Congo doesn’t Need an Apology, It Needs Justice and Reparations

Hits: 125

Protests against racism sparked by the police killing of George Floyd continue to sweep the globe, including in Belgium, where activists have demanded the removal of statues of King Leopold II, and an acknowledgement of the horrors he inflicted on the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Pointing to a statue of King Leopold II, an activist told Reuters,

“We won’t accept this until the government understands that this belongs in a museum, not in public space. Because it is a shame.”

Leopold’s descendant King Philippe expressed regret in a letter amid the protests, and as Congo celebrated 60 years of independence on June 30.

“Our history is made of common achievements but has also experienced painful episodes. During the period of the Congo Free State, acts of violence and cruelty were committed, which still weigh on our collective memory,” he wrote.

But the King’s letter fell short of apologizing for the country’s actions. Many argue that’s not enough.

An estimated 10-15 million people were killed during King Leopold’s rule, one of the bloodiest atrocities in modern history.

“What Congolese are demanding is bigger than apology, it is justice, and justice looks like reparations,” Kambale Musavuli, a human rights activist and native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, told The Real News.

Under the guise of a humanitarian mission, and with the backing of the United States and Europe, Belgium claimed control of the Congo in 1885. An area the size of Western Europe, the region was rich with ivory and rubber. Colonial forces worked the Congolese to death harvesting these natural resources, without pay, to meet a growing demand from the nascent automobile industry.

“Congolese were literally slaves on their own land. Their hands were chopped off, they were killed,” said Musavuli, who works for the Center for Research on Congo.

Congo’s exploitation did not end when the atrocities were exposed in the media and a global campaign forced Leopold to relinquish his control of the territory in 1908, which was then transferred to Belgium:

“Congolese fought in World War I and World War II, not because they wanted to go fight, but because they were under colonial rule. And many of the ex-combatants actually received no pay as they fought these wars.” Musavuli said.

Belgium continued to exploit Congo’s natural resources, including uranium, which was sold to the United States to make the nuclear weapons that bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

In 2002, Belgium apologized for its role in the Jan. 1961 killing of Patrice Lumumba, a Congolese independence leader and the nation’s first elected prime minister. Lumumba was assassinated by Belgium and the United States for this opposition to the exploitation of the country’s natural resources by corporate interests. The apology did not mean Lumumba’s killers were brought to justice.

“[After the apology] Belgian mercenaries were doing interviews in documentaries, explaining how they removed Lumumba’s teeth. And one of them actually said that he kept one of Patrice Lumumba’s teeth. And no one has been arrested,” Musavuli said.

Belgium continues to exert influence over Congo till this day:

“The United Nation reports in the early 2000s about 85 companies were being paid for income with resources during the latest war, that’s claimed the lives of 16 year millions Congolese During that period, there were Belgian companies again trading Congo’s resources illegally pilfered by rebels in the DRC,”  Musavuli said.

For there to be justice, Musavuli argues, Belgium must pay for its past and ongoing crimes and exploitation of the Congolese people:

“Congo doesn’t need charity, Congo needs justice,” Musavuli said.


Originally published on 2020-07-13

Author: Jaisal Noor

Source: The Real News

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics, and international relations.

READ MORE!
Zoran Djindjic: The Quisling Of Belgrade
Tributes to Zoran Djindjic, the assassinated prime minister of Serbia, have been pouring in. President Bush led the way, praising his “strong leadership”, while the Canadian government’s spokesman extolled a “heralder of democracy” and Tony Blair spoke of the energy Djindjic had devoted to “reforming Serbia”. In western newspaper obituaries Djindjic has been almost universally acclaimed as an ex-student agititator who bravely led a popular uprising against a tyrannical dictator and endeavoured to steer his country into a new democratic era. But beyond the CNN version of world history, the career of Zoran Djindjic looks rather different. Those who rail against the ...
READ MORE
Western Imperialism ‘Must Go’
For years now, the Western elite have been incessantly pushing the slogan that ‘Assad must go.’ Under the pretext of removing an ‘evil’ dictator and helping the people of Syria, the West has been funding, arming and training an array of Al-Qaeda affiliated legions to force regime change in the country. Contrary to helping the people of Syria however, this has only worked to bring pain, misery and tragedy to Syria.Even the former US Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, admitted that the insistence on ‘Assad must go’ has “paralyzed” any rationale Syrian strategy.  Whenever the West appears to have moved on ...
READ MORE
Persecuted Serbian Orthodox Church: The Islamization of Kosovo
The NATO occupation was seen by Arab/Muslim countries as an opportunity to transform Kosovo-Metohija into a Muslim state. Terry Boyd in the Stars and Stripes article “In Kosovo, Islamic groups work to rebuild country, attract followers,” September 21, 2001, examined how Muslim countries were seeking the Islamization of Kosovo. The US State Department listed Kosovo as having active cells of al-Qaeda, Ossama bin Laden’s terrorist network. Al-Qaeda and Ossama bin Laden were aiding the UCK jihad in Kosovo. Iran was also active in Kosovo and Bosnia. Boyd reported that an Iranian Islamic group offered 120-300 German marks a month for ...
READ MORE
General Ratko Mladić and the Pandora’s Box of the Bosnian War (1992-1995)
General Ratko Mladic’s arrest and his extradition to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia satisfied the prerequisites for Serbia’s membership in the European Union. As expected, the western media have tagged the defendant as the “Butcher of Bosnia” and piled on as many charges against him as possible, thereby masking NATO’s role in Yugoslavia. But there can be no reconciliation without truth, which, as Slobodan Despot observes, is far more complex than the Manichean account given. Ratko Mladić did not serve his country well by hiding from justice for all these years, but his late capture may allow a ...
READ MORE
War Crimes: Agent Orange, Monsanto, Dow Chemical and Other Ugly Legacies of the Vietnam War
Fifty years ago this next month (December 1965), with the urging of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the rubber stamp approval of President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, the United States Air Force started secretly spraying the forests of Laos with a deadly herbicide that was known as Agent Orange. Operation Ranch Hand, whose motto was “Only We Can Prevent Forests” (a shameful takeoff of Smokey the Bear’s admonition), was a desperate, costly and ultimately futile effort to make it a little harder for the National Liberation Front soldiers from North Vietnam to join and supply their ...
READ MORE
The 1967 Obsession, Trump and Trivia
I arrived in Jerusalem last night and as always during the weeks between mid-May and mid-June the media is full of romanticized memories. Within these weeks are the two most siginicfant dates in modern Palestinian history: May 1948 when Palestine was conquered and renamed Israel, and June, 1967 when the Israeli army completed the conquest of Palestine by taking East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. For Palestinians these dates bring back bitter memories, but for Israelis the memories are sweet – those were the days when we were young and brave and innocent.  Vintage photos of soldiers at the newly conquered ...
READ MORE
Selective Solidarity with the Victims of Terrorism
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.Save
READ MORE
Kosovo and Columbine: Are We a Nation of Gun Nuts or are We Just Nuts?
In Bowling for Columbine (2002), Michael Moore analyzed the culture of violence in the US and examined its relationship to the illegal US and NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Following the bombing, US and NATO forces occupied Kosovo-Metohija militarily. The US and its allies acted unilaterally in bombing and occupying Yugoslav territory. There was no UN approval for this criminal aggression by the US and its allies. The illegal bombing did not represent “the international community”, but was the illegal action of the US government. The US goal was not to prevent “genocide” or human rights violations but to ...
READ MORE
Is Barack Obama Actually Trying to Start World War III?
Why has Barack Obama airdropped 50 tons of ammunition into areas that “moderate rebels” in Syria supposedly control? This is essentially the equivalent of poking the Russians directly in the eyes. Much of this ammunition will end up in the hands of those that the Russians are attempting to bomb into oblivion, and so to Russia it appears that we are attempting to make their job much harder. And of course the truth is that there aren’t really any “moderate rebels” in Syria at all. Nearly all of the groups that are fighting are made up primarily of radical jihadists ...
READ MORE
Weapons of Mass Destruction
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.Save
READ MORE
A Telling Comparison: Israel versus North Korea
Missing from corporate media accounts is what causes the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK aka North Korea) to be singled out for opprobrium for what, essentially, is developing a deterrent against any entity that would attack it.A comparison with how the United Nations deals with North Korea vis-à-vis another member state state, Israel, is instructive.Israel occupies Palestinian territory; destroys Palestinian olive groves and poisons Palestinian sheep; sprays Palestinian homes with sewage; sabotages Palestinian water supplies; cuts off power to Palestine; terrorizes Palestinians for hours at checkpoints, including the sick, infirm, and pregnant women, some who are forced to give birth ...
READ MORE
U.S Military Bases Worldwide: 682 Military Bases in 63 Countries
The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists — Ernest HemingwayMilitary spending is the second largest item in the US federal budget after Social Security. It has a habit of increasing significantly each year, and the proposed 2019 defense budget is $886 billion (roughly double what it was in 2003).US military spending exceeds the total of the next ten largest countries combined. Although the US government acknowledges 682 military bases in 63 countries, ...
READ MORE
The Criminalization of Parliamentary Democracy
Syria is being bombed as part of a “counter-terrorism campaign” allegedly against the Islamic State, an elusive “outside enemy” based in Raqqa, Northern Syria. While the ISIL is said to be “threatening the Western World”, the evidence confirms that the Islamic State is supported and financed by the Western military alliance, together with Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.  Amply documented, Al Qaeda and its various affiliates including the Islamic State Caliphate Project are creations of Western intelligence.  Moreover, whatever the justification, the bombing of a sovereign country is an illegal and criminal act under international law. It constitutes a war of ...
READ MORE
How Germany Paved the Way to the Kosovo War 1998-1999
In 1991, a delegation of the German Bundestag visited Kosovo for the first time in order to talk with Kosovo Albanian nationalist leaders. This prompted – as early as 1991! – the warning by a senior member of the Yugoslavian parliament that “the British and the Germans would create a common intervention force with 70,000 soldiers in order to intervene in Kosovo.” [2] Indeed an early and accurate prophecy! So what about Germany’s role in preparing for the Kosovo war?There were and there are strategic differences between German and the US policies about how to retain or enhance hegemony. “As ...
READ MORE
What is the European Union for?
After all the initial eu(ro)phoria and hopes placed upon the original concept of a non-aligned, social-democratic Euro-bloc, the reality has turned out somewhat differently.In a pamphlet written in 2011 – Europe: The Unfinished Project – I wrote:At the present time the EU project seems to be stuck in no-man’s land, unable to press ahead with full political integration, or retreat back into a northern European protectionist Deutschmark zone, and leaving the peripheral member states to the tender mercies of unfettered, globalized capitalism. However there seems to be a sufficient residue of the original EU idealism in the present stage of ...
READ MORE
The Killing of History
One of the most hyped “events” of American television, The Vietnam War, has started on the PBS network. The directors are Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.  Acclaimed for his documentaries on the Civil War, the Great Depression and the history of jazz, Burns says of his Vietnam films, “They will inspire our country to begin to talk and think about the Vietnam war in an entirely new way”.In a society often bereft of historical memory and in thrall to the propaganda of its “exceptionalism”, Burns’ “entirely new” Vietnam war is presented as “epic, historic work”. Its lavish advertising campaign promotes its ...
READ MORE
Fifty Years of Imperial Wars: Global Neoliberalism and America’s Drive for World Domination
Over the past 50 years the US and European powers have engaged in countless imperial wars throughout the world. The drive for world supremacy has been clothed in the rhetoric of “world leadership”, the consequences have been devastating for the peoples targeted.  The biggest, longest and most numerous wars have been carried out by the United States.  Presidents from both parties direct and preside over this quest for world power.  The ideology which informs imperialism varies from “anti-communism”in the past to “anti-terrorism”today.Washington’s drive for world domination has used and combined many forms of warfare, including military invasions and occupations; proxy ...
READ MORE
NATO-CIA-Pentagon: Junction of the Real Druglords & Warlords
Are you aware of the heroin epidemic that has been on fire all across America- since 2001? Thanks to the government-corporate media outlets you probably are not. Between 2002 and 2013, heroin-related overdose deaths in the US quadrupled, with more than 10,000 people dying of heroin overdoses in America in 2014 alone. Afghanistan has been the number one source globally of both opium and heroin: Heroin from Afghanistan has killed more people than the 55,000 Americans killed in the Vietnam War. An American now gets killed every 32 minutes by Afghan heroin. With US heroin deaths tripling every four years, an American ...
READ MORE
US Imperialism Wages Permanent Warfare to Prevent its Inevitable Collapse
The US has always been a warfare state. However, the character of US imperialist warfare has changed dramatically. For over two centuries, the US regime’s purpose for war, whether on indigenous peoples, Black people, or nations all over the world, was to expand the productive forces of capitalist exploitation. War preceded the vast profits accumulated from chattel slavery, land grab, and resource extraction in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The foundation of white supremacy and capitalism allowed the US regime to consolidate its expansion despite episodes of periodic crisis. Recent events, alongside a steady fall in the rate of capitalist profit, indicate ...
READ MORE
Top 10 Dirty Secrets of Vatican
Throughout its long history, the Catholic Church has been rocked by scandals ranging from the dissolution of the Knights Templar to Galileo’s trial to Mother Theresa’s questionable donors. Over the course of the 20th century, many more scandals have come to light—no matter how much the Church would like to keep them secret. 10. The Duplessis Orphans In the 1930s and 1940s, a conservative revolution ushered in an era in Quebec now known as “The Great Darkness.” Led by Premier Maurice Duplessis, the period was characterized by unprecedented corruption and repression, much of which involved the Catholic Church. After Duplessis received the ...
READ MORE
Zoran Djindjic: The Quisling Of Belgrade
Western Imperialism ‘Must Go’
Persecuted Serbian Orthodox Church: The Islamization of Kosovo
General Ratko Mladić and the Pandora’s Box of the Bosnian War (1992-1995)
War Crimes: Agent Orange, Monsanto, Dow Chemical and Other Ugly Legacies of the Vietnam War
The 1967 Obsession, Trump and Trivia
Selective Solidarity with the Victims of Terrorism
Kosovo and Columbine: Are We a Nation of Gun Nuts or are We Just Nuts?
Is Barack Obama Actually Trying to Start World War III?
Weapons of Mass Destruction
A Telling Comparison: Israel versus North Korea
U.S Military Bases Worldwide: 682 Military Bases in 63 Countries
The Criminalization of Parliamentary Democracy
How Germany Paved the Way to the Kosovo War 1998-1999
What is the European Union for?
The Killing of History
Fifty Years of Imperial Wars: Global Neoliberalism and America’s Drive for World Domination
NATO-CIA-Pentagon: Junction of the Real Druglords & Warlords
US Imperialism Wages Permanent Warfare to Prevent its Inevitable Collapse
Top 10 Dirty Secrets of Vatican

Leave a Reply