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Motorcycle diaries

The neglected civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has led to 4m deaths, tells us more about Africa's problems than do Darfur or Rwanda. And Tim Butcher's account of a motorcycle trip through the country is gripping

By Alan Philps   August 2007

In America, Africa is no longer the dark continent. Hollywood’s finest, including George Clooney and Mia Farrow, have blazed a trail to Darfur, followed by increasing numbers of politicians. Clooney’s latest film, Ocean’s 13, raised $10m to help refugees who have fled the onslaught of the Sudanese government and its Janjaweed militia. Vanity Fair, the celebrity bible, devoted its July edition to Africa, filling the pages with upbeat copy on the continent’s heritage and glittering prospects.

It is easy to satirise the juxtaposition of movie A-listers and the wretched of the earth. But for all the celebrity blather, something is…

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