Communists didn’t rename the Congo
May 23, 2008
To the Editor:
I wish Mr. Hamilton (Central View, May 27) would take more care with his fact checking. Communist regimes do have a tendency to change place names (USSR, Peoples Republic of China) but the Congo was not one of them.
When the Belgians left (a nasty enough bunch themselves ” read Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”) the country was run (down) by a kleptocratic thug named Mobutu Sese Seko, a Cold War puppet of the United States, and the country was called Zaire. Only after Mobutu was the name changed to Democratic Republic of Congo. The country’s current economic system, such as it is, could best be described as thieving cronyism.
Mr. Hamilton also refers to Palestinians as Philistines ” “invaders.” They may well be descendants of that ancient people, but who’s to say who is an invader? The Holy Land has been overrun countless times ” Babylonians, Assyrians, Romans, Egyptians, etc. Were the Jews invaders after returning from their Babylonian exile? Who were the invaders to the people of Jericho when Joshua blew his horn?
I love history, but is it really helpful to bring up 1,000-year-old arguments to settle today’s problems? That’s as silly as Serbia claiming Kosovo because they lost a battle there some 600 years ago. Sometimes the past needs to stay there.