National Geographic : 2017 May
Burning heart of africa 77 ripped out. A crowd of Christians and Muslims gathers in the stands. The atmosphere is festive. Young women in colorful sundresses hand out sodas. A jovial announcer describes the action and cracks jokes, substituting the players’ names with those of European superstars. “Messi takes the ball from Ronaldo and passes to Zidane,” he barks into the microphone. People are laughing, the sun is shining, and the young men race and jostle and sweat. It’s not the beautiful teamwork that I. B. teaches, but I see him on the sidelines, smiling and cheering. Everyone is cheering. It is a beautiful, if fragile moment, like a pic- ture made out of butterfly wings. j After a year in a camp, Richard Dohou celebrated his return home by decorating with gold paper. His Bangui neighborhood, once a vibrant mix of Muslims and Christians, was emptied by brutal killings. Christians like Dohou are returning, but Muslims are not. “We can forgive each other someday,” says a resident, “but not yet.” Peter Gwin is a senior editor for the magazine. Marcus Bleasdale photographed conflict minerals in the Demo- cratic Republic of the Congo for the October 2013 issue. The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting provided a grant to support this story.