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Aime Cesaire's 'A Season in the Congo' opens at the Lion's Theatre

Misani | 8/24/2011, 3:56 p.m.
The brutal season in the Congo continues to look very bleak. As such we proceed...
Director A. Rico Speight; Muriel Wiltford, director of the Americas, Martinique Promotions Bureau; and actor Ezra Mabengeza (Misani photo)

The brutal season in the Congo continues to look very bleak. As such we proceed with our second in our series of the "Africa Sings!!!" Cycle 6 fall/winter edition, which is co-hosted by Kanda Bongo Man, the legendary Congolese soukous singer who will be in New York City mid-month to promote his fantastic new CD "Kanda Bongo Man: Non-Stop Feeling" (TP Productions, 2010).

At the same time, Kanda will be the guest speaker at various organizations during Congo Week, October 17-23, to discuss the horrific crime being committed against hundreds of citizens in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These vicious offenses against babies, children, women and men are insanely horrendous, running the gamut of rape and torture to murder. Since July of this year, there have been more than 500 women, children and babies, some as young as 1 month old who have been raped. In addition, since 1996, millions have lost their lives. Kanda will address these issues.

MAURICE CARNEY'S FRIENDS OF THE CONGO'S CALL TO SUPPORT CONGO WEEK

According to the website of Maurice Carney's Washington, D.C.-based organization, Friends of the Congo (http://www.friendsofthecongo.org ): "The Congo is the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world today, where nearly 6 million people have died since 1996, half of them children under 5 years old."

Further information on the website reveals that the United Nations has called the battle in the Congo the most fatalistic since World War II. Despite this knowledge and the fact that "45,000 people are dying each month," there is "hardly anything said about it in the media"..."in the age of the Internet."

Consequently the second annual Congo Week, a global student and grassroots program, will be taking place from October 17 to 23 to call attention to the plight of the Congolese, publicize the ongoing criminal assaults on innocent citizens of this nation and take a solidarity stand with the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (For more information, please visit http://www.friendsofthecongo.org.)

Carney was one of the prolific featured speakers last month at the Rico Workshop Productions Harlem community event at the Schomburg for a pre-production launch of Aime Cesaire's powerful play "A Season in the Congo."

The evening, which was sponsored by the Martinique Promotions Bureau, also featured Muriel Wiltord, director of the Americas, as another of the brilliant guest speakers. Wiltord discussed various aspects of the late Aime Cesair, the acclaimed Martinican poet, playwright, statesman and co-conceiver of the Negritude Movement. As a relative of Cesair, she also shared personal revelations and intimacies with the audience.

Carney spoke about the rape of the Congolese people, who have had a horrific history of victimization dating back to the 19th century, when, from 1885 to 1908, the nation was ruled as if it was the private estate of King Leopold II of Belgium. During this period, an estimated 10 to 15 million Congolese were slaughtered to facilitate his greed and enrichment.

This rape continues today for the natural resources of the 132,047-square-mile country.