Belgian colonial atrocities in Congo

This video is called Belgium genocide against Congo pt 5/10.

From the Google cache of Dear Kitty ModBlog.

2/9/05 at 9:49AM

Mood: Thinking Playing: Get up, Stand up, by Bob Marley

Here is the text of King Leopold’s Soliloquy: A Defense of His Congo Rule. A satirical anti King Leopold book (from 1905).

By Mark Twain [see also here], famous US writer, and anti-imperialist.

See also Report of the British Consul, Roger Casement, on the Administration of the Congo Free State; on atrocities, from 1903.

From the New York Times:

Art Show Forces Belgium to Ask Hard Questions About Its Colonial Past


BRUSSELS, Feb. 3 – Understandably perhaps, the European powers that once ruled much of Africa prefer to recall the “civilization” they bestowed over the abuses they committed. Yet, as Belgium is now discovering, alternative versions of history can resurface unexpectedly.

Forty-five years after the Belgian Congo won its independence, a remarkable exhibition here has set off a critical re-examination of Belgium’s record in its only African colony.

That the show, “Memory of Congo: The Colonial Era,” is organized by the Royal Museum of Central Africa is itself surprising. This sprawling neo-Classical palace in the Tervuren suburb of Brussels was constructed in 1897 with profits from Congo.

And even as Congo tumbled through civil war, dictatorship and more civil war in the years since independence, the museum has remained a symbol of the good works that Belgium brought to its “model colony.”

Four years ago, though, the museum’s new director, Guido Gryseels, decided that the time had come for modernization, not only of the building, but also of its philosophy.

Concretely, he felt the institution could no longer ignore the darker aspects of Belgium’s rule of Congo, notably the brutal period between 1885 and 1908 when, as the Congo Free State, the territory was run as the personal property of Belgium’s King Leopold II.

The timing of Mr. Gryseels’ initiative, though, was not accidental. Although the atrocities committed by the Congo Free State were widely denounced in the early 20th century, Belgium chose to remember the more orderly colonial period from 1908 to 1960.

Then, in 1999, Adam Hochschild‘s “King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa” appeared in translation in Belgium. And suddenly this forgotten story again became topical.

Mr. Hochschild’s headline message – that some 10 million people died during Leopold’s direct rule of Congo – was in fact challenged by some Belgian historians, but the book nonetheless raised questions about Belgium’s selective memory.

It was in this context, then, that Mr. Gryseels formed a committee of Belgian and Congolese scientists and historians to carry out an in-depth study of Congo’s colonial experience to prepare for this exhibition.

When Mark Twain died 100 years ago, President Taft praised him for bringing pleasure to millions. Taft didn’t mention the sharp political differences: Twain was a fierce opponent of the American imperialism Taft championed. There is more to Mark Twain than most people realise: here.

Mark Twain is taught in countless English classes across the country. But he’s seldom remembered for his anti-imperialist, antiracist and revolutionary writing and speeches. In 2000, Helen Scott set the record straight in an article for the International Socialist Review: here.

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