There is a big tragedy going on in Africa! Almost all of Africa is affected but the biggest particular tragedy is affecting the Democratic Republic of the Congo (in the article furthermore referred to as “Congo”), emerging from the former Belgian Congo. When Western media are turning on it, they almost entirely portray this as the result of African barbarism. But it´s rather the result of globalized capitalist imperialist barbarism and the greed of the West as such and the US Power Elite in particular, transmitted by the US governments! A system is perpetuated designed to sacrifice a country in the heart of Africa to Western progress and mobility, and in the end to the mounting wealth of a few dozens of people destroying not only Africa but the world!
A necessary remark: a whole number of links are leading to Wikipedia about Congo. As much as reservation on the website is needed in general the links about Congo are mainly based on Adam Hochschild´s great book “King Leopold´s Ghost” and well founded. Also for simple facts on personalities I´ve included a whole number of links to that page, mostly for simple data. This work doesn´t claim to be scientific in the pure sense, which would require even higher standards but is a political approach on a conflict still claiming millions of lives.
Well Organized African States
When Portuguese seafarers with their captain Diogo Cão reached Congo in 1482 there were well organized societies and states existing in that region, at the coast the Kingdom of Kongo, having absorbed the Kongo dia Nlaza, in the interior Luba Empire, the Kingdom of Lunda, Loango and the Anziku Kingdom. The Portuguese got into contact with the first, the Kingdom of Congo, and were impressed of the high organizational level of this state. They established diplomatic relations.
The Congo basin was inhabited at least since 90,000 years, as the Semliki harpoon shows. It was later on – around 4,000 years ago – mostly formed by the expansion of the Bantu language family, bringing along iron techniques and partly absorbing older groups respectively encircling them. Only in the North of Congo other language families are predominant. The development led to very wealthy and prosperous communities, of which a number formed into kingdoms as already mentioned.
By the time the only advantage the Portuguese had compared to the Congolese – the heritage of Mediterranean naval techniques and the reinvention of gunpowder –allowed them to exercise destructive influence, since they were the ones going and coming according to their own will. The king of Congo made the mistake to open arms too widely to them, getting baptized João I. His son, Afonso Mvemba a Nzinga, even went further and forced his own people to do away with their cults, thus becoming a “scholar” to the power which by and by destroyed his society by its expanding slave trade. The Portuguese basis in São Tomé contributed a lot to the ruin of this African state. In course of time Portugal itself lost more and more power to the Dutch and England, which was completely manifested in the 19th Century.
A Liar and a Greedy King
In the 19th Century Europe had become overall rich and powerful by the plunder of Africa, Asia and the Americas and organization of slave work there. The European countries penetrated deeper into the African hinterland and tried to share the cake completely. The Arabs were also penetrating brutally especially into East Africa. Since the advanced European colonial powers had abandoned slave trade by then – organizing colonial exploitation in Africa and exploitation of Africa´s children in the Americas with no need of transporting them – they liked to parade as “protectors of Africa against the Arabs”. This was many times combined with expeditions to explore the prey of their greed and masked by “Christian Mission” (seems not too different to today). One of those Christian explorers was David Livingstone, who was famous enough to thrill Western public when getting lost in Africa. This gave chance to prominence for a notorious swindler about his own life record who became famous by the adopted name of Henry Morton Stanley, when finding the lost Livingston. Quite a brutal and racist adventurer he deeply impressed Leopold II, King of the Belgians, of a country, just independent since 1830. Leopold was very eager to get himself a proper colony. His first glances went to Asia, but then turned to Africa, also since the British after disappointing experiences with their expedition to go Congo upwards showed little interest in the Congo basin. After having held a geographic conference in Brussels, he installed a society, the International African Association, pretending scientific, humanitarian and Christian motivations, especially the desire to fight the Arab slave trade that had reached Eastern Congo region and to expel still active Portuguese slavers as well. By the time he managed to become the association´s head. He got Stanley into his service and equipped him heavily (also with military materials) for an expedition in order to grab as much land as possible by cheating and bribing local authorities. Stanley did “his job” with great brutality and established a whole number of military posts. At that time the main target was the ivory, being a precious and needed stuff for arts, billiard balls, piano keys, Scottish bagpipes, artificial teeth and many more things before plastics was invented.
Working for the Prey
“I do not want to risk…losing a fine chance to secure for ourselves a slice of this magnificent African cake”, said Leopold to one of his aides.
After the association had crumbled, he built the Comité d’Études du Haut Congo with a number of businessmen. After that the International Congo Association was formed. Systematically Leopold bluffed the public, played a “genius” political and financial game. He charmed the British, who were a bit afraid of French expansion from north of the Congo, were Pierre de Brazza had gained them some land. He played with the US, giving ideas of “free trade”, especially with Henry Shelton Sanford, who, at Leopold’s request, won US President Chester A. Arthur for the idea. The US support as well as Portugal´s fears to lose more weight in and finally the German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck organized the terrible “Berlin Conference”, where the issue of Congo and other “border problems” in Africa of Countries far away from Africa were “solved”. For Leopold a big piece of “cake” resulted, which got an Orwellian name:
“Congo Free State”, a State For People Anything Else But Free
A story of martyrdom started which has not at all ended yet. This was the more the case since another product gained importance: rubber! First known from the Americas, after vulcanization was invented it became overall important not only for textiles but as isolation and especially for tires and thus for Western mobility! Companies were founded, dividing the country:
An orgy of violence and exploitation started together with violence to crush remaining independent societies and remaining kingdoms, the last piece to be gained against British wishes pushed by the Stairs Expedition was Katanga in the South, where more resources were “waiting” for plunder, like copper. A colonial army was formed by partly forced partly bribed locals under white officers: Force Publique, usually they were deployed far from their own places. They were drilled to extreme brutality, equipped with machine guns, no resistance against them could be successful. In 1914 their number had reached more than 17,000 men. They were also called in for pressuring rubber out of the country. People were forced to collect rubber. To make them work harder, the wives of village authorities and others were taken hostages, many time raped and abused in other ways. When protest and uprising came up, whole villages were slaughtered. People were thus also kept from working in agriculture which led to starvation. Sleeping disease and yellow fever were common among the exhausted population.
The chicotte, a terrible whip was dancing like a devil. But there were also officers of the KZ type. One official had the trees around his house cut so that he could better shoot at bypassing Africans. When “punishments” for people and villages were ordered and people had to be shot in numbers, the right hands of the victims were cut to show the “success”. To save ammunition for hunting hands of living people were cut off. In fact, all colonial regimes were of extreme brutality, especially also the Germans against East African upheavals, protests in Cameroon and to the excess in German South West Africa with the Herero and Namaqua Genocide but brutality under Leopold even exceeded that at least in “normal situations”.
One of the best descriptions of the situation is given by Adam Hochschild in his book “King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa” (1998; new edition, 2006). He estimates that Leopold´s terror regime took the lives of up to ten million Congolese. Other estimates vary from five to twenty million. He also gives an impressive picture of those people who took up the public protest in Western societies. Among were two outstanding African Americans, George Washington Williams and William Henry Sheppard and a Nigerian, Hezekiah Andrew Shanu ( who was even driven into suicide (1)), all three of them contributing a lot to document the brutality of the murderous regime. Also prominent among the protestors was Mark Twain with his book “King Leopold’s Soliloquy”. The most successful protestor was E. D. Morel, by the time sides by Arthur Conan Doyle and the British diplomat Roger Casement (in his report as a British Consul, a depopulation of 10 million in Congo was estimated (2)), who had an otherwise tragic fate later on. Much of campaigning work was done within the Congo Reform Association. The international pressure amounted to some sort of storm and finally reached a change – of rule – based also on actions to be seen from well stablished standards as genocide (3).
A “Bit More” than the “Normal” Brutality of Colonialism
On 18 October 1908 the Social Catholics and the Labor Party achieved the transfer of the colony from Leopold to the Belgian State and made the former Congo Free State Belgian Congo. The Legislation was with the Belgian parliament, the executive force with the Minister for Colonial Affairs. Officially forced labor was ended, but not in reality. Taxation forced people to work for low wages to be able to pay the taxes (1), peasants were forced to plant certain products, companies were allowed to exercise physical force on employees and force communities to provide “able workers” and so on (2). Though the collecting of wild rubber was gradually substituted by plantation raising rubber, the rubber regime turned high during the wars with the strategic need for rubber. An enormous part of the country was taken from its inhabitants and converted into “state owned” land (3) thus giving it to the use of companies for plantation and mining activities. Plantations led to a rise in the production of Palm oil (2,500 t in 1914, 9,000 t in 1921, 230,000 t in 1957) and Cotton (23,000 t in 1932, 127,000 t in 1939). After World War One Rwanda-Urundi was taken from German East Africa and given to Belgian administration thus uniting it with the Belgian Congo. Workers were coming from there especially to the mines. In education the Belgians were also more restrictive than other colonial powers and allowed higher education only for religious personnel (4). Until 1954 no African was allowed in any top job, may it be administrative, political, military, or company wise (see 3).
Mining became of enormous importance. Especially Union Minière du Haut Katanga owned by Société Générale de Belgique was playing a big (and bad) role. Besides Copper also Cobalt (world´s largest deposits), Diamonds, tin, radium and Gold are overall important. 1920 the Belgian Congo became the world´s largest copper producer. Already 1913 uranium which was then used for coloring ceramics was discovered in Katanga and mined in Shinkolobwe. A lot of it got to the US also shortly before WW II. Thus most of the uranium used for the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was from Congo. And it was brought to the US already before the start of WW II. But Congo´s contribution to WW II was more than uranium. After the Nazis overrun Belgium Congo´s administration declared loyal to the exile government in London. Congolese were made soldiers – many times forcefully which is often not mentioned (5).
From War to Cold War
WW II increased the pressure on the vast majority of the Congolese population through the war, the contributions mystified by Belgian propagandists in favor of their colonial regime as seen in an example (1). The economy got an enormous push and industrialization flourished, making Congo the second industrialized country in Africa after South Africa, but not so much to the advantage of the Congolese people. So despite the fact that all political activities were forbidden and the attempt to calm individuals down by the status of évolués (or even get the so called “immatriculation”, showing officially their adaption to colonial culture) for skilled Congolese in the colonial apparatus many forms of resistance sprung up from time to time always met with extreme brutality. But the banning of political activities crippled the political development in as far only cultural associations were allowed which led to covered political activities mostly based on ethnic grounds like the Association des Bakongo (ABAKO, led by Joseph Kasa-Vubu), Liboke lya Bangala and Fédékaléo. This crippling of the political process and its “ethnification” was quite an intended burden to the further development which should not be underrated.
By that time the Power Elite of the US having become the overall leading force in the world saw everything done to lead to a participation of people in their own country´s wealth as “communism” or better to say portrayed it as such. Producing an “anticolonial” rhetoric they never the less opposed real decolonization a lot, and Congo was in their focus as shown by the later incidents, so CIA activities were surely going on since quite a time. This big heap of resources wouldn´t be left for anyone else then the West, least for the Congolese. But Belgium had subscribed to article 73 of the United Nations Charter advocating self determination. The bogus “Thirty Year Plan” from the side of the Belgians concerning a “Congolese Independence” resulted and was an obvious swindle and widely rejected, not being able to stop especially workers´ protests.
In 1958 Patrice Lumumba together with Cyrille Adoula and Joseph Ileo founded Mouvement National Congolais (MNC) to have a movement striving for independence not based on ethnic principles. It was later split by Albert Kalonji. After ABAKO, which also demanded independence, was banned, in January 1959 upheavals came up in the lower Congo and Léopoldville leaving 34 Africans killed by the Belgians. After Lumumba was arrested, 24 protesting people were killed in Stanleyville in October. Ongoing protests made Belgium hold a Roundtable Conference in Brussels from 18–27 January 1960. Elections were to come on 22 May 1960, and independence would be reached on 30 June 1960.
Lumumba, the African Martyr
The results of the Belgian Congo general election, 1960 were producing the Lumumba´s MNC as the strongest party gaining 36 out of 137. He was elected Prime Minister, Kasa-Vubu became President. Now there were two Republics of Congo, the formerly French colonized Republic of Congo-Brazzaville and the Republic of Congo-Léopoldville. The conflict with the former colonizer (and the western world) showed itself already, when the poor and arrogant speech of King Baudouin I of Belgium praising Leopold II was met with a fierce speech of upright Lumumba, telling the king that a “regime of injustice, oppression and exploitation” has ended. Lumumba who had worked his intellectual way from a small clerk to a journalist and able politician of enormous rhetoric power was not the person to whom the US and the Belgian mining companies would like to leave the Congo for real independence.
There were many obstacles to real independence installed. Not only that financial affairs were still in the hands of the Belgians, also the military, the Force Publique, being gendarmerie at the same time, was under Belgian control. It almost appears certain that an intended provocation led to chaos. On 5th July 1960, its commander, Lieutenant General Émile Janssens, provocatively wrote on a blackboard: “After independence = before independence”. His accompanying words stirred the Congolese soldiers up to a mutiny which frightened the Belgians in the country and gave Belgian troops the “reason” to invade Congo. The understandable reaction was to “Africanize” the troops and promote all men one rank and rename it Armée Nationale Congolaise. Unfortunately this gave growing influence to Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, a man of whom one must believe that he was already having contacts to US secret service circles. That applies obviously also to President Kasa-Vubu of whom William Blum writes in “Killing Hope” (1) that he belonged to the recipients of the CIA (Blum 2004: 158).
On the 11th of July 1960 Moise Tshombe, leader of the local CONAKAT party and very “close” to the Belgians, declared the province of Katanga to be independent as “State of Katanga”. He did so with the support of 6000 Belgian troops plus a whole lot of Western mercenaries, also from South Africa’s Apartheid government, also based on his Katanga Gendarmerie. Also an Irish South Africa linked rightist, Mike Hoare, came in. This all brought the Congolese government into a catastrophic situation, “well” orchestrated, though Tshombe´s gangs never were in full control of Katanga. Lumumba had to call in the UN to restore stability. On basis of the Security Council´s Resolution 145 on 22nd of July the next day UN troops arrived. Resolution 146 from 9th of August complicated the situation since it didn´t enable the troops to bring down the revolt. On the 8th of August moreover the important mining province of South Kasai had also declared “independence” as Bakwanga under Albert Kalonji. Western secret services and the mining companies, especially the Union Minière had worked “well” to paralyze the situation. Also on the side of the US “a number of prominent administration officials had financial ties to the Katanga wealth” (Blum 2004: 157). Lumumba´s appeal for help to the US was discarded and he couldn´t but appeal to the USSR, which alarmed the US apparatus.
US President Eisenhower, inspired by the terrible CIA boss Allen Dulles, authorized Lumumba´s assassination. For this purpose Sidney Gottlieb, the CIA´s “Chemical Specialist”, was flown into Congo with some deadly substances (2) as described in detail (Weiner 2008: 226). In the end other ways were “found” to get rid of the visionary of African independence. Kasa-Vubu, who “sat at the feet of the CIA men” (3) came in and deposed Lumumba (Kwitny 1984: 62-63) though support for Lumumba was strong in the parliament. The prime minister hit back and deposed Kasa-Vubu on his side. The UN closed all Congolese airports, blocking supplies from the USSR and seized the radio station. Another man on CIA strings came in: Mobutu, who put Lumumba under house arrest. On the 14th of September, supported by the CIA, Mobutu seized power. After the dismissal of Lumumba his Vice Prime Minister Antoine Gizenga (who was shortly arrested but freed thanks to Ghanaian UN troops at order from Kwame Nkrumah) went to the eastern Stanleyville and with the help of troops loyal to Lumumba installed a rival government. Thus was the distribution of rivaling forces:
On the 27th of November Lumumba left house arrest and tried to make his way to Stanleyville where his supporters were. Most probably with the help of CIA Mobutu´s troops got hold of Lumumba, whom CIA and Belgian advisers wanted dead. Mobutu transferred him to Lumumba´s deadly enemy Tshombe in Katanga. There he was publicly humiliated and afterwards shot by a group under Belgian command. CIA agents unearthed the dead body again, were driving with the body in the trunk of their car (Blum 2004: 159), dismembered him and dissolved him in acid. Such was the terrible end of one of Africa´s great son.
“Dead, living, free, or in prison on the orders of the colonialists, it is not I who counts. It is the Congo, it is our people for whom independence has been transformed into a cage where we are regarded from the outside… History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that Brussels, Paris, Washington, or the United Nations will teach, but that which they will teach in the countries emancipated from colonialism and its puppets… a history of glory and dignity.”
Lumumba, October 1960
1) William Blum, Killing Hope, Monroe, Maine, 2004, http://williamblum.org/books/killing-hope
2) Tim Weiner, „CIA, die ganze Geschichte“, Frankfurt/M 2008
3) Jonathan Kwitny, „Endless Enemies: The Making of an Unfriendly World”, New York 1984
The War to establish Neocolonialism
As much as the disintegration of Congo was followed by the US when Lumumba was alive, it appears that now imperialism was working to get the prey as a whole again, but not without some twists and turns. The Security Council adopted the resolution 161 on the 21st February 1961 to prevent civil war including the use of force, which was interpreted (sure not without US consent) so that force could be used also to break Katanga secession. But that was only started after some rounds of negotiations. Mobutu wasn´t yet to stay. After some conferences (Tananarive, Coquilhatville) and Tshombe declaring consent to reunite Congo (which he didn´t really intend) Cyrille Adoula was elected new Prime Minister. The operation “Rumpunch” was started to get the mercenaries out of Katanga. When Belgians announced they would solve the problem, it came to a halt. But only the Belgian regular officers left, whereas the mercenaries either stayed or came back through the backdoor via Rhodesia. Another UN operation was started, “Morthor”, which started badly, the gendarmes being obviously warned.
Whether indicating a deep split in the US administration due to particular financial US interests and wide support for Tshombe in the the US congress, as Blum takes to be possible (Blum 2004: 159) or as an even more perfidious double strategy “US Air Force C-130s were flying Congolese troops and supplies against the Katangese rebels, while at the same time the CIA and its covert colleagues in the Pentagon were putting together an air armada of heavy transport aircraft, along with mercenary units, to aid the very same rebels”. Mysterious is also the death of UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld on his way to negotiate a ceasefire with Tshombe. His plane crashed on its way to Ndola, leaving him and 15 others dead. As wanting as Hammarskjöld´s performance to save an independent Congo during Lumumba´s life time is seen by many, he didn´t also “function” completely to the taste of the US administration, speculations about an assassination are not unfounded. U Thant followed Hammarskjöld as UN Secretary General. In the operation “Unokat” the Katanga rebellion was more or less ended resulting in conferences for more than a year. At the end of 1961 also the South Kasai rebellion was ended. For some time Gizenga (after talks with Adoula) was at the same time vice Premier under Adoula and at the same time leader of the rival government in Stanleyville –which had the support of the Soviet Block, Cuba, the Algerian FLN, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea and Tanganyika. In January 1962 that phase ended with the defeat of the Stanleyville troops. 1963 the Katanga secession was ended with the UN campaign “Grand Slam” since the West saw no need any more for it to be separate.
Fierce Resistance coming up again
1964 in the East of Congo the “Simba” (“Lion”) upheaval started against the neocolonial regime, led by Pierre Mulele, Gaston Soumialot and Christophe Gbenye (formerly of Gizenga’s Parti Solidaire Africain (PSA). The anger about the sabotaged independence led to some fierce actions which were easily exploited by Western media, the more since their troops captured Stanleyville. The movement gained strong support by former Congo Brazzaville which had by then become “People´s Republic of Congo-Brazzaville” and adopted “Scientific Socialism”.
In July 1964 Tshombe had become Prime Minister of Congo. The three Western agents Kasa-Vubu, Tshombe and Mobutu were the trio to the West´s taste. They were not shy to bring in the “white devils” again, those racist mercenaries from Europe and Apartheid South Africa. Whereas those unscrupulous racists enjoyed some sort of adventurer status the Simba fighters were widely regarded as “Savages” by the Western media. The mercenaries partly came from throughout criminal circles and institutions such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. They waged a real barbaric terror wave over the peasantry. They raged so terribly that the rebelling regime got support from Algeria, Egypt and Tanzania (Tanganyika by then united with Zanzibar). Also the USSR and China rendered some support, which was used by Western propaganda as excuse for their brutal actions. When confronted with throughout brutality of Western mercenaries the rebels took European hostages. As Noam Chomsky says, characterizing the cynical attitude of “power”: “Terror is always what the OTHERS do”, this was regarded as “terror” which “had to” be stopped by US and Belgian military, whereas the butchering of legions of civilians by the Western supported forces usually wasn´t mentioned. This operation “Dragon Rouge” crushed the anticolonial movement. Blum quotes a CIA operative on the white mercenaries: “bringing in our own animals” (Blum 2004: 161). But officially “American and Belgian officials took great pains to emphasize the purely “humanitarian” purpose of the mission” (Blum 2004: 162).
The short interplay of Che Guevara´s appearance April 1965 couldn´t prevent this end of the upheaval. He came accompanied by second-in-command Afro Cuban Victor Dreke and 12 other Cubans and was followed by soon by about 100 Afro Cuban fighters. Surely inspired by high ideals this step also bears some arrogance in as far they did not even speak local languages, leaving alone culture and more. It was a well meant revolutionary “export” but condemned to fail in face of the overall brutality of the enemy (the Western troops and the mercenaries on their side were also not familiar with the country, but their “job” was “only” terror!). This action of Che cannot be compared to the helpful intervention of Cuba later on in face the Apartheid South African aggression in Angola. So they had to leave on Cuban demand before the upheaval finally failed. But Che got an impression of one of his Congolese allies, Laurent Kabila, of whom Che wrote: “nothing leads me to believe he is the man of the hour” (BBC News January 17, 2001). Interesting the fate of his young Congolese interpreter of that time, Freddy Ilanga, who followed Che to Cuba and became a brain surgeon (1).
The US finally Install “Their New Old Man” in Congo
“It was hard to convince people that we had provided the Congo with $420 million in aid since independence just to prevent chaos; they couldn´t believe any country could be that altruistic”.
William Atwood, US Ambassador to Kenya 1964-65 (Blum 2004: 162-163)
Blum explains well that any situation over which the US don´t have full control is “chaos” in the eyes of US power. But despite the fact that Tshombe was really at West´s strings the guy was “outworn” not only because the whole of Africa knew he was one of Lumumba´s murderers but his involvement into that war fought with the white “animal” mercenaries had further damaged their puppet´s reputation. And they had another “good fella”, Mobutu, who seized power in November 1965, deposing Tshombe and Kasa-Vubu. Tshombe, now being accused by the US´ “new man” of treason – which was a very ironical action by Mobutu obviously designed to put himself into distance of Lumumba´s murder – fled to Franco´s Spain, where he also had a stay already in 1963. This was most probably an action by fascist Franco regime in accordance with the US (Pambazuka, 1). “Tshombe enjoyed a bodyguard provided by several Spanish police agents, enjoyed the support provided by private citizens, some with high social and political positions and had the backing of the press (along with the ABC daily and Arriba, connected to these citizens)” (2). Nevertheless he was spied on by Franco´s secret service.
Tshombe almost disturbed the new round of US game since he inspired the “Gendarmes” plus their allied mercenaries to an upheaval in the former Stanleyville, now Kisangani, which failed. Obviously some rightists were not aware of what “Big Brother” had decided on. Actually no henchman of the US Empire should be sure of his former master´s loyalty. It seems most probable that what happened to Tshombe might have quite happened with US´ consent. “Ironically, neither the efforts of private Catholic fascism and nor the security of official Catholic fascism could prevent the small plane flying from Ibiza to Palma de Mallorca, where Tshombe was travelling escorted by two Spanish policemen, from being abducted, apparently the first aerial kidnapping occurring in Spain – by J. Francis Boden – apparently his friend, and then flown to Algeria where he was imprisoned and died in mysterious circumstances” is written on Pambazuka. This guy wouldn´t disturb Big Brothers new designs for Congo anymore! One day also Mobutu would find out that being their henchman doesn´t mean master´s lifelong friendship! But that would only be after a long time. Another “Kisangani Mutiny” took place after knowledge about Tshombe´s abduction was spread on 5th July 1967. Gendarmes and mercenaries under command of the Belgian Jean Schramme tried another attempt which last till November that year, when the gang fled to Rwanda.
The US had “now fixed in power, over a more or less unified Congo, a man who would be more cooperative with the CIA and its African adventurers with Western capital, and less accessible to the socialist block…” (Blum 2004: 162). That was true, and a real masquerade took place, showing the man as the creator of a pseudo “African Renaissance”, even forcing old people to do away with their life long Christian names, renaming Congo into “Zaire” with no real linguistic or historical foundation, selling the country to the West and putting the money into his own pocket. That masquerade was by the way copied by another sell out, Gnassingbé Eyadéma of Togo.
“Under Mobutu, terror and repression became facts of daily life, civil liberties and other human rights were markedly absent. The country remains one of the poorest to be found anywhere despite its vast natural riches” (Blum 2004: 162). Mobutu was really a “fitting” heir of Leopold II!
2) See also http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/75425)
Link “King Leopold´s Ghost”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpx5hy5TejE