Belgian King Expresses ‘Deepest Regrets’ for Colonial Past in Congo

Belgian Congo_Genocide_Leopold II
King Leopold II

It took over 100 years for a Belgian King to finally ‘express his deepest regrets‘ for Belgium’s colonial past in Congo. As we recall, King Leopold II of Belgium perpetrated a genocide in CongoLeopold II took Congo, a country at least 10 times the size of Belgium, as his private property and killed millions of Congolese. It is said that he must have executed and maimed over 15 million people!

 

So now, Belgian King Philippe wrote a letter to the president of Congo Felix Tshisekedi, on 30 June 2020, the anniversary of the Independence of the Democratic Republic of Congo, stating: “During the time of the Congo Free State [1885-1908], acts of violence and brutality were committed that weigh still on our collective memory. The colonial period that followed also caused suffering and humiliations. I would like to express my deepest regrets for the wounds of the past, the pain of today, which is rekindled by the discrimination all too present in our society.” His remarks fell short of an apology! Should we applaud for this?

 

Belgian Congo_Genocide2
Picture of men holding cut-off hands (image by Alice S. Harris in Baringa 1904)

I say NO! To the Belgian King, I say you can eat your “deepest regrets”! Many are calling this progress, but I call this arrogance to wake up one day, and finally say, “I regret the past. Yes…, my grandfather committed acts of violence and brutality, killed your fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters, … maimed your forefathers, decapitated so many of you … instilled fear into your psyche… destroyed your livelihood, your culture, and the entire foundation of your society.”

 

And so what? That’s it? Should we clap for you? where is the apology? Didn’t you think we knew that already? Where is the reparation? Don’t you know that Belgium is nothing without Congo? Coincidentally, King Philippe forgot to include the period following that time, from 1908 to the independence of Congo, and then to nowadays with the treacherous role played by Belgium in the assassination of the Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, and countless others, and the unrest in the region to this day.

Patrice_Lumumba_official_portrait
Official portrait of Patrice Lumumba, Prime Minister of Congo

And to stand up there, and say I express my deepest regrets for the wounds of the past”… it’s like Hitler waking up today, and telling Holocaust survivors and their descendants, “I killed you, jailed your parents, forced you into exile, brought fear into your souls, and decimated every part of you… I regret it. What can you about it? ” It is simply arrogant! … It is just too easy. Until there is a clear “I am sorry”, until there is a clear “here is what we will do to right the wrongs,” until there is a clear “correction and inclusion in the history textbooks, opening of all classified documents”…. until there is a clear “respect for those killed, and for those living today” until then, there will be no respect for arrogant kings who claim to have been awaken by George Floyd’s killing in the USA and not the atrocities they themselves committed in Congo!

We, the people of Congo, cannot forget… we cannot forget that the unrest in Congo today is a direct result of the atrocities committed by Belgium in the region. We cannot forget the souls of our ancestors who still cry to us for justice today.

 

Devoir de Mémoire: Gbagbo dans le tourbillon du Golfe de Guinée

Laurent Gbagbo
Laurent Gbagbo

Aujourd’hui, nous allons faire un rappel mémoire, et regardé ce très beau documentaire qui discute des enjeux géopolitiques et économiques de la Côte d’Ivoire, et les  liens avec la République Démocratique du Congo (RDC).  Une chose très importante à retenir c’est que les enjeux du 21 ème siècle se jouent en Afrique, et que la survie des Etats-Unis et de l’Europe face à l’avancée du géant chinois se jouera en Afrique. Alors, il est primordial pour les américains et européens d’éliminer tous ceux qui voudraient ouvrir leurs frontières aux Chinois, ou qui voudraient pour une fois négocier des contrats justes et la dignité de leurs peuples tels Gbagbo. Attention, les élections en RDC auront lieu en Novembre, et nous prions de tous nos coeurs pour la paix et la survie de notre continent.  Nous, Africains, devons rester dignes et exiger d’ être traités comme des egaux et non des subalternes. Nos sous-sols regorgent de richesses, et nous rêvons de les partager avec tous, mais nous sommes désireux d’être traités comme des partenaires économiques et non des colonies. Continuons nos prières pour la Côte d’Ivoire, pour Laurent et Simone Gbagbo et tous leurs collaborateurs qui se sont battus pour la dignité de leur pays, pour la Libye et le Guide Kadhafi qui fait face à la plus grande armée mondiale transformée en gangster, et prions également pour la RDC et pour toute l’Afrique.  Ce n’est pas parce que certains pays qui nous avaient colonisés hier, sont ruinés financièrement aujourd’hui, que nous devons continuer d’être leur chasse gardée.  Arrêtons de nous faire piétiner.  Faisons preuve de lucidité, de vision, de courage, d’unité, et surtout de force.  N’Krumah rêvait d’une Afrique unie… Le Guide Libyen rêve d’une Afrique unie… rallumons cette flamme… arrêtons de nous diviser, et levons-nous comme un seul homme! (Les Etats-Unis avec 50 états forment un seul pays).

N’oubliez pas de regarder les parties 2, 3, et 4.

Lumumba’s death: Could we (Africans) have acted differently?

Frantz Fanon
Frantz Fanon

This is a great article by Frantz Fanon, which I published earlier in French.  (You will find the original here).  In view of all the events occurring in Africa (bombing of Cote d’Ivoire and Libya) with the UN approval, I thought that this article, published in 1964, was so important that I had to translate it into english for all to read! Enjoy…

—————————————————

The great success of the enemies of Africa is to have corrupted the Africans themselves.  It is true that these Africans had vested interest in the murder of Lumumba.  Heads of puppet governments, in a fake independence, faced everyday by massive opposition from their peoples, it did not take long to convince themselves that the real independence of the Congo would put them personally at risk.  And there were other Africans, a little less puppet, but who get frightened when it comes to disengaging Africa from the West.  It seems as if these African Heads of State are still afraid to face Africa.  These, also, though less actively, but consciously, contributed to the deterioration of the situation in Congo.  Little by little, we were reaching the agreement in the West that there was a need to intervene in Congo, we could not let things evolve at this pace.

Gradually, the idea of a UN intervention was taking shape. So we can say today that two simultaneous errors were committed by Africans.

Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Lumumba

And first by Lumumba when he sought the intervention of the UN.  He should have never called on the United Nations.  The UN has never been able to properly solve problems brought to man’s consciousness by colonialism, and whenever it has intervened, it was to actually come to the aid of the colonial power to the oppressed country.  Look at Cameroon.  What kind of peace do the subjects of Mr. Ahidjo kept in check by a French expeditionary force, which most of the time, made ​​its debut in Algeria, enjoy?  The UN, however, controlled the autodetermination of Cameroon and the French government has set up a “Provisional Executive” there.

Look at Viet-Nam.  Look at Laos.

It is not true to say that the UN fail because the causes are too difficult.

In reality the UN is the legal card used by imperialist interests when brute force has failed.  The sharing, the mixed controlled joint committees, under guardianship are international means of torture to break the will of the people, cultivating anarchy, banditry and misery.

Continue reading “Lumumba’s death: Could we (Africans) have acted differently?”