Endowed with natural resources, majestic bodies of fresh water, and a relatively mild climate, the Great Lakes region of Central Africa has also been the site of some of the world's bloodiest atrocities. In Rwanda, Burundi, and the Congo-Kinshasa, decades of colonial subjugation-most infamously under Belgium's Leopold II-were followed by decades of civil warfare that spilled into neighboring countries. When these conflicts lead to horrors such as the 1994 Rwandan genocide, ethnic difference and postcolonial legacies are commonly blamed, but, with so much at stake, such simple explanations cannot take the place of detailed, dispassionate analysis.
The Dynamics of Violence in Central Africa provides a thorough exploration of the contemporary crises in the region. By focusing on the historical and social forces behind the cycles of bloodshed in Rwanda, Burundi, and the Congo-Kinshasa, Rene Lemarchand challenges much of the conventional wisdom about the roots of civil strife in former Belgian Africa. He offers telling insights into the appalling cycle of genocidal violence, ethnic strife, and civil war that has made the Great Lakes region of Central Africa the most violent on the continent, and he sheds new light on the dynamics of conflict in the region.
Building on a full career of scholarship and fieldwork, Lemarchand's analysis breaks new ground in our understanding of the complex historical forces that continue to shape the destinies of one of Africa's most important regions.
Rene Lemarchand is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Florida.
Preface PART I. THE REGIONAL CONTEXT Chapter 1. The Geopolitics of the Great Lakes Region Chapter 2. The Road to Hell PART II. RWANDA AND BURUNDI: THE GENOCIDAL TWINS Comparative Perspectives Chapter 3. Ethnicity as Myth Chapter 4. Genocide in the Great Lakes: Which Genocide? Whose Genocide? Rwanda Chapter 5. The Rationality of Genocide Chapter 6. Hate Crimes Chapter 7. The Politics of Memory Chapter 8. Rwanda and the Holocaust Reconsidered Burundi Chapter 9. Burundi 1972: A Forgotten Genocide Chapter 10. Burundi at the Crossroads Chapter 11. Burundi's Endangered Transition PART III. THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO: FROM FAILED STATE TO FRAGILE TRANSITION Chapter 12. A Blocked Transition: Zaire in 1993 Chapter 13. Ethnic Violence, Public Policies, and Social Capital in North Kivu Chapter 14. The DRC: From Failure to Potential Reconstruction Chapter 15. The Tunnel at the End of the Light Chapter 16. From Kabila to Kabila: What Else Is New? Notes Index