In 2013, the Central African Republic was engulfed by violence. In the face of the rapid spread of the conflict, journalists, politicians, and academics alike have struggled to account for its origins.
In this first comprehensive account of the country’s recent upheaval, Louisa Lombard shows the limits of the superficial explanations offered thus far – that the violence has been due to a religious divide, or politicians’ manipulations, or profiteering. Instead, she shows that conflict has long been useful to Central African politics, a tendency that has been exacerbated by the international community’s method of engagement with so-called fragile states. Furthermore, changing this state of affairs will require rethinking the relationships of all those present – rebel groups and politicians, as well as international interveners and diplomats.
An urgent insight into this little-understood country and the problems with peacebuilding more broadly.
The Dynamics of Violence in Central Africa provides a thorough exploration of the contemporary crises in the region. By focusing on the historical and social forces behind the cycles of bloodshed in Rwanda, Burundi, and the Congo-Kinshasa, René Lemarchand challenges much of the conventional wisdom about the roots of civil strife in former Belgian Africa. He offers telling insights into the appalling cycle of genocidal violence, ethnic strife, and civil war that has made the Great Lakes region of Central Africa the most violent on the continent, and he sheds new light on the dynamics of conflict in the region.
Building on a full career of scholarship and fieldwork, Lemarchand's analysis breaks new ground in our understanding of the complex historical forces that continue to shape the destinies of one of Africa's most important regions.