Democratic Republic of Congo
In the American imagination, Detroit symbolizes the depths to which civilization under the Black Undertow is capable of sinking.
Black History Month 2012 has provided us with the occasion to take a step back and look at African-Americans in the wider international perspective of black civilization in post-colonial Africa.
There seems to be an uncanny relationship between parent and offspring. Patrice Lumumba’s Congo, Charles Taylor’s Liberia, and Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe are Detroit or Philadelphia on a much larger scale.
Notice the senseless violence that spirals out of control, the casual brutality, the corruption, the nepotism, the tribalism, the extravagance, the utopian visions of the future, the claim to racial victimhood, the low trust societies. Without exception, it is the common thread running through every African country we have studied, and it is what has ultimately hobbled each and every one of them over the last fifty years.
Viva Riva! is a critically acclaimed 2011 film that takes us into the criminal underworld of modern Kinshasa. It is the first movie produced in the war ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo in twenty years. The movie has been hailed across the world for “capturing the spirit of Kinshasa.”
Kinshasa is the largest black city in the world: 10 million Congolese are now crammed into the remains of Léopoldville which boasted a population of 500,000 when the Democratic Republic of Congo was granted independence in 1960.
By comparison, there are 590,023 African-Americans in Detroit which once supported 1.85 million people in 1950. Kinshasa has a homicide rate of 112 per 100,000. The homicide rate in Detroit is 34.4 per 100,000. In New Orleans there are 54.4 homicides per 100,000. St. Louis has 45.1 homicides per 100,000.
Set in the dystopian ruins of Kinshasa, Viva Riva! is the story of a Congolese gangster who has hijacked a truckload of gasoline from Angola and who is making a fortune for himself on the black market catering to a city suffering from a chronic fuel shortage.
The electricity is flickering out and Riva is on a drinking-and-whoring spree in the Kinshasa nightclubs when he falls for the love interest of a local kingpin who claims to be descended from the royal bloodline of the Kongo Kingdom. The Angolans are also chasing after him to recover their stolen gasoline.
Viva Riva! is sex, drugs, violence, and gang warfare … set to the beat and the backdrop of the worldwide capital of the Black Undertow. The only reason to watch this film is to climb Martin Luther King, Jr.’s mountaintop and take in the view from the absolute summit of black urban civilization after 52 years of freedom and equality.
This is a glimpse of what New Orleans or Atlanta would look like after White people. It is unclear why anyone would associate such a future with progress. Kinshasa and Port-au-Prince are what happens when liberals confuse progress with equality.
The takeaway lesson from Viva Riva! is that it was was freedom, equality, and democracy that transformed Léopoldville into this garbage dump on the Congo River. These ideals are grossly unsuited to the African character and forcing them on them always results in a predictable disaster.
Note: Viva Riva! can be watched in its entirety on NetFlix.