Friday, March 11, 2005

Congo, Leopold, Belgium and colonialism

Belgians confront colonial past

Belgians are learning the unvarnished truth about the brutalities of
their colonial past at an exhibition in Brussels.
As I have said before, it is about time! And not a minute too soon either. It is an almost undeniable fact that present day conflicts are as much a consequence of Belgian colonial policies, and the decolonization fiasco and arrogance, as it is that of bad Congolese politicians' actions. Despite that, more and more, you see online websites of nostalgic Belgians, who are showcasing Congo as it was under their rule, with a subliminal undertone of "they have messed up OUR Congo, those monkeys", that I do not appreciate. The Congo has been messed up yes, but Belgium contributed to messing it up because of its excessive ambitions, and its institutional white supremacism.

I do not want to beat up on these nostalgics too much, however, because they are also contributing to he History of the Congo, with their family pictures, and their souvenirs of their "grandiose" empire. If nothing else, it should help people see in pictures the unequality, and the exploitation that we (my ancestors) were inflicted. And some of these nostalgics also do genuinely like Congo AND the Congolese people, and it would not be fair for me to lump them all together. My wish now, is to see King Albert admit the sins of his ancestor, and stop dodging the issue. The mark of a great man, and a great people, is their ability to take credit when it is due to them, but also to take blame, and appologize when the situation requires it. I hope the king of the Belgians is a great man...

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