Bonobos in the DRC

I had intended to write a great post about this topic, but I am an incredibly forgetful person.  You’ll see.

Yesterday in my Reading class, we started a chapter titled Out of the Trees.  The pre-reading activities asked the students to think about the similarities between humans and their nearest living relatives.   Of course all of my students were already familiar with the big three, but none had heard of Bonobos.  I described Bonobos briefly, and we continued the lesson.  Later I went into the lobby of our office, and the latest issue of Smithsonian Magazine was on one of the tables with a beautiful photograph of a Bonobo on the cover.

I skimmed the article and thought to bring the magazine home to read it.  I forgot.  I did do a search last night and found some articles not only on the Bonobos, but the elections in the only country where they live in the wild, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The news was encouraging.

I took the magazine to class today and it proved very useful.  During lunch I did more research about the elections in the DRC with the intention of putting together the best post ever on the topic.

Per usual, I left the magazine at work with half of my notes.  My plan of working on the master essay on Bonobos in the DRC will have to wait.


2 responses to “Bonobos in the DRC

  1. For those who are familiar with the Newshour on PBS (btw, folks who refer to the show as The Newshour are revealing that they are relative newcomers, since everyone who remembers Robin MacNeil’s dry Canadian foil to Jim Lehrer’s slightly more soft-hearted Texas take, continue to call it ‘MacNeil-Lehrer’) … Periodically, there’s a segment which is normally emceed by Terence Smith, in which neglected or ongoing stories are revisited. This seems to be a case of ‘it’s the thought that counts’, & so the show gets credit for at least acknowledging that there are many newsworthy stories out there which get short shrift. It would be interesting to go thru a year’s worth of Newshour (ha! I did it!) stories & break them down, not thematically or topically (is there a difference? If so, Michelle, Empress of Grammatology, will tell me, I hope) … but rather, break them down by geography.
    I confess that I hang on every story that comes out of Latin America but I’ll also concede that the immense variety & the spectrum of nuance & difference, both culturally & politically, are beggared by the astoundingly greater variety of the continent of Africa (&, for my purposes, Africa means sub-Saharan Africa). North Africa may just as well be part of the European-Mediterranean sphere, or the Middle Eastern sphere, for that matter. In many ways the history of Africa is THE story of the post-1945 world. Pick any detail within any given subject & relate it to that continent & then attempt to gain even an enthusiastic amateur’s knowledge & one would drown in the printed & other material that is available. And yet, in this country, in all our major media & even in the more marginal & therefore, occasionally more trustworthy journals & documentary outlets, there is a great silence. Is it as simple as the perception that there is no audience? That the topic is boring? Too difficult to master? Too depressing? So foreign to our way of looking at things that even the African success stories (& there are many) would not register as ‘success’ stories with First Worlders? I also wonder whether it might be that too close a look at the not-so-successful stories would reveal not only the dead historical fingerprints of European & American (but chiefly European) mischief, along with the very real, very alive, continued meddling & manipulation & exploitation & so on, up the scale of crime till one realizes that the colonial past of plunder & pillage is in many ways an illusion, that the past is the present is the future.

  2. Actually, I have been following the Newshour’s series on what to do in Darfour. Tonight a Sudanese connected with Amnesty International (I’ll have to look up his name) offered his opinion. He calls for sanctions with teeth against Khartoum and that the UN should send in peacekeepers whether Khartoum agrees or not. The key is for the international community to have resolve. The person on the last time was very passionate — an American — I’ll have to look up his name, too.

    I’m still working on the followup post to this one and now have one on Darfour in mind.

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