the heart of the congos

Wonder Woman: not the only female-led epic we need, but sure as hell a good

When I stepped into the movie theater to see Wonder Woman for the first time, I wanted it to be so many things, to fill so many voids in the stories we tell about women. Somehow, I wasn’t disappointed. Wonder Woman is at once, a hero’s journey and a bildungsroman. It is both a war epic and a journey epic. Diana sets out to complete a herculean task – and grows up, along the way, from a naive, young princess to a wise, kind & heroic demigoddess. 

To say we’ve seen shades of this story told about men a thousand times would probably be underselling it. But the thing is, it’s not this story, when it’s about a man. Boys who go on journeys and become men get their hearts twisted along the way. Diana grows up – but she never loses her heart. 

In Lord of the Rings, Frodo Baggins is chosen and undertakes a journey to destroy a great evil. Though the ring tempts him with power, Frodo completes his task – but the toll it takes on him is unimaginable.  Diana undertakes a journey to destroy a great evil, which she was created to face, and though Ares tempts her with promises of their joint power, she completes her task. She comes out of this experience stronger. 

In Heart of Darkness, naive Marlow goes to the Congo to help a man he has idealized, but finds, instead, someone terrible and cruel. His journey makes him cynical and shows him the world’s faults and the evils of imperialism, but imbues him with no desire to make things better. At the novel’s end, he is drifting and without purpose. Diana goes to help a species she has idealized, and finds, instead, something capable of terrible cruelty. Though she has seen the world’s faults, Diana comes out of her journey imbued with purpose – to help humanity live up to its potential. (Wonder Woman, the film, also textually condemns the racism & imperialism so present in Heart of Darkness – and much of the western canon). 

Casablanca, at the heart of the story, comes closer – Rick ends the film with a determination to do right, to give up cynicism and fight for what he believes in. But Rick, like many of Diana’s friends in Wonder Woman, lost his heart and his hope, and needed to be touched by love to find it again. Diana never needs to be led out of the darkness, and it is because she chooses to constantly believe in light. 

Wonder Woman is not, of course, the only hero’s journey epic with a female lead – nor should it be. It should be one drop in an ocean, just like any of the male-led stories I’ve mentioned. Unfortunately, we’re not there. Wonder Woman had a void to fill, had questions posed over and over to answer. It answers every questions. And until that void is filled, with many stories, of many women – the more diverse the better – Wonder Woman can hold the fort. 

Arab slave trade (Zanzibar slave trade) and Congo-Arab war

[This post will be brief and written in a way that is accessible to all. Also, non-Congolese people keep your opinions to yourself, don’t make blank statements and dont no share your thoughts on this post, I don’t care for them. If you comment you will be blocked] This post will not go into too much detail, I won’t talk about specific ethnic groups or places in Eastern Congo (that will be done on separate posts)

The Arabs and Waswahili (Swahili people; who are also referred to as Baswahili in D.R. Congo today) of Zanzibar and other Swahili City States had been trading with states/kingdoms like the Luba kingdom of the Congo region  before the arrival of the Belgians. During the time of the Congo Free State, whilst the Belgians controlled most of the Congo the Arabs and Waswahili of Zanzibar had Eastern Congo. Tippu Tip whose real name was Hamed ben Mohammed al-Murjebi, was one of the most notorious, famous and powerful slavers in Eastern Congo. Reybrouck writes “At first he had acquired his luxury good, slaves and ivory in a friendly fashion. Yet, from 1870 on, all that changed. As more and more tons of ivory began flowing eastward, traders like Tippu Tip grew in power and wealth. In the final account, the sacking and pillaging of entire villages proved more cost effective than battering for a few tusks and adolescents. Why spend days chattering with local village chieftain, refusing lukewarm palm wine when your religion forbade you drinking anyway, when you could just as easily torch his village. The name Tippu Tip sent shivers down the spines of those inhabiting an area half the size of Europe.” And Zanzibari control of Eastern Congo continued until their relationship with the Belgians turned sour which then turned into a war (proxy war). 

[An account of the slave trade:

We pass a woman tied by the neck to a tree and dead, the people of the country explained that she has been unable to keep up with the other slaves in the gang, and her master had determined that she should not become the property of anyone else if she recovered after resting for a time. I may mention here that we saw others tied up in a similar manner, and one lying in the path shot or stabbed, she was in a pool of blood. The explanation we got invariably was that the Arab who owned these victims was enraged at losing his money by the slaves becoming unable to walk, and vented his anger by murdering them]

The outbreak of the war was blamed on the Arabs and Waswahili. The Zanzibaris had signed a treaty on February 1887 promising to end the slave trade in Eastern Congo but failed to do so, then the Belgians implemented plans to stop them. This was not done because they cared about the Congolese people, it was done because the slave trade and Zanzibar undermined the Belgians authority. It was the fight for economic and political power in the Congo which the Belgians presented as a Christian anti-slavery crusade. The war broke out it 1892 and ended in 1894 and tens of thousands people died. It was a proxy war because most of the fighting was  done by Congolese people, who aligned themselves with either side.



Baswahili/Swahili identity in D.R. Congo 

After the war had ended, the majority of the Arabs and Waswahili returned back to Zanzibar a lot of them remained and lived in in Eastern Congo. Swahili-Arab culture has had major cultural influences on Eastern Congo, along with the Waswahili descendants of the Free State living in Congo, mainly Congolese people in Eastern/Central Congo identify as Swahili/Baswahili and they are different from ethnic Swahili people living in the country. Ethnic groups such as Lega, Lokele, Baluba (mostly of Katanga but also some from Kasai), Bembe, Kusu etc etc have all been influenced by Arab-Swahili culture. Especially ethnic groups from the Maniema province and other Arabised areas. 

It should also be noted that the majority of the enslaved Eastern Congolese who were sold at the Zanzibar slave markets were taken to Egypt, Persia, India, Pakistan and Arab nations

  • D.R. Congo: The Darkness of the Heart: How the Congolese Have Survived 500 of history  by Loso Kiteti Boya
  • Congo: The Epic History of a People by David Van Reybrouck

16" Congolese Malachite Stalactite Specimen.
All of our favorite crystals are somehow even more magnificent in the new location… the sun glinting off the shimmering crystallized surface of this specimen is simply mesmerizing.
Visit our new store to see the entire Crystalarium inventory in a new light!🌞
TX-265, $3,600

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Congo River © Kris Pannecoucke

Congo River, Africa’s most powerful river and the second most voluminous river in the world is best known for its role in history. Called the heart of darkness by Joseph Conrad, the river and surrounding Congo Basin is made famous by the rigorous adventures of Stanley and Livingstone. The river and its tributaries flow through the Congo rainforest, the second largest rain forest area in the world, second only to the Amazon rainforest in South America.

What exactly does the Danube stand for? The Nile, after all, is the great river of Egypt; the Thames is England’s river; the Yangtze is China’s; the Amazon drains the world’s greatest rainforest; the Mississippi, the river of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, defines the American Midwest; the Congo is the river at the heart of Africa. But the Danube, with its multiple historical and liguistic associations, seems much harder to pin down.
—  Andrew Beattie, Danube: A Cultural History
🌟 Crystal of the Day 🌟 7/16/2017, Last Quarter moon. Zodiac: Cancer, Female, Water

Chrysocolla

  • Hardness: 2.5 - 3.5 ( or 7 - chrysocolla chalcedony, high silica content )
  • Crystal system: Orthorhombic
  • Chakra: Throat, Hearts
  • Zodiac: Sagittarius
  • Planet: Jupiter
  • Found in: Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo, England, France, Israel, Mexico, the United States, and Zaire.
  • Chemical property:  copper phyllosilicate mineral; Cu2−xAlx(H2−xSi2O5)(OH)4·nH2O (x<1)or (Cu,Al)2H2Si2O5(OH)4·nH2O

Uses: Highly regarded as a teaching stone for both sexes and all genders, opening the heart and mind to communication and new developments. It is a valuable companion stone for all seeking joy, positivity, understanding and luck in the world. Dissipates negative feelings with relationship worries as well as proving acceptance, inner strength/peace and stability for all outlets in your life. It is also said Chrysocolla may help regulate blood flow and high blood pressure as well as promoting health in the lungs, throat, fevers, arthritis, rheumatism, and issues associated with hip replacement or hip joints in general. This is one of my favorite stone and I keep one on my at all times.

 

BONUS: The actual structure of this beautiful mineral has been questioned and debated by scientist all around the globe!

 

Witchy word of the day

Deosil: “Sunwise” as it is also known by. Is the direction in which a magical circle is drawn. It is always the direction that which the sun travels. It is always clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere. Widdershins is the opposite, being drawing Anti-clockwise and in the southern hemisphere

Fact of the day:  In Egyptian times the color “Black” represented both life and rebirth. Egypt is known as “the black land” because of its fertile soil

Photo by Phil Moore

People shelter from the rain in the doorway of a church and school in the village of Kalungu II during a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) vaccination campaign in remote parts of Masisi territory in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on August 13, 2014. The village is in the heart of territory controlled by an armed group.

Jongin -- Fond

It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but every day that he is away yours grows weaker.

“I’ll be home next week.” he promised. That was six months ago. You used to receive calls everyday. A long conversation filled with “I miss you” and “I love you”. The downgraded to calls every other day. The texts shortened, the “I miss you” and “I love you” became less frequent. The arguments strengthened.

You knew that getting into a relationship with someone of an idol status wouldn’t be easy. You told yourself that you could handle the periods of time apart. You weren’t some lovesick teenager–distance shouldn’t bother you. But it does. You lied to yourself. You were lovesick, but now you’re just sick.

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Comment: officialdonlala said “I see #Egypt in her eyes and #Sudan in her skin
I see #Somalia in her face and #Zimbabwe in her waist
I see the #Congo in her thighs and #Ghana in her hips
I see #Senegal in her hair and #Nigeria in her lips
I see #Rwanda in her walk and #Kenya in her dance
I see #Uganda in her grace and #Liberia in her smile
I see #Ethiopia in her will and #Mali in her poise
I see #Africa in her heart”

Coltan as Cotton

Hack into dietary sustenance-tradition vs. health. Hack into comfort- compliance. Hack into the rebellious gene. Hack into doctrine- capitalism in relation to free labor and slavery. Hack into the history of bank. Is beating the odds a mere act of joining the winning team? Hack into desperation and loneliness. The history of community and the marketplace. Hack into land rights and ownership. Hack into business law proprietorship. Hack into ambition and greed. Hack into forms of government. The history of revolutions Their relation to suffering and sufferance. Hack into faith and morality. The treatment of one faith towards another. Hack into masculinity/femininity sexuality. What is taught? What is felt? What is learned? What is shared? Hack into God. Stories of creation: serpents and eggs. Hack into nature. Bio-dynamics. Bio-diversity. Cycles and seasons. Hack into time. Calendars. Descartes. It’s relationship to doubt. Is it wired to fear. The notion of control. The space/time continuum. The force of gravity. Whether the opposite of gravity is freedom. Hack into freedom. Power. Responsibility. Justice. The Bill Of Rights. Hack into coincidence. The summer of ‘68. The 27 club. The number of people with Facebook profiles. People who choose to share. People who share too much. People who seem lonely. People who want to uplift. People who need uplifting. People in search of followers. Hack into self-help self-sufficiency and self indulgence. Hack into crazy. Hack into lunatic. Hack into star. Hack into infamous/notorious. Hack into narcissism. The effects of poverty on the psyche. The effects of race. The effects of cruelty. The victims that survived. THERE IS A PANEL MARKED SURVIVAL. Three simple copper wires coiled ‘round an orb.. Hack into orbit. Equatorial land mines. Useful and precious metals. COLTAN AS COTTON. Hack into hazardous. Nuclear blue clear. Cloud form and fish farm. Cow farts and pig shit. Hack into horse. Industrial. Digital. Hack into code. Use your instrument as metaphor. Harness your craft. Hack into the mainframe. Dismantle definition dogma and duty. Hack into destiny. Hack into dreams subtext and subconscious. Hack into heart- cardio-Congo blood rich in oil. Hack into suffering and despair. Hack into the unfair advantage of those lucky enough to be born into one family or another into one condition or another. Hack into the circumstantial evidence that proves the obvious and wakes the oblivious. Hack into birthright bloodlines royal and tainted. Hack into superstition. Old Wives Tales. The rituals of the shaman. Hack into chemistry. The pharmaceutical industry. The modern rape of the forest. Hack into DNA. The coiling serpents. The time it takes for modern man to determine whether ancient men were foolish or not. Hack into the database. Hack into the subconscious. THE PANEL MARKED survival. Hack into celebrity. Hack into the cultural development of taste. Hack into violence fear and ignorance. How are they linked?