Congo

Deep in the forest, miles from any major city, lies an abandoned cotton factory full of the dispossessed.

There is no police force guarding it. No electricity or running water inside. No sense of urgency or deep concern by the national authorities to do much about it.

Instead, as the days pass, hundreds of displaced people make cooking fires or sit quietly on the concrete factory floor. Dressed in rags, they stare into space, next to huge rusted iron machinery that has not turned for decades. They are members of the Bambote, a marginalized group of forest dwellers who are victims of one of the obscure little wars that this country seems to have a talent for producing.

Fragmentation. Factionalization. Decay. Ungoverned space. Ungovernable space. These are the terms used by aid workers and academics to describe Congo today. And it is likely to get worse.