, was mercenaries and proxy warfare – a huge international crisis and United Nations mission that was, in the 1960s, called “The Congo Crisis”.

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Podcast on the DRC

I was on Kudakwashe Cayenne's radio program, Heart of Africa, yesterday, along with Maurice Carney from Friends of the Congo.

Here's the podcast.

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Goma falls to Rwanda

Rebels, called the M23, have taken Goma, the main city of North Kivu, one of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)'s eastern provinces. Their plan is to march to Bukavu, the main city of South Kivu, and from there, they say, across the massive country to Kinshasa, the Congo's capital.

A geographical note is in order. The DRC's principal cities are part of greater urban areas that cross international borders. Look at the capital, Kinshasa, on a map, and you will see Brazzaville, the capital of the other Congo, right next to it.

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An attack on Dr. Mukwege

Gunmen came to Dr.Mukwege's house in Bukavu, killed his security guard, and almost killed him.

Here is a profile I wrote of Mukwege in 2009 for The Progressive Magazine.

Here is the press release from PMU.

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Things they don't tell you about capitalism: an interview with Ha-Joon Chang

Published on ZNet

Ha-Joon Chang is a development economist with a special interest in economic history. His most recent book, “23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism”, as well as previous books, have critiqued neoliberalism and laissez-faire economics. I interviewed him by telephone on August 9.

Ultraviolent conflicts

Between economic austerity and riot stories, my reading is out of sync with the headlines. I've been reading more about African conflicts, especially very recent and ongoing ones. Specifically:

-Allen and Vlassenroot's book on the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda.

-Jason Stearns's book on the Congo war, "Dancing in the Glory of Monsters".

-My friend Lansana Gberie's "A Dirty War in West Africa" on Sierra Leone, and a book he critiques, Paul Richards's "Fighting for the Rainforest".

-Assis Malaquias's "Rebels and Robbers" on Angola's civil war.

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