Pascal is the Photojournalist/Filmmaker-in-Residence for the African Peace Journal.
Recently, Pascal was in his homeland in Congo documenting the pioneering prototype of the African Peace Journal’s Ubuntu Room. An Ubuntu Room is a modest room, or an open space, whereby small local communities in countries in Africa that are experiencing conflict, can create a sanctuary to nurture the hope and plan the practical steps toward conflict resolution and a lasting peace.
To visit Pascal’s website click here.
How have the Scramble for Africa and the Congo’s history as a Belgian colony influenced the current conflicts in the Congo?
Colin, in the two articles you have written for your website, you have articulated very clearly the past colonization and the present economic scramble of Congo.
In your article, A Brief History of the Colonization of the Congo, you have explained the deep wounds that have been inflicted upon the Congo by the exploitation of colonization.
Furthermore, in your article, The Scramble for Africa’s Economy, you have explained how, even though the European colonization of Africa is officially over; many of the same traits of exploitation of African countries continues in a hidden way, through multinational corporate colonization.
The quest for extracting profits from African countries did not end with colonization – such as the colonization of the Congo by Belgium. I would say the quest for extracting profits from Africa has just gotten more sophisticated through some multinational corporate interests. However, we must also acknowledge the good, ethical and responsible multinational corporate interests in Africa.
These multinational corporations are beneficial for local economies and help create opportunities for employment, as well as urban and rural work skills development and continuing education.
What creates chaos and conflict however, is more to do with government corruption and the habit of local Congolese who are highly placed and powerful, to exploit and divide the country.
Although, in many ways, these corrupt governmental practices can be traced back to the colonial Belgian presence in Congo’s history; it is time to put the past behind us and stop looking to our colonial history for excuses for current behavior of the government of corruption and conflict.
Instead, those in power need to take responsibility for their own actions and be accountable.
Why do you think we should address issues as a global community rather than as individual nations or groups?
Addressing issues as global community is important because the world is becoming more diverse. People now understand that the world is one community with similar issues. Issue of hunger, global warming and diseases, for example, affect all of us around the world.
This is the era where the voiceless should be given a platform to speak out about their issues.
Women, children and the disabled have been left behind in many countries. This is the time for the global community to come together to help to save our planet, our people and our species.
There is so much more community strength, Colin, in you and I addressing these issues as individuals from very different parts of the globe.
There is a higher purpose and a stronger unity in addressing issues as a unified global community.
What do you see as the main issues in the Congo right now?
How does the African Peace Journal address these issues?
The main issue in the Congo right is “PEACE”.
Congo needs peace more than anything else. Congo is such a beautiful place but the leadership doesn’t respect Congo and it doesn’t respond to international standards.
African Peace Journal is trying to bring the youth of the Great Lakes together to talk about a peace process. The future of Congo belong to the youth.
These people are smart and talented individuals, who have been left behind by their government.
Through African Peace Journal, we are telling our audience about the peace process and what should be done in order to save this new generation that has been manipulated by corrupt leaders and recruited by rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Why is education so important to African progress?
“Education is a powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”, said Nelson Mandela.
There is nothing more precious than education. Africa need well educated leaders who care about her citizens. Education is the key to ending poverty.
What is CAMME? Why are children so important to Africa’s future?
CAMME is a non government organization that help the youth of Congo live a future free of exploitation, maximize their potential and help themselves.
CAMME was founded with the vision that in the midst of war and disaster, there can be hope. When given the right tools, even in the most impossible circumstances, children can succeed.
Through our work, we provide this hope.
Children are the future of Africa if we start to invest in them.
And the good investment that can be given to Africa, will be throughout education. The only thing that we cannot steal from a child is a good education. CAMME has started a bilingual school that help orphans, abandoned street children and children who come from low income community.
We provide free education to those in need.
What is an Ubuntu Room?
What do you hope the Ubuntu Room will accomplish?
Last year, in 2016, working with Karim’s guidance, I travelled to the Congo to set up the first Ubuntu Room for African Peace Journal. Your readers can click on this link to learn more about this Ubuntu Room for African Peace Journal in the Congo. For a bigger overview of the Ubuntu Room, your readers can also explore the Ubuntu Room website on this link.
Ubuntu Room is a room where people gather together to talk about issues that are related to realistic peace processes and conflict resolutions. Ubuntu Room is a model that has been used in Democratic Republic of Congo, where students gather together to talk about peace in the country.
My hope is that Ubuntu Room will help to facilitate the peace process talks among students, politicians and human rights activists in the Greats Lakes Region, which including Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. Also Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda will be invited.
What roles do you see Unscramble for Africa playing in the future?
Colin, I foresee the role that Unscramble for Africa will be playing in the future, under your leadership, to be very significant.
What you are doing in your own quiet way, to bring awareness of the wounds related to colonial history of The Scramble for Africa, and a need for the healing of African countries through the optimism of The Unscramble for Africa, is very powerful and necessary.
As I mentioned in an earlier question, “there is a higher purpose and a stronger unity in addressing issues as a unified global community”.
You are cultivating this higher purpose and stronger unity Colin, by acknowledging the need for healing in my beloved country, Congo. You have no idea how honored I am that you are taking such a deep and well researched interest in my country and in my continent of Africa.
Can you imagine if all young people around the world did what young people like you do, Colin?
Imagine if young people around the world put in the kind of hard work and compassion of your work with The Unscramble for Africa?
Peace would then be a reality and not just a dream.
Where do you see the Congo twenty years from now?
The future of Congo is bright.
If the global community start investing in the youth of Congo, especially in the education sector, Congo will be a better place to live in future. This is the time to invest in education because twenty years from now we will have about sixty percent of our youth educated for their future.