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XI- HD and King Leopold's Ghost. 
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Post XI- HD and King Leopold's Ghost.
XI- King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa, by Adam Hochschild .


Amazon.com
King Leopold of Belgium, writes historian Adam Hochschild in this grim history, did not much care for his native land or his subjects, all of which he dismissed as "small country, small people." Even so, he searched the globe to find a colony for Belgium, frantic that the scramble of other European powers for overseas dominions in Africa and Asia would leave nothing for himself or his people. When he eventually found a suitable location in what would become the Belgian Congo, later known as Zaire and now simply as Congo, Leopold set about establishing a rule of terror that would culminate in the deaths of 4 to 8 million indigenous people, "a death toll," Hochschild writes, "of Holocaust dimensions." Those who survived went to work mining ore or harvesting rubber, yielding a fortune for the Belgian king, who salted away billions of dollars in hidden bank accounts throughout the world. Hochschild's fine book of historical inquiry, which draws heavily on eyewitness accounts of the colonialists' savagery, brings this little-studied episode in European and African history into new light. --Gregory McNamee.



http://www.amazon.com/King-Leopolds-Ghost-Heroism-Colonial/dp/0618001905/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1202077216&sr=1-1



Have you read this book?


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Sun Feb 03, 2008 1:45 pm
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Post I have read it
Although it was many years ago, I remember that it left an impression on me. It seems to be one of the most clear cases when talking about the colonial debt of Europe.

Does anyone know if there has been any official apology, any monuments or ceremonies for the victims or anything like that in Belgium.

As I understand it the Belgian state came in rather late in the picture. Originally the colony was more like king Leopold's private property. Is that correct?

It's also interesting to see what kind of persons that were attracted to the colonial enterprises. In the case of Congo, I think it was the adventurer/ruthless exploiter. In the British colonies many administrators came from the middle classes, and there positions enabled them to start living like the British aristocray, with servants and mansions and so on. Does anyone have any good tips on books about these things?



Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:19 am
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Does anyone know if there has been any official apology, any monuments or ceremonies for the victims or anything like that in Belgium.


Hello Samson,

This is a very qood question.

Have any of the European colonizers apologized yet? If they have, I haven't heard.

France has apologized for its part in slavery, which is a start.
The idea is now being voiced that we should apologize to the people we colonized, but President Sarkozy is opposed to this.


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Post A quick googling...
... on the words "apology for colonialism congo" gave among others two results.

There seems to have been a more critical exhibition in a Belgian museum some years ago:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.h ... wanted=all

I also found a chapter from a book called "The Historiography of Belgian Colonialism in the Congo" by Guy Vanthemsche. He quotes an example from a 2006 Belgian schoolbook :

"When the Belgians arrived in the Congo, they found a population that was victim of bloody rivalries and slave trade. Belgian civil servants, missionaries, doctors, colonists and engineers civilized the black population step by step. They created modern cities, roads and railroads, harbours and airports, factories and mines, schools and hospitals. This work greatly improved the living conditions of the indigenous people."

So it seems they haven't really faced their past yet.



Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:06 am
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Post 
Thanks again, Samson, this is an excellent article.

The study they mentioned is a very encouraging initiative I think.

I'm going to open a thread for this article to make sure people get a chance of reading it.


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Also, Samson, would you like to put a pin in the world map to the left of the main page?
It's nice to be able to see where BT members are in the wide world.


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