The Democratic Republic of the Congo celebrates its 50th anniversary as an independent nation June 30, but continues to be held back by violence and economic trouble. Despite harboring some of the world's most coveted natural resources, the nation is $8 billion in debt—and the fight for those resources has caused violent civil unrest between the government and rebel forces. The state also faces massive corruption and human-rights abuses. Congolese musician Jupiter Bonkondji went so far as to tell Reuters, "This moment represents a failure for our parents of the last 50 years. ... Rather than a celebration, for me it is a funeral." Former interior minister Denis Kalume Numbi said he hopes for "a renaissance" and sees Independence Day as a "time for reflection." Both U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Albert II, king of Belgium, Congo's former colonial ruler, will attend the celebrations.
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