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Just too good to be true?

March 16, 2009

I read a beautiful story a few days ago. It is like a new chapter of  The West Wing, the wonderful TVseries where a decent and capable man,  who studied in LSE and won the Nobel Price for Economics, rules the most powerful country on Earth and tries to be a force for good.

In this beautiful chapter, the President of the United States and his new administration do care about human rights, have a great operating knowledge of the problems of the people in North Kivu, and use their power to change the situation for better.  The plot shows how Congolese authorities visiting Washington are happily impressed by the new administration´s knowledge of the conflict. They are listened, and the new men in Washington are remarkably able to open a dialogue process. They put an end to CNDP, ensure the normalization of the relationship between the DRC and Rwanda…  and the first stone for a durable end to violence is in place.

Sounds like Alice in Wonderland, but this is mainly what Colette Braeckmann says in her last post. The text has been widely visited and traduced.

I guess that in the following chapters of this unexpected new season of the West Wing, the IDPs start to return home.

Colette Braeckmann is not no matter who. When she talks, people quiet and listen. However, here in the ground things do not seem so nice. IDPs continue to flee violence in Masisi and the FDLR claims to be hitting hard the FARDC.

This does not mean, though, that Braeckmann´s story is wrong. The problem is that governance is so poor in the DRC that the gap between the macro level and the reality on the ground is enormous. The weakest the state is, the longest it takes for decissions to be put into practice.

Joseph Kabila was recently here, and so did Ban Ki Moon. These visits, together with recent events and articles like Braeckmann´s, let us dream that the discussions taking place behind doors can really change the scenario, for good and forever. Sounds like Alice in wonderland, but having a black president in the white house sounded like that only two years ago, so… Let´s see.

This being said, no matter how much silence good diplomacy needs, no one knows what is being/has been discussed. Not very democratic as a process for a country considering itself as the champion of freedom.

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