After plenty of worried e-mails and phone calls an update from Kinshasa: no, I haven't arrived in Goma yet and no, I'll probably won't get there either. The renegade Tutsi general Nkunda
is taking town after town
in Northern Kivu and the city of Goma is feared to be next. Poor Congolese who have to flee
yet once again for the violence. For me there's nothing left but to wait in the capital, two thousand kilomteres away, and see what happens. All flights to the area have been cancelled and there are no roads that lead there. Stuck in a city that is not even a subject for my book...
By candle light - the electricity in Luanda was off again - the last couple of nights I've been reading the book which publication the emergency aid industry has been dreading. In Linda Polman's
book With Friends Like These
, the Dutch journalist paints a grim picture of the parade of aid organisations traveling around the world from crisis to crisis. She describes how the flavour of the day, competition amongst ngo's and media frenzy sometimes rule over the humanitarian goals, a thing that anyone who's ever been to a refugee camp will be able to confirm. Apart from that she rightly poses the question whether humatitarian aid can possible be neutral when the very powers responsible for the killing are determining the conditions of that aid. A mustread, also because Polman's tone of voice, despite the heavy theme, never becomes melodramatic.
Tomorrow evening I'll be strolling along that bay again in the city of the extreme contrasts. The city of cocktails on the beach and cholera in the slums. Half a year after my first visit to Luanda, I'm returning to visit the Angolans I've interviewed. Because people are always more honest to you the second time you talk to them (if only because not many succeed in remembering their lies for months). But mostly because this country with its endless opportunities fascinates me. Two weeks later I'll travel on to the Congo. More about that later on.