New York Review Daily, February 19, 2018
Beneath Congo’s soil lies an estimated (at 2011 prices) $24 trillion in natural resources, including rich supplies of oil, gold, diamonds, the coltan used in computer chips, the cobalt and nickel used in jet engines and car batteries, the copper for bathroom pipes, the uranium for bombs and power plants, the iron for nearly everything. This wealth is the source of untold suffering. Today, more Congolese are displaced from their homes than Iraqis, Yemenis, or Rohingyas. Yet their miseries are all but invisible, in part because the identities and aims of Congo’s myriad combatants are mystified by layers of rumor and misinformation, which serve the interests of those profiting from the mayhem.