The videos ‘crisis in Congo’ and ‘fault lines’ have a tremendous resembelance to Colonialism. The difference being that it is much more indirect and manipulative form in which the exploiter not even takes the responsibility for exploitation. This smarter and indirect approach not only helps them escape when they are questioned about their moral responsibility but also enables them to continue these atrocities without ever being questioned. Wikipedia defines Colonialism as – “Colonialism is the establishment, exploitation, maintenance, acquisition, and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory.
It is a set of unequal relationships between the colonial power and the colony and often between the colonists and the indigenous population. ” It also says that colonialism existed from 16th century till mid 20th century. What it actually means is that from 16th till mid 20th century colonialism existed in a direct and perceivable form. In that sense, the exploitation was honest as the exploiter directly came to another territories and bore the responsibility for exploitation. Also there was a clear line between the exploiter and exploited.
But after the outcry in the name of democracy and human rights all over the world and specially in the western countries, the colonialism came out in a much more evolved and concealed way. Due to developed trade channels and the ease of transport and communication the exploitation is now carried out by capital hungry MNCs or capitalist forces and not exclusively by countries. It is also not about the acquisition of land but direct acqusition of resources without even setting a foot in these resource rich lands. One more difference which is very subtle in nature is that the line between the exploiter and exploited is blurred .
This is because of the indirect nature of this exploitation model that not only poor people but even goverments are tricked into thinking that these trade practices or so called ‘help’ from foreign will provide the much needed employment and development in these underdeveloped nations wherein these practices are just disguised exploitation model. So by not understanding these unfair advancement of MNCs and developed nations ,the native government also becomes their partner in crime. The video ‘Crisis in Congo’ is about the exploitation of a whole nation by a host of exploiter – Rwanda, Uganda, United States Government and the corrupt dictators.
The roots of this exploitation are in Rwandan genocide which is essentially about ethnic differences between the ‘Hutu’ and ‘Tutsi’ people but the exploitation itself has nothing to do with these differences. Intrestingly the division of these two ethnic groups was made political during the colonial rule of Germany. This spark of division later escalated into a full scale civil war between these two groups in Rwanda. Some Hutu men who fled to Congo during the Civil wars became ‘Genocidal Militant’ and when the Congonese people sought refuge in Rwanda they mixed up with the refugee population and carried out terrorist activities against Rwanda which in their interpretation was Tutsi dominated country.
This made the Tutsi led Rwandan Patriotic Front or RPF government to launch a Revenge attack on Congo refugees where million of peoples were killed just because the Rwandan government sought few millitants hidden in these innocent population. Now starts a whole story of exploitation of Congo. Congo is a resouce rich land and all these resources are in heavy demand across various modern industries. If there were to be a fully functional government in Congo the capitalist forces in the developed nations will have much difficulty accessing these resources so the United States helped install a series of dictators which were easy to manipulate rather than a whole government and thus straightened their interests.
The other goverments such as UK and France played a similar role but from a different side. They made sure that there is enough supply of arms and ammunition to these combating forces so that Congo’s political instability and their gains are assured. The native Congonese who were powerful never thought about their own people and chose to support a war which could have easily died in the absense of these catalysts.
But soon these capitalist forces realized that the military war is costly to sustain so to further increase their profit margin they employed a much more heinous and lower level of warfare which is now known as ‘Rape War’. They would publicly rape women infront of their men and communities. They implemented this pychological warfare strategically and systematically across the lands. Since the men were not able to save their women, a deep feeling of helplessness and weakness crept inside the people which made them more easy to control.
Now these people would not even think of human rights because they no more felt human. Result was that there was no one to resist the capitalist forces when they are filling up their pockets with the resources. The second video ‘Fault lines’ is about MNCs like Walmart exploiting the human resource of underdeveloped nations. They are also using a similar exploitation scheme in which their direct accountability to exploitation can not be traced. They have made their supply chain so complex that to a distant observer it seems as if Walmart clothes are coming from thin air. Reality is they are trying to hide their unfair trade practices through obscurity.
In the disguise of a socially and morally responsible organization they are carrying out worst trade practices such as child labour, dangerously insufficient work environment, absense of worker’s rights and no accountability whatsoever towards any mishap during production. In order to increase their profit margin they are encouraging a concept called sub-contracting in which a direct supplier who is unable to fulfil his contract will pass a piece of work to some other contractor. These sub-contractor have small unregulated areas which they ignorantly call ‘factories’ which in reality is just a shack in someone’s backyard. In case of any accident such as fire accident these places act more like concentration camp wherein people easily get killed unable to get out.
The following table depicts a comparison of the two videos in tabular format – Categories Video 1 -Crisis in Congo Video 2 -Fault lines Exploiter forces USA,UK,France and Dictators MNCs like Walmart, Old Navy etc Exploited Mass Congonese population Bangladeshi workers in textile industry Country of Exploitation Democratic Republic of Congo Bangladesh Exploited for(resources) Mineral such as gold, diamond, tin, copper, cobalt, tungesten etc Cheap Human Resource Method Catalysing military warfare and rape war through political means and otherwise Irresponsible trade practices.
-Employing a 5-6 layer wide supply chain in production Disguise used Developed nations and UN acting as benevolent mediators were actual perpetrators Walmart posing as ethical and socially responsible organization was implementing unfair trade practices indirectly Catalytic agents Local political elites, dictators and genocidal militants 1st level supplier and loose regulations by Bangladeshi government Benefits to exploiter Sutained war translates to political instability which means limitless excess to Congonese resources for outsiders with zero accountability towards local people.
A long supply chain means no accountability towards any worker as there is no direct connection Results Beastly living conditions to people of Congo , weakening of spirit of people due to rape war and pychological warfare, spiked increase in HIV positive population, millions of people dead Dangerously insufficient working conditions, inadequate compensation to workers, zero accountability towards workers suffering accidents, child labour, death of workers, financial difficulties to victim’s family.