View from Congo : Covid-19 and Violence

Above map shows the rate of geographic spread of Covid-19 in Congo

Covid-19 confinement in the USA was to open cautiously –

but unjustified police brutality, resulting in death of yet another black man, was the rupture through which mass protests poured through city streets of USA.  Violence broke out and escalated in the urban nights. 

As a result, will there be another upsurge in USA covid-19 cases –
remaining mainly urban, disproportionately black?

In Congo there is violence, too; here it started well before confinement-
but it was not city violence as in the States, it was rural violence.

It was not protest violence –

It was gang violence, maimai violence to establish dominance by remote, self-defined elites.
This violence, in the buffer zone of Lomami national park, is psychopathic, superstitious:

A woman was accused by one maimai lord of being a “witch” able to reveal where there were diamonds.  She said she had no such knowledge.  She was stripped and whipped.  She had the strength to continue to cry out that she was falsely accused, she was not a sorcerer. She was buried alive.  All this is captured on telephone video.  Like the brutality against George Floyd, the brutality against Honorine was documented.    Here the criminal was Bernard and his band.

These maimai have beheaded, eviscerated and destroyed whole villages on both sides of the park.  One maimai leader, Fidele was caught, not by military or park guards, but by the villagers themselves.

Congo’s violence has a different social origin and will come to a different social end than the violence in the USA, hopefully both ends will come with fundamental social change.

The virus, Covid-19, too has a different social “position” here.  It is one of several virus killers all on-going. Note: the 11th Congolese ebola epidemic just broke out this week. 

Here, too Covid-19, is a killer and it is on the increase, though more slowly – so far – than in the more powerful, economically dominant countries.

Rate of increase in cases and deaths…on June 2nd there are 72 deaths known to have occured of Covid-19 in DR Congo.

We have not seen the end of Covid-19 here or in the USA.

We cannot be sure where the violence will lead in Congo or the USA, or how history will be written, or what lessons will be learned.  But we will continue to give an occasional view from central DR Congo.


  1. Natalie Hart
    Posted 2020-06-21 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Dear Terese,
    Thinking about you. Thanks for the posts. The librarian in me is wondering where the data came from in this and the previous post. Is it all from the WHO? Did you create the mapping and the “Three Ongoing Epidemics” chart in the previous post? Here, US families are skipping routine vaccines because of fear of COVID exposure, causing concern in the medical field. Perhaps that will raise the profile of measles devastation worldwide. One of my colleagues was pushing to re-purpose closed libraries to become vaccination clinics – not likely to happen. Warm hugs, N

  2. Terese Hart
    Posted 2020-06-26 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Hi Natalie, Yes the tables and graphs are mine, but I should have put all my sources. Here are some of them: Radio Okapi Actualité, WHO (particularly regional office for Africa), John Hopkins, Africa CDC, Aljazeera, Economist, NYTimes…. next time I will list. And of course our teams for what is happening around central DRC and Kinshasa.
    I am worried about what will happen here, but appalled by what is happening in the States. We can only hope that that fall will be followed by a rise.

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