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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Lumumba, Hammarskjoeld, and the 1960 Congo crisis: a case of international misunderstanding?
Author:Blommaert, JanISNI
Periodical:Afrika Focus
Geographic term:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
Subjects:political conditions
political stability
Abstract:A number of influential works on the 1960 Congo crisis, as well as most theoretical models of intercultural communication, consistently explain conflicts between culturally different participants in terms of features of ethnic communication style, cognition, value systems, etc. A general picture emerges in which culture is seen as the cause of conflicts, misunderstandings, or communication breakdown. At the apex of the Congo crisis, on August 14 and 15, 1960, Lumumba (the late Prime Minister of the Congo, present-day Zaire) and Hammarskjoeld (the late Secretary General of the United Nations) exchanged six letters. In the letters, Lumumba tried to discuss a number of objections he made against recent actions taken by Hammarskjoeld, but Hammarskjoeld refused to enter into discussion. There is a clear stylistic shift in Lumumba's letters. From a cool, detached style in his first letter he shifts to a strongly emotional, involved style in his final letter. The analysis of the letters reveals that ethnic features of communication style are a consequence, rather than a cause of conflicts. The full text of the letters is given in an appendix. Bibliogr., notes, sum.