After being a drumming student with a Congolese Master I love and respect for 6 years, I know now about the nightmare of Africa, in particular the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I know about the mutilations, torture, rapes, and the forced boy child soldiers. I know about the massive theft of natural resources from the people of the Congo for gold, tin, tantalum, cobalt and other minerals. These minerals and metals are essential for the operation of computers, cell phones and other technology we consumer folk in the world constantly use. I know about King Leopold of Belgium, his vicious enslavement of the people of Africa for his greed and acquisition of colonial power. Without the internet, I never would have known.
I know my beloved drumming and dance master teacher Sandor Diabanquezi’s mother was gunned down in the Congo from a helicopter. I know Santa Cruz’s Congolese master teacher Vivien Basoamina’s sister was killed in the Congo. I know Eve Ensler has been there and written about the horror and terror of the murders and rapes done there by the legions of militia groups and soldiers. The Holocaust in Africa and in other places of the world continues unabated. I have tried to support Sandor any way I can and continued drumming anyway.
One year I bought a bunch of T shirts from Friends of the Congo with Patrice La Mumba’s face on them but quickly found out other people drumming and dancing don’t want to talk about how much we are part of the system that oppresses people in the Congo and abroad. I have hated finding out all these things, hated my unwillingness to divest myself of the goods gotten by this corrupt and unjust system, hated my feeling powerlessness. Yet, now I would rather know the truth than not, no matter what.
I embrace my Heart of Darkness, which is no longer unaware and blind to the larger picture of the world.