This is over a month old, but I had to talk about it. Of all the apologies I expected, I did not expect this one: Belgium apologizes for the abduction of mixed-race children in Congo. Seriously? Do not get me wrong… this is a step forward… but what about the 14-million-people genocide committed by the Belgian king, Leopold II (King Leopold II and The Congolese Genocide)? What about the millions of amputees over several decades? Now Belgium apologizes for the kidnapping of thousands of mixed-race children which happened over 3 years right before and after the independence of Congo, i.e. their very own children with local women … Isn’t that normal? What about the Congolese? So the only time Belgium apologizes about Africa is for their ‘own’ children… what about the genocide? what about the maiming? the rape (we know it was not all consensual)? the imperialism? and the subsequent wars funded by them in Congo? Given that Belgium were recently forced by the UN to apologize, they decided to apologize for kidnapping their very own children! Do they expect us to clap for them? Maybe this is a way to boost up the Belgian population which is in decline (like everywhere in Europe), and again separate these already separated children from their origins. The excerpt below is from BBC; for the full article, follow the link.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has apologised for the kidnapping of thousands of children born to mixed-race couples during colonial rule in Burundi, DR Congo and Rwanda.
The “métis” children born to Belgian settlers and local women were forcibly taken to Belgium and fostered by Catholic orders and other institutions.
About 20,000 children are believed to have been affected. Most fathers refused to acknowledge the paternity of their children.
The children were born in the 1940s and 1950s and taken to Belgium from 1959 until the independence [a little after, 1962] of each of the three colonies.
Some of the children never received Belgian nationality and remained stateless.
Speaking in the Belgian parliament, Mr Michel said the country had breached the children’s basic human rights, seeing them as a threat to the colonial system.
It had, he said, stripped them of their identity, stigmatised them and split up siblings.
[…] The groups miXed2020 and Métis de Belgique say many of the kidnapped children “suffered deeply” as a result of their experience.
Many still had no access to birth records and remained unable to find their mothers or their Belgian fathers, who, the groups said, were often well-known figures.
[…] Last month, the UN’s Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent told Belgium to apologise for atrocities committed during its colonial era.
8 thoughts on “Belgium apologizes for Colonial-era Kidnapping of Mixed-race Children”
I first heard about it over a month ago when Dr. Mumbi did a whole video on that subject. That’s something I never even knew about and Belgium should be ashamed of themselves just like Leopold’s genocidal actions. This was just unbelievable and there should be more than just an apology. The existence of these biracial children parallels America. It used to be legal for White people to rape African-Americans even long after the Emancipation Proclamation. These children would even be sold as slaves and disowned by their slave owner fathers. Anyone of mixed race descent who happens to have a White parent doesn’t count as White in society’s eyes and are treated just like any other ethnic group. Trust me, I got my wake up call about that issue when I was much younger.
Thanks Ospreyshire. Yes indeed, Belgium owes more than an apology. I just heard the numbers arising from that genocide from some Belgian historians, and it is not just 14 millions, but more in the 120 millions… and much more if you count all the times after 1908, the incessant wars in Congo up to now, because of the colonial legacy.
Are you mixed race? how did you get your wake up call about that issue? Have you come to terms with the past?
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You’re welcome, Dr. Y. I’m glad there are people who care about these issues in the Congo let alone Africa. 120 Million? Is that just from Leopold’s regime before the other conflicts and wars? My God, that’s horrifying and I always heard 10 million when I first heard about the Congolese Genocide a couple of years ago. Shame that I had to find out for myself about that atrocity since no one ever told me in school from elementary to university. This is something everyone should know!
Belgium needs to pay for what happened to the DRC regardless of the UN is somehow pressuring them. Besides the DRC, I heard from a different Dr. Mumbi video that there are classified documents about other things in several European countries that haven’t been released yet.
Yes, I am (Black/White). I got my wake up call during my teenage years when some people would profile me at stores when they thought I was going to steal something even though I was about to buy a couple of things. That’s saying nothing about being called the N word, being discriminated in other areas and getting a DWB my freshman year of college. Even though my paternal side is Caucasian, I have been learning a lot more about my maternal side’s heritage especially finding out which ethnic groups were in the DNA test. You’re someone who has helped me out with some of the history and news aspects. To that, I’m grateful for it. We need to make sure these events in history don’t repeat themselves and I wish bigotry would end.
Yes… I learned about these numbers from the work of Professor Coovi Gomez and others who have done a lot of work on these questions. These are victims from those years… from real accounts from locals, and estimates… and also all the derivatives: those who could not write because they had been maimed (this is why at the time of independence, when the Belgians wanted to punish Lumumba, they took all their teachers away, and they were about less than 100 Congolese trained teachers in the country – and that is when a lot of Haitians went to Congo to help), etc.
Yes… there is a wake up call… but what is more important is connecting with your source, and that you know all of that now. So glad these information could help you in this journey. You are helping me as well.
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I see. I had never heard of Prof. Gomez before. Which articles and books mention those studies about the Congolese Genocide? My god, I didn’t even know they had a severe shortage of Congolese teachers then. Not just because of the maiming, but I can see how this was done by design so the Congolese didn’t expose what the Belgians did en masse by having very few teachers. One person I’ve talked to from the DRC said that they talk more about Belgian and French people in history than those in the Congo in history classes to this day which is a shame.
Thank you for understanding. In the words of Neely Fuller Jr. “I’m still learning.”. I’m glad I was able to help with some of that history, too.
Yes… and it is true about most French-speaking African countries: they know more about France, England’s history, than their own. It is by design so that no one will remember what happened in their own countries, and nobody will ask for reparations, and then they can come back to perpetrate the same things without anyone wondering what happened. The textbooks taught in classes are written by a French publishing society. In Cameroon for instance, France perpetrated a major genocide in 1950-70s, but this has never been taught in history classes, even to this day! Similarly in Madagascar where France perpetrated a genocide, and again it is not taught in history… yet they all know about the fall of the Bastille in France, and can sing the Marseillaise very well!
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That’s sad knowing it’s the case. There’s nothing wrong with learning about world history, but when the other countries (in this case: the colonizers’ countries) take precedence over the ones who were colonized, that’s where I draw the line. It’s a shame how they don’t teach the original history.
America is similar when it comes to African-American history. It’s as if Black people suddenly appeared out of nowhere to becomes slaves in the textbooks and even then some textbook companies in the South want to downplay it even more. I wasn’t taught about Black Wall Street, The Devil’s Punchbowl, Rosewood, or the alligator bait issue until years after I graduated university. This ill-fated education serves to make people docile while downplaying atrocities.
That’s horrible about Cameroonians not being taught about that genocide! I think you mentioned it in an article or two on your blog. I didn’t even know France committed genocide against Madagascar, too. I feel like there are so many horrible things that are hidden away from us. They know the fall of the Bastille more than events in their own history? My goodness. Neo-colonialism is bigger than I thought in the educational sector.
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