Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death

Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black DeathCongo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death describes how King Leopold II of Belgium turned Congo into its private colony between 1885 and 1908.

Under his control, Congo became a gulag labor camp of shocking brutality. Leopold posed as the protector of Africans fleeing Arab slave-traders but, in reality, he carved out an empire based on terror to harvest rubber.

Families were held as hostages, starving to death if the men failed to produce enough wild rubber. Children's hands were chopped off as punishment for late deliveries.

The Belgian government has denounced this documentary as a "tendentious diatribe" for depicting King Leopold II as the moral forebear of Adolf Hitler, responsible for the death of 10 million people in his rapacious exploitation of the Congo.

Yet, it is agreed today that the first Human Rights movement was spurred by what happened in the Congo.

What the Belgians did in the Congo was forgotten for over 50 years. It's a shocking, astonishing story. In a way, it's a horrifying prelude in European history to the Holocaust.

Between 1870 and 1900 the Congo was pillaged - it was valuable as a source of rubber. King Leopold created his own colony in the Congo over which he ruled unchecked.

Peter Bate's film is a marvelously made reconstruction of those days - it features footage of Congolese villages and explains with actors exactly what happened.

It's really a memorable film - the painfulness of what is described is counterbalanced by the great skill in the storytelling.

Watch the full documentary now

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Comments and User Reviews

  • Ocelot

    Thanks Vladko for posting this one! It is important for more of us to see what happened in the Congo a century ago in the name of progress, prosperity and even humanitarism! It is almost unbelievable that this tragic story is virtually unknown in the western world, where we learn so much about holocaust, communist atrocities and so on.
    I was so interested in this theme that it became the major part of my diploma work. I was struggling heavily with finding quality modern history books about Congo Free State, but was suprissed how famous this topic was in the beginning of the 20th century. Then the whole worlds press was writing about the unbelievable atrocities that occurred in Congo and the pressure on Leopold was so high that he was forced to hand the colony over to his country. And that was in time when most of African continent was the subject of brutal colonialism.
    Today the most famous book on the Congo Free State is King Leopold’s ghost by Adam Hochschild (I am not sure if he is mentioned in the film) and it was even banned in Belgium for a while. After all, Leopold II is there still presented as a hero who raised Belgium to become one of the richest countries in Europe.
    But it is so important to as to see what the worst kind of colonialism looked like. Than we maigh understood better the todays reality in Africa.

  • Marshal1917

    This BBC 4 documentary is definitely worth a watch.

    It was interesting to learn ED Morel used an image of the scales of justice for his book Red Rubber – The story of the rubber slave trade 1906 - an image depicting Leopold II as a Faroe on one side and a tiny black hand from the Congo, on the other.

    The Black Hand later became a recognized assassination group responsible for the murder of a number of members of European royalty.

  • TGibson

    Wow...just when I think I have seen the worst of what mankind has to offer I learn more. Thanks this was an eye-opening film. What about some reparations for the Congolese people ??

  • Waldo

    @ Marshal1917

    Yes, the black hand was responsible for killing the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria. As a result they threw the whole region into conflict and brought about the events leading up to WW1. Of course if you study the history indepth you can plainly see the real reason this resulted in a world wide conflict was the vast and intricate web of alliances made inorder to maintain the peace. I think the world learned a valuable lesson form all of it though, alliances are complicated and can defeat their own purpose. Something like this that amounts to a small conflict amongst several ethnic communities can turn into a world war because of promises made without thinking globally. The world is like a huge chess board, every move made effects every other piece on the board.

  • Jason

    @Waldo
    "The world is like a huge chess board, every move made effects every other piece on the board."

    Well put good sir, well put!

  • MercVenus

    Surely a large memorial dedicated to Chief Lontulu of the Congo should be placed outside EU Buildings in Brussels and the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Or perhaps those uncivilized beasts in Brussels and the Hague would prefer the names of M. HAGSTROM's soldiers carved in stone instead, recognizing them for their successful brutal treatment of the Congolese.

    The Congo Commission......
    "Lontulu, the senior chief of Bolima, came with twenty witnesses,
    which was all the canoe would hold. He brought with him one hun-
    dred and ten twigs, each of which represented a life sacrificed for rubber. The twigs were of different lengths, and represented chiefs, men, women and children, according to their length. It was a horrible
    story of massacre, mutilation and cannibalism that he had to tell,
    and it was perfectly clear that he was telling the truth."

    Shortly afterwards Chief Lontulu was tortured to death and the Belgian Governor General slit his own throat.

  • Taharqa(Conqueror of Egypt)

    Frankly I think the media should stop putting such an emphasis on the Jewish Holocaust and start letting the world know of other atrocities committed around the world...
    Enough said

    Keep up the good work Vlatko!!
    Peace

  • phil atio

    Yes I ALSO agree the media places far too much emphasis on the jews and ww2 and there are much mor epoeple killled in other genocides. This is a good example

  • Anthony

    great and horrific, the fingerprints of tyranny remain as constant as ever, taking good for evil and evil for good.

  • clix

    People: it's affect, not effect. I see the constant misuse of the word effect, when the right word to use is affect.

    Sheesh! English is not even my first language! xD

  • menelik1&2

    These people are devils.What more is it to say.Peace.

  • Steve

    You might be interested to know that the British had Roger Casement shot because he tried to help the Irish....

  • Ocelot

    Steve, I am not sure that this was the main reason for shooting Casement. Yes he participated in irish revolutionary movement, but the problem was that in efford to help irish revolutionary forces he tried to make an agreement with the Germans (in the WW1, of course) to get involved in irish nationalistic movement. His attempt failed, but of course he was imprisoned for high degree treason and shot for the same reason.

  • http://hippiejoe13.wordpress.com Joe

    menelik1&2 says:
    "These people are devils.What more is it to say.Peace."

    I share the strong revulsion that leads to this statement, but...
    These people are people. They are people who do very bad things. Primo Levi, in "The Drowned and the Saved," warned that there is a danger in thinking that they are devils. By calling them devils, they become something beyond our control, and we allow their acts to be inherent in their nature, and not decisions that they make that affect other people. How do we hold devils accountable for their actions? It seems like Levi is arguing semantics, but a little reflection on how society has dealt with these people bears this idea out.

    As a student at PSU, I am taking a class on genocide. I would say in response to those that feel that too much emphasis is placed on the WW2 Nazi holocaust: No single one of these stories (and there are many that escape the net of popular culture) is more or less important than the other. The Congo, Rwanda, Australia, the New World, WW2 Europe... all of these cases show a long history of massive human violence.

    Every war that we see in today's media has elements of this same wanton destructiveness and disregard for the value of a human life. Learning about these cases should make us more aware of the violence that our modern societies perpetrate on behalf of world security, economic interests, etc. Generations of the future will look back on today's wars with the same scrutiny, the same bewilderment, and the same sadness.

  • clix

    @Joe

    I think you bring up a very good point. Once we label people with a name that is descriptive of their actions, we sort of start excusing their actions presuming that they're merely living up to their label. i.e if we call them devils, we expect them to be devilish, hence no anomaly in their actions.

    Good and dandy, but there is also a pesky problem science calls epigenetics. Epigenetics is a phenomenon that some traits can be acquired and propagated for several generations within certain groups despite lack of inherent DNA sequence for such behavior in the group. Simply put, if some groups adopt violence as a survival mechanism, such trait can be passed on to successive generations genetically which allows these group of individuals predisposed to a larger degree of violence.

    In a resource strapped region like pre-medieval northern Europe, extreme violence was considered a virtue. After a few generations this tendency becomes epigenetic to those born and raised in the region, hence the trait has become their nature.

    I think some who come from cultures that don't have such propensity for violence and don't understand it quickly equate it to evil, which is the be all end all category for all things bad

  • Michael

    They need to make a movie of this.

    History is important because it explains how and why the world is the way it is today. The way History is taught in American public schools is horrible and cannot possibly have this goal in mind. They spend every year on American History, having students memorize trivial facts like dates and names of battles without learning any causality of events and the most recent info they get up to in American History is WWII. I only studied world history twice, in 6th and 9th grade. Both years they started with Mesopotamia and only got up to Alexander the Great.

    The colonization of Africa is an important topic, because it is the atrocities committed by the European powers at that time that is largely responsible for the problems that continue there today. People in America hear about the poverty and unrest in Africa, but no one teaches anyone here why that is. I think without a why, a lot of people just see the poverty and fighting in Africa as a permanant feature of Africa, rather than a problem that was created and can be solved. For example this video talked about cutting off hands, and explained that the Belgiums introduced this practice. Without knowing this history, people look at Africans cutting off each others hands and might think that this is something that Africans have been doing for forever. Without knowing the history, people don't realize how much of a victim so much of Africa has been. It's important to know the history because in order to solve problems you need to work together and in order to do that you need to know where people are coming from.

    Historical movies I think are important because history is important and the American public education system utterly fails to provide the public with an adequate understanding of history needed to understand how the world is today. A movie on colonization in africa will help more of the American public understand why Africa is how it is today. I think this documentary is perfect for a movie. It has a protagonist: E. D. Morel, an antogonist: King Leopold and it makes for a captivating story. If I was going to make a movie, this would be it. But I don't plan on being a film director, so if you are please steal this idea.

    Thank god for the internet and BBC and thank you Vlatko!

  • TonyIII

    The real culprets here are Progessivism , "the Enlightment" , Materialism and Darwinist Atheism: study the 19th century.
    Unfortunately there is a Marxist overtone here. The people of the Congo are portrayed as absolutely pure and living in paradise. The enemy is portrayed as the white race and European civilization. Hey Leopold was nuts by our standards too. Humanism won't solve anything either. It will just lead to more hypocrisy to cover over the hate. We must learn (Ha) that soap is not civilization and "progress' doesn't confer good morals. God help us all.

  • elithe1

    I am not African but I would love to personally decapitate the statues of that cocksucker Leopold II.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=760167901 Rick Db

    What bothers me the most is the fact that UK made documentaries always put the shadow on others while pollishing themselfs..I' am so so sick of this hypocrit attitude where neutrality is hard to find. Please put this on the scale after seeing this documentary because these where "uberhaubt" the role models and pioneers ,though from a belgian point of view:

    - Britain played a prominent role in the Atlantic slave trade as a whole, and juiced 5% of their economy.

    - Slavery in Britain and Ireland dated from long before Roman occupation
    , the practice of it was considered normal. However, the Council had no legislative powers, and no act of law was valid unless signed by the monarch.

    - English settlers established Jamestown as the first permanent English colony in the colonial United States.

    - After 1100 slavery faded away as uneconomical, it was revived at Whales- Ireland.

    - in 1086, over 10% of England's population were slaves.

    - Look closer at the relationship between Britain-Ireland and you'll find enough stuff to feed 10 documentaries from their own backyard.

    For the past 100 years until this day, Belgium consequently keeps sending humanitarian help to africa wich comes in boatloads of food,clothing,working tools,education etc. funded by the people and distributed by the navy. I've walked personally trough the cargo of these boats and was absolutely amazed by the size of it. My brother is a soldier and over 25 years continuesly active in that region.The improvements made by their actions every day, should be highlighted as well.

    Sorry England, we didn't knew you treated your slaves with bed & breakfeast.

  • John Cury

    It is not just Belgium or UK as many comment here, allot of countries have done it. the Ottoman Empire, Germans, Americans, French, and so on. Even as far back as the Assyrian empire. But unfortunately this is human nature. I would say, this is the worse side of man, because the killing is done to women and children, as well as the unarmed population. It is for sure the most barbaric and heinous act of man.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E3KEDYRRCB3HFMELVMVSCZ7S54 Dragonheartdoxies

    Ohh yeah that's just what we need, more white guilt being put on white children. Yep we need more white children being taught from the time they enter school that they are wicked/evil, have everything to be ashamed of and nothing to be proud of and should all die just for being white.

  • 7thangel

    are you serious?

    naw, you can't be, no one can be this ignorant

  • Sheik1950

    Where this people HUMANS ???
    Can Humans behave like this ? killing people for fun
    and cutting hands off .
    ARE THEY HUMANS ???/

  • Sheik1950

    No body can watch this documantairy and dont feel sick
    It proofs again that the Belgian are NOTvery smart
    cutting people hands off so this people cannot work anymore .
    Lots of countries did slavery but i never read that they cutting hands of by the thousands . and Really even the Belgium Teacher admit it
    so this documantairy is did NOT blow things up.
    i believe that some belgium royalist dont gonna like this great document .
    the Belgium even Killed lumumba ask them for what reason .
    thanks God the Brittish made a great documantairy over the freedom fighter Lumumba
    oyes if you visiting Antwerp dont forget to buy the Belgium proud
    CHOCOLAT CUT OF HANDS

  • Sheik1950

    sorry Belgium those HAPPY DAYS are over !!!
    the story of antwerpen and the statue is all fake the man cuts off the Giant hand this is BULL.... it is a symbol of the poor african hands that cutted of during the Cruel Balgium Regime

  • chelsea2008

    if you watched this and want more information you should read King Leopold's Ghost. it is a great book. Right now Congo is experiencing the deadliest war since wwII over 5 million have died and children are being used as soldiers and rape is used as a tool of war. please if this disturbs you become involved in the movement to advocate for peace in the Congo. you can visit the enough project, raise hope for Congo and falling whistles. we can use our voice to raise awareness and advocate for peace. thank you

  • IsraelAli76

    I diagree, you were not there. The question is, if you were, would you have particpated in the crime and turned a blind eye, or resisted and possibly lost your life to defend the defendless.

  • alb43

    An excellent documentary indeed. All this horror is beyond description.

    However, why should Belgians today feel any remorse for what happened more than one century ago?. I am Spanish but I don´t really feel any guilt about the horrible crimes commited by SOME Spaniards during the Spanish Empire long time ago. I haven´t killed or tortured anybody, nor did my parents or my grandparents and so on. My ancestors most probably were poor peasants -like most Spanish people at that time. I don´t think they had anything to do with imperialism, colonialism and all those terrible crimes commited by soldiers, landowners, etc in America or Asia. I don´t even think that they knew anything about what was happening many thousands miles away from them.

    One thing is all the deeds commited by kings and goberments and another is common people. It´s a common and silly thing to mistake them.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_M6F3RJVEWJ24QKMCHFNVK7ADVE Winston Smith

    THE SAME SHOULD DO THE SAME TO THESE 'ROYALS' AND THEIR MINIONS!!!
    SUBHUMAN BARBARIANS IS WHAT THEY WERE/ ARE/ TRAITORS OF HUMANITY AND HUMAN D. ALL FOR MONEY!!. Just sickening.

  • A Kenan

    I am really curious as to why we do not have any Holidays in the USA to Remember this Tragedy? It should definitely be told of in the school system.

  • fdemunter

    Born as a Belgian in 1945, I never, ever heard a whisper about this drama in Congo. Everybody who knew apparently kept their mouth shut. It wasn't until I read "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad that things started dawning upon me. I read it in Englisch, because I could never find a Flemish (my native language) edition. And even now, it is more like we never had a Leopold II. But still, his offspring is still in charge, and although they don't cut off hands anymore, the way they suck out money from the people is just as bad. Belgium is now their colony, and they are still exploiting it, and they are still getting away with it. Can you believe it. Luckily, the crownprince behaves like a complete id**t, and the majority of Flemish people do hope that those usurpers will disappear completely out of the picture after the actual king abdicates.

  • fdemunter

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
    - Edmund BURKE

  • Matubi

    Belgian as country is going to disappear the faster the better. You can send the Belgian royals to Congo then we will take care of them for good!

  • BaiLeMing

    Enslaving, killing and torturing innocent people, especially the weaker ones such as women and children, is a typical human flaw. My goal is not to excuse king Leopold and his clique's actions, but it's is hardly fair to blame the Belgian people as whole today. Awful things happen in history, wars happen, crimes happen. We should not fall into the trap of blaming the wrong people if we do not want the vicious circle of avenge and revenge, blame, anger and hate to continue. Everyone should read Blood, Germs and Steel as to why it was the European continent that went ahead and conquered the other continents, rather than the Africans or South-Americans colonizing Europe. Don't be mistaken, should those people have been able to at that time, they would have! An interesting anecdote to illustrate that, is the story of the New-Zealand Mauris. Lots of people have a feeling of sympathy for the Mauris because they now represent a minority in their country. But their ancestors, upon learning from a passing British ship that a smaller, peaceful tribe lived nearby on a couple of for them unknown islands (this happened in the 19th century as well), they set out in their war canoes and completely wiped out the neighbouring nation, slaughtering men, raping women and dragging the women and children back to Mauri nation to serve as slaves. It just shows that this kind of appalling behavior was not monopolized by white Europeans. I'm afraid there is something bloodthirsty in all of us, humans.

  • Kerry Bacon

    Not saying that it is the right thing to do but whites have made Blacks feel this way for centuries in the US. White kids should know what happened to minorities in this country and others. If we do not teach our children about these atrocities then they may be doomed to repeat a similar scenario in the future.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/Y5VTCQCTK6Y6LZ6PTDOKA5S74E SGgal

    Why was this demonic monster never punished? He ruled Belgium till his death. His descendants still rule.... WHY??? When his atrocities were exposed- why was he not put on trial? Present day Belgium should not have to feel guilty or accountable- BUT AT LEAST ACKNOWLEDGE THAT HE WAS A CRIMINAL!!! DETHRONE HIS DESCENDANTS. MAKE THEM COMPENSATE THE CONGO. Yes, White kids MUST be told generation after generation. Not to push guilt on them. But they should know what their ancestors did. In the
    name of Christianity. Under the guise of bringing civilisation to "savages". They abused their power and exploited other humans for material gains.But please do not sweep this under the carpet. Not only white kids but all kids need to know about these atrocities. Christ taught to love each other as we love ourselves. No need for white guilt. Just feel compassion for each other as humans.

  • Rocky Racoon

    Nothing has changed in that area and it is all over the resources those people have and we in the North are trying to get on the cheap. Simple as that. Our Press doesn't focus on that only tell us what the Pentagon told them. No Questions asked.
    RR

  • Rollomite

    Children, no matter what race, need to be taught the truth. History is
    often hard to take, but it must be taught, even the ugly parts. How else
    can we insure that crimes against humanity, like the ones in the Congo,
    are not repeated. Lets stop thinking selfishly and start thinking
    reasonably. Yes, the white race has perpetrated some of the most heinous
    events in the past, and those events should never be hidden away
    because they might make someone feel uncomfortable. Truth is truth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gloria.newton.73 Gloria Newton

    How could someone be called an human ,commit such evil acts?Just horrible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gloria.newton.73 Gloria Newton

    I agree.I'm going to make some suggestions to some friends.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gloria.newton.73 Gloria Newton

    I agree.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gloria.newton.73 Gloria Newton

    They still have his statue up and therefore that is wrong.To honor an pure,evil,savage,barbaric,wicked demon says it all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gloria.newton.73 Gloria Newton

    So true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gloria.newton.73 Gloria Newton

    And they have an museum.Just evil.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gloria.newton.73 Gloria Newton

    This is why Congo is messed up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gloria.newton.73 Gloria Newton

    I would have resisted!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gloria.newton.73 Gloria Newton

    So this is how Belgium got rich?

  • disqus_0qRcR2XYov

    humans are nothing.

  • http://twitter.com/gee426 Gloria

    I get it see no evil,hear no evil,speak no evil-huh?Shame on you.You must condone this evil,savage,wicked,greedy,barbaric,ungodly act.If it was reversed-how would you feel???

  • http://twitter.com/gee426 Gloria

    Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/gee426 Gloria

    I don't understand how they still honor Leopold II after all of the evil that he did to bring them lavish things.Just pure evil.

  • http://twitter.com/gee426 Gloria

    Are you condoning what he did?It sounds so.This was not an man-but an pure demon!

  • http://twitter.com/gee426 Gloria

    Why are they still honoring him?If it was reversed-how would they feel????JUST PURE EVIL.

  • http://twitter.com/gee426 Gloria

    I do not condone ANYONE FOR KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE-NO,NOT ONE..Why change the subject,are you condoning Leoplold II evil,savage,wicked,barbaric,ungodly acts?

  • http://twitter.com/gee426 Gloria

    Wonder why they became an assassination group?Got any ideas?

  • http://twitter.com/gee426 Gloria

    SHAME,shame,shame on them evil bastards!

  • claudio bruyninx

    Not too many reference material to be found in respect of the atrocities in Congo, apart from the African museum in Tervuren/Belgium. Being Belgian I am thus happy to see a quality documentary about this subject. One remark I would appreciate somebody could shed some light on.

    According to my knowledge the chocolate hands are a reference to the legend of the existence of Antwerp. The giant Antigon cutted the hands of shippers sailing along the river Schelde that rejected to pay tax; until he was killed by Silvius Brabo. Upon which Brabo threw the hand of Antigon in the river Schelde.

  • Craig

    exactly, in school they started the history books but never finished them, and the school history books don't even tell the real history just glossed over.

  • Craig

    they probably dont even know about it which is worse.

  • Reintje

    you should check your history. The name Antwerpen comes from "hand - werpen" which means "throwing away a hand". Antwerpen existed way before Leopold was even born and has nothing to do with the congolese people so please, no false accusations. What he did was beyond words but don't blame today's Belgians. We feel awful about this as much as anyone else here.

  • Reintje

    the fact that his statue is still up doesn't mean we honor him. the statue is just a reminder of who he was and what he did.
    If we had to destroy everything that had something to do with colonialism, there would be no Europe. And as much as that would be fair to the colonies, it wouldn't help todays society.
    Because if we can't show statues and talk about evil men and their deeds, what use is there for history?
    Most of the Belgians now know what happened and trust me, we do NOT feel proud.
    Besides, having a museum about Central Africa built by Leopold II is not "evil". It is his legacy but it is also a walking history book, teaching us not to make the same mistakes and attrocities.

  • Reintje

    maybe people honored him after his death (remember, this was 100 years ago!) but that's because people didn't know about the attrocities. They only saw the wealth he had brought into the country. People were blinded.
    If the situation was reversed I would feel horrible, scared, I would probably be dead by now but you know, it's not our fault.
    Time went by and today at school children learn about Leopold II the mad king and what he did. There is no honoring him whatsoever.
    So please, no hate against today's Belgians.

  • Guest

    I don't think he's still presented as a hero in Belgium. I for one don't have that feeling, as a belgian. The people who only see the positive side of his acts (the wealth he brought to Belgium) are just not informed. Because, yes, people don't like to talk about it here, as if it was directly our fault. But that's the same with every colonial event. Every eastern european country got rich that way, at some point in history. And I do feel ashamed eventhough I had no part in it.

  • Reintje

    yes, like any other western european country. It's the sad truth.

  • Reintje

    I don't think he's still presented as a hero in Belgium. I for one don't have that feeling, as a belgian. The people who only see the positive side of his acts (the wealth he brought to Belgium) are just not informed. Because, yes, people don't like to talk about it here, as if it was directly our fault. But that's the same with every colonial event. Every western european country got rich that way, at some point in history. And I do feel ashamed eventhough I had no part in it.

  • asealy

    BaiLeMing, sorry to say but you are wrong. If you study the History of sub-Saharan Africa, including countries such as, Mozambique, Congo Free State, Union of South Africa and Zanibar which some present day names have changed -then you'd understand otherwise. With your comment that if Africans had the chance to invade Europe that they would, I can tell your education about the history is lacking. Jared Diamond's book, Germs, Blood Steel was very general in terms of European colonization and annexation globally but specified in Eurasia.

    Before Europeans invaded and enslaved Africans, kingdoms and villages (present day cities) were already formed. Europeans in no way shape or form have helped Africans become 'better'. They've forced assimilation in culture, language, religion, way of life and technology. The fact that we all see use of horse, no electricity as a negative and then claim it as 3rd world is quite unfortunate.

    My point is that, before European or outsider invasions, Africans -most notably Ethiopians, North Africans and those of Arabian-Sudanese descent along the Eastern coast of Africa - had already travelled distant lands. Guess what? They also had allies with India, China and Russia. Africans realized their resources were all they needed and other lands did not have much to offer. And if they did find a distant land with resources worth using? They traded and built an economy- they didn't commit massacres, rape their women, burn their homes and discriminate their being of a human.

    I think your defending of European whites is quite appalling in of itself. Please increase your knowledge on the subject and think before you type.

    **Jared Diamond is a contemporary affiliated with the school of Annales, which uses environment, geographic and weather patterns as an explanation of human behaviour. i.e. you must be hot tempered if you come from a hot climate country.

    Smart man, but his unconventional thinking is not always quite accurate or observationally proved.

  • alanbstardmp

    let's hear the other side

  • alanbstardmp

    it is reversed. Primitive blacks are invading Belguim and Europe and causing no end of criminal and economic trouble

  • Maddestmax

    When I first saw your comment I thought I should flag it as inappropriate (this is not the right place to promote racism), after a moments reflection however I decided to not flag it.
    Why? Well, perhaps wider publicity of your thoughts will only help in the ongoing battle against ignorance. You are the enemy.

  • alanbstardmp

    that is a fact. You " anti racist " believe racism is one way. It's the intent of a statement. What I said is true

  • alanbstardmp

    get onto youtube and see it yourself. the riots, demonstrations, gang crime. It's there to see

  • Helsien

    This is where the capital is situated. In a country whose king murdered 10 to 13 million Congolese. Ths is what Belgium owes to the Africans.

  • mark swagz

    Blacks cannot be racist Why? They dont control not one industry in the world except maybe labor, a victim can do nothing other than respond to the effects/affects of slavery

  • thecolumbiarag

    Anyone can be racists and hold racist views, many Africans and descendants of African own businesses and we are not simply victims of Europeans nor anyone else.

  • thecolumbiarag

    Africans all over resisted colonial rule, mind you it may mean your certain death, but to simply dismiss the idea of rebellion is none too smart.

  • nisse12

    It was not so good of him to just take over from the former native slavery based kings. At least he did some good. He stopped the widespread cannibalism, at least almost.

  • teelb

    that is bs. get onto youtube and you can see people of ALL backgrounds acting in "bad" ways. since when is demonstrating bad??!! if you choose only to see the darker people or point them out - which is what you are doing - then that makes you a racist ie racially discriminating - not to mention calling them "primitive" which is a racial slur. you are a racist, well done. at least admit it.

  • teelb

    perhaps anyone can hold racist views, but racism includes a specific power dynamic that in general only certain people ie White people can make the most of. There is a hierarchy that exists and it has been spread across the world by European civilisation, not by African or Asian civilisation. Darker or non-european people will always be at the bottom as long as the actual dynamic of race ie how it works is understood, accepted and dismantled. You don't have to *think* of yourself as a victim, but you are still affected whether you like it or not, because it is maintained within systems and institutions.

  • Yusuf O. Osman

    Try replacing racism with classicism! ;)

  • iamlg34

    First of all dont ever say all of us because most people dont care to kill ten million people. Secondly dont assume we Africans are interested in Europe. What have we to gain by taking over England when all the resources are right here in Africa. 3 I blame the people because we are the ones who allow it. 4 Iraq war is doing the same thing and you buddy are doing f*ck all. 50 years from now they will ask why US went to war for nothing. 5 CIA killed Lumumba the democratic elected guy who actually wanted to do good but they didnt like the new deal so the assassins came in. 6. Your nations own you. Europeans are surfs, glorified slaves. So please dont act like you care about Africa or that suddenly your countries love us and play fair.

  • iamlg34

    You forget when Congo finally gained independence CIA assassinated the President Lumumba. So you and Belgium have some explaining to do.

  • iamlg34

    You should at least cut the hands off his statue! That will educate people.

  • iamlg34

    The only thing Im seeing here is that the people must control when a nation can invade another. In should be constitutional that no nation can invade another without a national vote. oh and America why did you allow corporations to fund campaigns. That was so rtarded.

  • wills1111

    Classicism is a noble field of study. Perhaps you mean classism?

  • Coerced Forod

    Some of us in Africa know very well about this stories, although we are still constrained by resources including lack of documents (still classified as you can see here), or a media outlet. All this "obscure" knowledge and history does reside in our universities. In the next 20-30 years, when among other things africa develops its own bbc, history channel, national geography you will get to here the stories of the likes of leopold, you will here of concepts of extra-territoriality like that given to diplomats to rapists and murderers......

  • umno

    the cannibalism wasn't widespread, it was just in certain tribes. Also, let's not act like Europe doesn't have a very long history of eating people.

  • umno

    Nobody wants white kids to feel guilty when reminded of what their ancestors did, they just do. They naturally get defensive over facts. So to make them feel comfortable (at least in the west) We just skip that part all together and act like it never happened. Teachers get fired and called "leftist" for going into detail and having kids "acknowledge" their history. So it isn't that easy. The irony of it all is we still do the same thing to this day. Invading countries of interest to "help" or "instil democracy" when really it's for our own benefit. Which is usually at the cost of the natives.

  • umno

    Not to mention they assassinated him in the most inhumane way. Why would the US care, they've done just as bad if not worse.

  • umno

    Isn't that the point? Who were they to come and say those people needed to be civilized? Note: they didn't really care because it was all about the $. The people as far as we know they were fine, until the white Europeans came over and began terrorizing them. They may have had internal conficts, but they were better off before the Europeans came. To them you were the enemy. The documentary isn't pointing fingers, it's stating facts.

  • Lucien

    You Belgians are a much to blame as those who lived and condoned his atrocities because you benefited from the wealth he gained and pretend he did nothing wrong.

  • Lucien

    You and your ancestors benefitted from the stolen wealth and inhumanity didn't they? I guess you have no remorse about that. When the shoe is on the other foot you will feel differently..

  • Lucien

    Its ironic that the documentary was done by the BBC and English news source.

  • AW

    It is the Europeans who were responsible for killing Native Americans in US, Colonising the Africa, Dividing and ruling India and Pakistan, mass extermination of Jews in Europe, two world wars--What did the Europeans do for this world-I am disgust that I am born a human being after watching these documentaries--particularly this spreading of Christianity--was this blind god, imaginary friend not watching these attrocities, was he not watching what was happening in Aushwitz. Shame on christians for taking a blind eye. Ultimately mankind is going to pay for screwing this one home--our earth

  • Reintje

    No Belgian alive today is responsible for what happened more than 100 years ago. Yes, we benefitted from it, but these were different times, different people and believe me, we aren't proud of it. Blame Leopold, not us.

  • Bert

    As you should know most (obviously you don´t) that stolen wealth was not spent in people´s benefit; instead, it was invested in new conquest enterprises. I won´t feel any remorse just because you didn´t attend some History class at school.

  • Lucien

    It is your right to not feel any remorse sir, i couldn't care less if you do. Be proud of the heritage that you have been left.

  • Lucien

    Germany has had to pay reparations to the Jews for the atrocities inflicted on them has your country done any such thing? Hitler is to be blamed for what happened to the Jews but Germany is paying the consequences.

  • Reintje

    Yes, Belgium has repayed the Congo, but that doesn't mean all problems are solved there, and it won't bring back the dead. I agree that we could do more, but a war can't be ended in a day.

  • Hardcard

    Wow, AW, hold your horses a bit and be mindful of the fact that reality is ALWAYS complex.

    First of all, when you say "Europeans", who do you really mean?

    If you are implying that all nations in Europe had colonies and performed mass exploitation/murder, think again. Consider all those European nations that were invaded by others time and again.

    You also say that those "Europeans" were responsible for killing the Native Americans... Sure, there were invasions, war, genocide, etc. carried out by colonists from SOME European countries, but never forget that not all Native Americans were peaceful like the peoples who formed the Iroquois Confederacy. There were Native Americans who did some ethnic cleansing of their own and showed a great deal of cruelty towards rival tribes.

    Anyway, the bulk of the Native American tribes wasn't killed by European colonists from the 17th/18th century, they were exterminated by American citizens during the 19th century, when the central territories were bought/taken and the railroad was built ("Dancing with Wolves", Crazy Horse, and all that stuff).

    Regarding India and Pakistan, just say British, and French to a lesser extent, but keep the rest of European nations aside.

    What about Africa? Yep, here you were pretty much correct, that was pretty widespread, nations like Spain, Italy, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Portugal, The Netherlands, Germany, etc.
    were making all sorts of shameful stuff to the natives, and some of them even wanted to keep doing it after WW2.
    But let me just point out that the Arabs, among others, also conquered a good portion of Africa without being European.
    Conquest, enslavement, pillaging, murder, etc. these are human activities, not just European. Learn about the history of Japan, China, India, Mongolia, etc. and you'll notice a remarkable amount of all sorts of nasty stuff.

    What about the Holocaust? That was Nazi Germany, not Europe as a whole, and the nazis were exterminating all sorts of people, not just jews. it is true that, historically, there has been quite a lot of intolerance against jews in Europe, but then again, you can find extreme intolerance towards all sorts of groups anywhere on the planet.

    Two world wars... Well, you speak as if the European nations were the only ones that waged wars through history, What about the Mongols? They sure weren't European, and that didn't stop them from conquering a gigantic piece of the planet and unleashing hell in all the lands they conquered. What about the wars in China? What about Japan? Does the Sengoku period ring a bell? Japan was hell on Earth during that period and hadn't had any real contact with Europe yet.

    What happened after that was even worse. After the Japanese learned enough science and made their lightspeed industrial revolution in just 40 years, they started invading and mass murdering their neighbors, thinking themselves superior to the rest of Asian nations. They invaded Korea and Manchuria, they started a war with Imperial Russia which they won. They were starting to get a fame of ruthless cold-hearted sons of b*tches across the Asian nations they conquered, and Japan hadn't yet unleashed their mass enslavement programs which were applied during WW2...
    Was that Europe's fault? Maybe, in a way, SOME European nations had encouraged dangerous notions in certain sectors of the Japanese ruling class, and SO did the Americans (starting with commodore Perry), but that was it. The hell unleashed by Japan during the 20th century was Japan's doing, and Japan's alone.

    What did the Europeans do for this world? Seriously? Where do I start? Democracy, almost all the sciences there are including some of the most brilliant minds ever (I mean, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo Galilei, Newton, Darwin, Planck, Einstein,Tesla, Linnaeus, Lyell, Mendel, Lavoisier, Mendeleev, -if you count Western Russia in-, etc. -I could spend ages writing this list-).
    And what about philosophy and the history of knowledge and social movements? European tradition, mostly (not only, of course).

    Great philosophers, historians, merchants, industrialists, architects, inventors, explorers, engineers, politicians, artists, etc. you will probably find Europe at the top positions in each discipline (and almost inventing it). Granted that a lot of sh*t has come out of that part of the planet, but plenty of amazing things too, don't choose to ignore it.

    About the spreading of Christianity, that was often an excuse rather than the real motivation behind any act of war, invasion, enslavement, ethnic cleansing, etc. I'll say it again, those things are not unique to Europe, you can find them anywhere in the history of life on Earth. For humans, resources and geopolitical control were often the real motivators, any nation that had both was bound to be strong, capable of defending itself and also of conquering others if needed be.

  • Shmalkandik

    Yes, an instance where, for once, the white savages behaved badly as africans. It brings to mind the kinoms of West Africa, which enabled and propsered from a trade which was the deporttionn of their own population to death and certain degradatiion, just like they had bck home. Those who deal with Africans become much like the Africans themselves. Do not stare too long in the abyss that is Africa, or it will stare out at you. Mubutu, Mugabe, Tu-tu-Tutsi good bye,....the list is long. But memory is short. Leoplold's name will be held in well deserved detestation, but the African thugs,, well, not so much.

  • hernandayoleary

    Why is teaching that some people did bad things in the past makes all whites wicked and evile? All they have to do is turn on the tv to see the monarchy to be proud of.

  • hernandayoleary

    Why should Germans of today feel any remorse for what happened in WW2? Its called compassion and empathy for human suffering, you should consider it some time. While you may not have been directly involved in such trades, you must likely benefited from it simply by being in Spain. How do you figure a resource poor country like Spain or Belgium got so rich compared to its colonies with far more resources. The truth is we benefit from the suffering of others. We may have not had a direct hand in it, but it was these war crimes that propelled the economies of the countries we live in today, to be what they are. We benefitted from crimes and murder, much of the money in the West is blood money, taken off the hands of people and suffering and mass murder and genocides. And if you do not feel remorseful for that, it is only part of your western privilege that allows you to pretend that you shouldn't be.

  • Marc Corluy

    I am a Belgian born in 1968, and I heard about it all the time. I learned about it in school in the mid 1980's; it was a (albeit small) chapter in our textbook. Furthermore, there was a series in Humo (possible the most popular Flemish weekly), and there was a series of documentaries on Belgian television about the Congo Free State and the Belgian Congo. These atrocities were mentioned extensively. How could one have missed all that? Did you leave the country? To be honest this is something that annoys me about this documentary. These atrocities are not at all hidden, and Leopold II is admired by few and hated by many in Belgium.

  • andrew

    one thing I hate is African speaking that disgusting French language what a evil group of people

  • andrew

    It seems that where ever these Europeans go they destroy everybodys culture

  • andrew

    one important question is why aren't black people particular Africans attack

  • andrew

    plenty of lies in that film people need to read the documents of truer things

  • Ryan Silver

    like what? the poor Europeans were afraid of africans so they bruralised them?

  • Selena Castro

    Everyone is always talking about the Jewish Holocaust & how reparations need to be given to Jews. However, what about the people of Congo who suffered under that devil called Leopold? There is always a double standard when it come to white people and their problems.

  • Selena Castro

    Belgium has not repaid Congo. Anyway German continues to repair European Jews. Belgian can do the same now. Start writing checks.

  • Veerle

    I wouldn't say that is true. History is just always written from the perspective of the dominant group or the ones that held victory in the end. So I would say: yes it is true that kids don't get to learn this, but they then again, education is not honoring king Leopold or so, they just focus on a few facts. At secondary school, I was teached about the disgusting of Leopold, yet it was not highlighted. So you could say that it might not be the main focus of history classes and maybe it should be, but Belgium is certainly not denying it. We know it is a very dark page in our history. Now, I am at uni and I study Anthropology on a catholic institution, not particulary leftist. We focus a lot on this. Saying that education is almost forced to stay away from this subject is just not true.

  • Veerle

    BaiLeMing said it right, there is something bloodthirsty in all of us. Assuming that the moral of Europeans or Belgians is different than that of other people and that is the reason for all these terrible events is a little short I think. For starters, the first contact with Africa was not for enclaving it or capturing slaves, it was about negotiating about sugar and other goods. Only later, they got their slaves there. But how do you think they would get those slaves? By simply running around with a net, like cathing flies? No it was centralised and they had agreements with African chefs and Africans who would hand over their fellow people in return for some luxury goods. Right, that might have been a minority, but still, don't start from the assumption that it all happened because the Belgians are develish in contrast with other peoples.

  • Veerle

    Seriously? I was born in 1989. I knew that Congo was a Belgian colony since I was about 11 years old and I understood the brutal regime when I was 15-16 years old. We had a school trip to the African Museum in Tervuren. I did hear about this during my youth, I don't know in which ghetto you live? If people know something about the history of Belgium, they know this as well. Also this is the first time that I heard about people in the present, Belgians, admiring Leopold II. What an illusion, that Belgian morals and perspective on the colonisation haven't changed at all! Also I read Heart of Darkness when I was 20 in Dutch and it did not take me a lot of effort to find it in Dutch.

  • Veerle

    They DO NOT admire him at all, that is ridiculous... yeah well maybe a few mental ill people or older people who were actually in Congo in a time with a different mentality toward him. There are also Neonazi's in Germany, but there is no reason for saying tha Germany still admires Hitler. Same thing.

  • Wasswa

    Why should anyone be paid back for something that happened way before they were born? It's your ancestors history, not yours. Write your own life story. Stop complaining and make something of yourself.
    -Concerned African

  • AW

    Rather than getting angry, you gave a thoughtful, wonderful reply. Thank you for taking time. How about I apologize for my statements. If possible, please watch the documentary- "Surviving Progress"-- how mankind is responsible for the destruction of our planet home- earth

  • Iraq is Britain's Congo

    2004, a year after UK's illegal invasion of Iraq, the BBC decides to show this. Classic tactic to point out what happened elsewhere to make your country look better.

    Everyone knows about Leopold's terror in the Congo, and it should be talked about, but if only in 2003 and 2004 the BBC had not been part of the propaganda to destroy Iraq.

    Iraq is Britain's Congo, and happened 10 years ago instead of 100.
    Fu***the BBC, I just hate the hypocrisy of the British.