Sunday, December 2, 2012

A racist bastard called J. Peter Pham wants an M23-ruled ethnocratic state set up in North Kivu

(PHOTO: Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Michael S. Ansari Africa
Center, Atlantic Council)


I got this very short impassioned and tearful email today sent from
Washington at 0:47 EST by the mother of my daughter Elikia:


How to fight this crap???"

The link was to the op-ed titled "To Save Congo, Let It Fall Apart," a
"crap" penned by one racist bastard, name of J. Peter Pham, and
published on the New York Times of November 30.

I call "racist bastard" any scholar from the US--there are only
American scholars or researchers influenced by this kind of
"sectarian" American scholarship to come up with this kind of
crap--regardless of race--who'd concoct the political theory of
splitting the Congo all the while denying any agency to the Congolese

This absurd theory and the racist bastards peddling it rear their ugly
heads every time there's a crisis in the Congo.

Before J. Peter Pham, there was a tandem of racist bastards called
Jeffrey Herbst and Greg Mills who, in 2009, were advocating to
Secretary Hillary Clinton, in their crappy article,
the annihilation of the Congolese nation.

(See my post of October 11, 2009 on those two scholarly punks here:

And before Jeffrey Herbst and Greg Mills, I am told, there was the
unlikely racist bastard called Susan Rice, who, during her tenure as
Under Secretary for African Affairs in the Clinton administration, was
also pushing for the fractioning of the Congo into micro-states.

That's why I'm crossing my fingers these days for Sen. John McCain
who, I wish, will succeed in his crusade to block Susan Rice as
Secretary Clinton replacement.

This goes a long way to show that those racist bastards have a
vestigial genealogy of sorts.

These racist bastards are all prolific postmodern theorists of
so-called "failed states" with little grasp of the anthropological
realities on the ground.

A quick look at the pile of crap left by J. Peter Pham in his New York
Times op-ed shows that these racist bastards often take leave of their
senses when it comes to offering realistic solutions to the Congo.

J. Peter Pham advocates for instance "breaking up a chronically failed
state [DRC] into smaller organic units whose members share broad
agreement or at least have common interests in personal and community

Well, this brings to mind, as I pointed out in my post of October 2009
referenced above, the "smaller organic units" the apartheid regime
developed in South Africa, the infamous so-called "Bantustans."

Maybe J. Peter Pham doesn't know that the DRC holds more than 400
ethnic groups--large and small--which, if his theory were to be
implemented, would yield more than 400 ethnic "organic units" or
ethnocratic "républiquettes" or the weest and weirdest republics of
the world!

Welcome to the pre-colonial villages-states of the Congo Basin so
well-researched by historian Jan Vansina!

I do hope J. Peter Pham has made provosions for their mutual
diplomatic recognition and their recognition by the United Nations or
is this genius dreaming of creating instead 400 tiny rogue states.

What's more, no one knows who would be doing the actual "breaking up"
on the ground. Maybe J. Peter Pham has in mind the "international
community" or the UN, with him as chief expert in "breaking up" a

In my October 2009 post denouncing Jeffrey Herbst and Greg Mills, I
pointed to another essential characteristic of these racist bastards,
including their latest avatar, J. Peter Pham: unrestrained, pernicious
hubris in the form of what anthropologist Johannes Fabian calls
"denial of coevalness" to the Congolese.

I concluded that 2009 post by making this observation:

"In his book Time and the Other, Fabian theorized that
anthropologists, if not careful, could be prone to 'a split of
temporalities,' imagining the primitive others as caught in temporal
limbo, denying them 'coevalness.' Our two scholars-mercenaries show
the same symptoms of this 'denial of coevalness.'

"Congolese are primitives. They can't be agents of their own history.
They don't count.

"They are dough we could knead at will. Let's carve out the Congo into
several tiny states, like the villages-states of yore. Let's fragment
the place into Bantustans! ...

"Underneath the thin veneer of the scholarship of these intellectual
mercenaries festers a virulent racism. Not unlike the racism of
Leopold II. A racism so metastasized that those suffering from it are
unaware of their condition…"

Let's turn back to J. Peter Pham, who goes on to write:

"Others have dismissed the M23 leaders as 'warlords.' But warlords,
even if they do not acquire power through democratic means, tend to
provide some sort of political framework, often based on kinship ties
or ethnic solidarity, that is seen as legitimate.

"They also tend to provide some basic
security — which is more than the
questionably legitimate Kabila
government in Kinshasa provides for
most Congolese."

If you still didn't take seriously my calling these scholars "racist
bastards," that's the moment in J. Peter Pham's text that racism bares
itself naked in all its frightening ugliness.

But if you still continue to hold this impostor as a trailblazer in
political science, I suggest you read the piece by New York Times
reporter Jeffrey Gettleman titled "Dire Scene in Congolese City as
Rebels Begin to Leave" published December 1.

The heart-rendering article is uncannily hyperlinked to the crap left
by J. Peter Pham.


Gettleman writes:

"Human rights groups said that the M23 rebels who captured Goma last
week were now going on an assassination campaign as they prepared to
leave, creating a vortex of crime and confusion."


"Residents said that at least 10 people in Goma had been assassinated
in the past 10 days, with many more disappearances.

"After one magistrate was struck in the face with a machete and nearly
killed last week, United Nations peacekeepers evacuated more than 20
other magistrates.

" 'We've confirmed several cases of targeted killings by the M23 in
and around Goma,' said Ms. [Ida] Sawyer, the Human Rights Watch

"She said the victims included 'those who refused to join the M23 or
act as informants, individuals deemed uncooperative during looting
incidents, and other suspected 'enemies.' "

Maybe J. Peter Pham was suggesting all along that North Kivu be set up
as an M23-ruled ethnocratic micro-state that would purge itself
through ethnic cleansing of the kind documented by Human Rights Watch.

Let's give J. Peter Pham some benefit of the doubt.

He might have been too busy adding yet one crappier essay to the more
than "300 [crappy] essays" he's been authoring over the years to take
notice of yet another Letter written by UN Group of Experts Steve
Hege that documents the direct military intervention of Rwanda in the
assault on Goma--thereby debunking J. Peter Pham's stupid theory of
M23 as an "organic unit" indigenous to North Kivu.

Quoting again from Jeffrey Gettleman's article:

"[A] new letter to a United Nations Security Council committee said
that the Rwandan Army had crossed the border into Congo and had helped
the fighters capture Goma in the first place.

"Rwandan troops 'openly entered into Goma through one of the two
official border crossings,' said the letter, which was written by
Steve Hege, the coordinator of a United Nations investigative panel,
and was leaked by a third party."

In other words, J. Peter Pham should stop bloviating about places and
people he doesn't know the first thing about.



Anonymous said...

HI Alex,

Very happy to see your post. As someone who just retired from MONUSCO after 4 1/2 years in the DRC, I share you feelings about this piece by J.Peter Pham, which I and many others I know found an outrage.
Unfortunately, it seems to be part of a disturbing pro-Rwandan current in American media, I was in Kinshasa until July , and I saw the M23 rebellion developing. Early on, there was concrete evidence of Rwandan command and control, but the US Ambassador to the UN did her best to suppress it. Now MONUSCO has become thoroughly discredited in Congolese eyes after the election and the fall of Goma, and rightly so. But what is really needed now iis some American leadership in the UN on this issue, and there has been none at all, Instead, Rwanda is being given a seat on the Security Council! Beyond belief.
Be well,

Rich said...

Hi Alex, I was preparing to finish this reply and send it to P Pham but then I asked myself why bother? Anyway, here it is.