KINSHASA - The Children of Eastern Congo tells the story of two young people from the same region around Goma: child soldier Isaac and activist Rebecca. The first was barely thirteen when he became a kadogo, a recruit of rebel leader Laurent Kabila. The latter was once the youngest political prisoner when she stood up with other youth activists against Kabila's policy. Why did one choose the weapons and the other the words? Did they stay true to their mission? How universal is their story?
And who will make it? The child soldier, dragged along by false promises? Or the activist, stubbornly fighting for basic values? In twenty-five years of reporting on Congo's most explosive region, Katrien Vanderschoot looks for answers, trends, causes and solutions. And she gives the last word to the Congolese themselves.
A haunting story about being chosen and choosing, about insight and purification, about the freedom of the individual and the coercion of a community, about dependence and resilience, about hypocrisy and authenticity, about fatalism and hope.
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