colonial congo


British Invasion of the Congo

Although the Belgians Colonised the Congo,In 1911 they gave a British Man ; William Lever, a concession to develop large scale productions of Palm oil in the Congo.

In the book Lord Leverhulme’s Ghosts: Colonial Exploitation in the Congo by Jules Marchal  the author states: “Leverhulme set up a private kingdom reliant on the horrific Belgian system of forced labour, a program that reduced the population of Congo by half and accounted for more deaths than the Nazi holocaust.Formal parliamentary investigations were called for by members of the Belgian Socialist Party, but despite their work the practice of forced labour continued until independence in 1960.

The Bushongo dignitaries…each carry a ceremonial staff… Once I took up such a staff to inspect it from close up after which I laid it without a second thought upon the ground. The high ranking man who owned the stick smiled at me and said: "if a Bushongo had treated my stick with such carelessness, I would certainly have punished him severely.” “And why don’t you punish me?” I asked. “Certainly I cannot punish a white man for his poor behaviour”, he responded, still smiling, “as a white man cannot possibly understand good manners.

- A story I read in an exhibition on Hungarian anthropologist Emil Torday, describing the fiercest drag I’ve ever encountered from a leader in Congo

Originally posted by w3eds


If you can understand French, check out this interview with Léonie Abo. She took up arms against Belgian- and US-funded forces in the Simba rebellion and continued to fight in guerrillas on the side of forces still loyal to Lumumba until her husband, Pierre Mulele (who himself was a major figure), was assassinated in 1968. We know the names of many men who fought against colonialism– and we know that women, too, must have also participated in rebellions, but often their names are lost to history.

Most striking about the traditional societies of the Congo was their remarkable artwork: baskets, mats, pottery, copper and ironwork, and, above all, woodcarving. It would be two decades before Europeans really noticed this art. Its discovery then had a strong influence on Braque, Matisse, and Picasso—who subsequently kept African art objects in his studio until his death. Cubism was new only for Europeans, for it was partly inspired by specific pieces of African art, some of them from the Pende and Songye peoples, who live in the basin of the Kasai River, one of the Congo’s major tributaries. It is easy to see the distinctive brilliance that so entranced Picasso and his colleagues at their first encounter with this art at an exhibit in Paris in 1907.

In these central African sculptures some body parts are exaggerated, some shrunken; eyes project, cheeks sink, mouths disappear, torsos become elongated; eye sockets expand to cover almost the entire face; the human face and figure are broken apart and formed again in new ways and proportions that had previously lain beyond the sight of traditional European realism.

The art sprang from cultures that had, among other things, a looser sense than Islam or Christianity of the boundaries between our world and the next, as well as of those between the world of humans and the world of beasts. Among the Bolia people of the Congo, for example, a king was chosen by a council of elders; by ancestors, who appeared to him in a dream; and finally by wild animals, who signaled their assent by roaring during a night when the royal candidate was left at a particular spot in the rain forest. Perhaps it was the fluidity of these boundaries that granted central Africa’s artists a freedom those in Europe had not yet discovered.
—  Adam Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghost

Picture take in Congo Free State: I have seen this picture being reblogged by so many people on the site without people knowing his name or what happened to him and his family. His name was Nsala from Wala in the Nsongo District, Congo Free State. What we now called Democratic Republic of Congo was owned by King Leopold of Belgium, it was given to him at the Berlin Conference. The whole country was essentially turned into a slave plantation and one of the things people had to do was mine for rubber. If a person didn’t meet the rubber quota, them and their family would be severely punished and one of the punishments was mutilation… A Catholic priest quotes a man called Tswambe, speaking of the hated state official Léon Fiévez “Rubber causes these torments; that’s why we no longer want to hear its name spoken. Soldiers made young men kill or rape their own mothers and sisters…The European officer in command ‘ordered us to cut off the heads of the men and hang them on the village palisades … and to hang the women and the children on the palisade in the form of a cross.” Nsala didn’t meet the rubber quota so as punishment his wife, daughter and son were killed, cut up into pieces and boiled and only the remaining foot and hand of his five year old daughter was returned to him (according to accounts)

From 1885 to 1908 Belgians estimated that half of Congo’s population had halved and over 10 million people died (statistics vary from 12-22 million) the Belgians were not the only ones who contributed to this death toll and torture. Omani Arab and Swahili people (Waswahili) from Zanzibar were also responsible for this genocide 


Before and After Colonisation

The British, referred to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Congolese people as ‘Primitive’ because they respected the land they lived on and understand the harmony that mankind and nature must abide by. In cultivating Palm trees, they only took what was needed for themselves to feed their families, and constructed a simple but efficient system of refining palms into oil and other products for many different purposes.

The British observed  and studied their technique, in their greed they decided to make it into a mass production enterprise, one explorer stated “buried in their jungle, they were too backward to realise the vast inheritance it had to offer, the untapped resources of their vast continent…wealth lay wasting”

It is by this same so called ‘primitive’ invention that they sought out to make profit from Palm (Palm Trees only grow in Tropical climates so the English knew nothing on how to cultivate and process it) they took the  invention of the Congolese and  enforced their system of capitalism in their country to fund their industrial ‘revolution’, producing more than was necessary, raping the land, causing major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and for the vast majority if not all of the profits to be enjoyed in their own countries.

They then spread propaganda worldwide; ‘the savages lived in darkness’ 'we found them swinging from trees’ 'we saved them from  themselves’, 'we civilised them’ and etc

They made it larger scale, a little tweak there, a little alteration here, and the white man has the audacity to herald himself as an inventor.

Making alterations to a pre-existing system/product whilst keeping the core technique does not make you an inventor. Its called Plagiarism.

7th of April 1994: The Rwandan genocide begins. 

In the early hours of the Morning of April the 7th, the Rwandan army, Police and Hutu militia forces began their genocidal purge of the Tutsi minority residing in Rwanda. The Genocide was to last until the 15th of July but during that time it is estimated between 500,000 and 1 million tutsi and moderate hutu had been systematically murdered

To give some context to why this atrocity happened. Rwanda has two types of people. Hutu and tutsi. The Tutsi Minority had ruled the country as a monarchy until 1884 when the German empire colonised it. The German settlers made a great distinction between the two classes, favouring the tutsi because of their lighter skin, natural tallness and their willingness to accept christianity. The Hutu where treated as a lower people, after ww1 Germany lost control of the colony and it was granted to Belgium, who continued the pro tutsi policy. The Belgians introduced identity cards to label the citizens of rwanda tutsi or hutu. Or a very small minority who made up 1% of the country called Twa. 

After ww2 Rwanda saw its transition from a belgian colony with a tutsi monarchy to a hutu controlled republic. Extremist Hutu began killing tutsi and the Twa where marginalised. Many fled to neighbouring countries. Tutsi’s from fought back from other countries, which in turn made the hutu government opress the tutsi’s still living in Rwanda. Juvénal Habyarimana took power in Rwanda in a coup in 1971, through use of propaganda the government made the hutu remember the past years of tutsi opression. The Hutu hated the tutsi. 

The Rwandan patriotic front (RPF) was a rebel group made up of tutsi refugees who invaded Rwanda in 1990 iniating a civil war. On the 6th of April 1994 president Habyarimana’s plane was shot down. The government blamed the RPF however evidence suggests extreme hutu’s shot the plane down to spark a genocide. 

The Killing began next morning. The police and the army killed and raped and burned tutsi settlements. Any moderate hutu’s were killed. The government encouraged the hutu majority to arm themselves with clubs, pitch forks, machetes and bats. Neighbours killed neighbours. The UN dispatched a peacekeeping force and France set up refugee camps and safe zones for displaced tutsi’s. However the French army had orignially backed the hutu government and helped train hutu militia. 

Despite the ongoing genocide the RPF won the war and set up a tutsi majority government lead by paul kagame. This caused 2 million hutus to flee into the democratic republic of Congo, which in turn started the congo wars. Reffered to as the “African world war”. 

January 17, 1961: Congo independence leader Patrice Lumumba executed following a military coup supported by U.S. and Belgian imperialism.

“As we commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., take a moment to remember another freedom fighter who perished in the struggle for liberation. Patrice Lumumba, the first legally elected prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was assassinated 52 years ago today, on 17 January, 1961." 

Via Richard Reilly

Are you aware of the Congolese atrocities committed on behalf of King Leopold II of Belgium? It is believed that up to 10 million people were killed and mutilated (half of the population) whilst covering it up. He (King Leopold) and his people were monsters…they had childrens’ hands hacked off.

In general, Colonialism (such a euphemism) fucked up and exploited Africa, as well as a number of countries in Asia, Oceania and the Americas. A significant portion of the wealth of a lot of first-world countries today was built on the stripped resources and immense suffering of the people they conquered. 

Almost everyone knows about the Holocaust and Nazi Germany, countless films and books have been written on it but what about this King Leopold asswipe? 

It is important to know about this!! This guy is one of the evilest, horrendous villains in world history. There are still statues of him in Belgium. (If any of you go to Belgian and see the statues, please spit on them or give them the finger at least)

Documentary-White King, Red Rubber, Black Death

When King Leopold II of Belgium held his first conference on the Congo in 1876, he claimed that his purpose was to conduct a civilizing mission that would Christianize the Congolese and free them from a world of darkness. 1 Instead, he introduced a greater darkness than any that the Congolese could have ever imagined, with the establishment of the ironically-named Congo Free State in 1877. The Congolese, who had already lost thirteen and a quarter million people to the Portuguese slave-traders, found their ranks even further depleted by the system of forced labor that was adopted by King Leopold’s administrators. 2 Through a tax and quota system, the Belgian administration set impossible standards for the extraction of rubber, palm, and ivory and the many Congolese who necessarily failed to meet them were either killed outright or were subjected to gruesome tortures.Within this terrible system, the Congolese were also turned against each other. In many cases, children were taken at an early age and impressed into King Leopold’s army, which was called the Force Publique. They were set above the common Congolese and given arms with which to kill their fellow men, with the added gruesome requirement that every expended bullet had to be accounted for with the severed hand of a victim delivered to their masters. Through such practices, and also the spread of diseases such as smallpox (which the Europeans brought with them), early death was rampant.
—  Tragic Congo : From Decolonization to Dictatorship by Jeanne M.Haskin

Today in history: January 17, 1961 - Patrice Lumumba assassinated.

Lumumba was a Congolese independence leader and the first leader of the Congo after he helped win its independence from Belgium in June 1960. Only twelve weeks later, Lumumba’s government was deposed in a coup. He was imprisoned and on January 17, 1961 he was executed by firing squad, an act that was committed with the assistance of the U.S. and Belgian governments. Documents publicly released in 2006 show that the CIA had concrete plans to assassinate Lumumba; the U.S. government virulently opposed his Pan Africanism and feared he was a communist.

Via Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Fight Back!)

anonymous asked:

what animal documentaries would you rec?

HmmmmMMMMmm, this is a good question, and a hard one! I love documentaries, especially animal ones, so it’ll be tough to narrow it down to just a few. But here are some good ones.

First, the classics- if you want to see gorgeous imagery of animals doing animal things in the wild, here are my picks: 

1. Planet Earth: This is, basically, the top-tier nature documentary, which takes an overarching look at the flora and fauna in different biomes such as forest, grasslands, freshwater, et cetera around the world. Beautiful cinematorgraphy, wonderful narration, stirring music. The epitome of nature porn.

2. Blue Planet: In the same vein as Planet Earth (and by the same people), this documentary uses stunning cinematography of sea creatures coupled by Attenbourough narration. 

3. The Hunt: I haven’t finished watching the episodes of this documentary, which I think is still airing on BBC, but what I have seen is still amazing. My only quibble is that for a series where the very subject is predation, it sometimes sanitizes the gorey truth of nature. On the other hand, the reality of what an African wild dog kill looks like probably wouldn’t be allowed on daytime TV.

4. Africa: I am so skeeved at how hard it’s been for me to find and watch all the episodes of this wonderful nature doc. Like the others on this list, it’s got all the goods: visuals, David Attenborough, the works. And a lizard jumping around on a sleeping lion.

As good as nature porn type docs are, they tend to favor imagery over deep thought. Here are some docs that will seriously teach you something:

1. The Life of… series: Life of Birds, Life of Mammals, Life in Cold Blood. Each series will teach you all about the evolution, lifestyles, challenges, and behaviors of its subject group of animals. And despite the fact that you’ll be learning, the visuals ain’t half bad either.

2. Your Inner Fish: This series on vertebrate evolution, from fish to mammals, is an excellent primer on all the fundamental changes that took place in the transition between early fish and late primate.

Some good ethical/conservation-based docs:

1. Virunga: The trouble with conservation-themed documentaries is that they often have the emotional subtlety of a brick to the privates. Virunga doesn’t escape this completely, but it does put away the sappy monologue about the beauty of nature long enough to discuss the difficulties of running a nature preserve in an area rocked by human conflict. The scars left by colonialism on the Congo have yet to heal, and are reopened when British oil companies push to drill for oil on the last refuge of wild mountain gorillas. The images of the gorillas, particularly the orphan ones cared for by a devoted Congolese caretaker, are stirring, but more stunning to me was the utter racism and corruption revealed by an undercover journalist interviewing members of the oil company Soco.

2. The Elephant in the Living Room: It’s hard to film any subject where disagreements are bitter with neutrality, and this documentary doesn’t achieve that- it clearly wants us to believe that there are serious problems with the way the keeping of wild animals as pets is legislated. But unlike many similar documentaries, we do get a sympathetic look into the life of the owner of some such pets, in this case a small pride of African lions, and feel his genuine love for the animals. We also come to understand the plight of the exotic animals that slip between the cracks, as bulging-at-the-seams sanctuaries struggle to take them in. At times this doc exaggerates the danger posed by many of these species, but it can’t emphasize enough the sometimes fatal damage to the animals themselves.

3. Earth: A New Wild: Overly optimistic? Perhaps. But I loved this recent documentary, which rather than focusing completely on conservation failures tried to couple them with new hope for a world where humans learn to work with, rather than around, nature. Not all the ideas presented in the doc are really all that feasible- but at least we’re getting some!

A couple off-kilter docs, ones with weird premises and/or editing that I still love:

1. Microcosmos: This mostly narration-free documentary focuses in on tiny invertebrates doing tiny invertebrate things: diving spiders diving, snails having snail sex, ants panicking at the attack of a monstrously gigantic chicken. Some shots were clearly manipulated, but for the most part I was riveted and entirely sucked into the alien little worlds that lie beneath our feet.

2. Hidden Kingdoms: Hoo boy, speaking of shots being manipulated, here we have a doc that consists of almost entirely fabricated scenes, actors, and narration. Mind you, no humans appear on film: the actors are animals, both captive and wild, that are manipulated one way or another. To my knowledge, none of it was done in a terribly unethical way, and the doc itself is up-front about its own fakery. So why is this on the list? The fact is, there are shots in this doc (particularly the first episode, which outshines the other two by a lot) that couldn’t have been captured any other way. Without a premade sengi racetrack with a camera installed to zoom alongside, there would have been no way to capture, in exquisite hi-def slow motion, the exquisite slow motion shots of the sengi galloping along. And they are exquisite. Likewise, the shot of a grasshopper mouse leaping to escape the strike of a rattlesnake made me gasp, even though the actors were never in the same room. This doc can get a little silly, and the narration is as fake as the scenes themselves. But wow, some of the stuff captured here is just worth seeing.

Ok, that’s a short list off the top of my head (no, really!), so hopefully there are some you haven’t seen on here. People, feel free to reblog and add to this!

In the 23 years King Leopold owned the Congo over 10 million people were massacred. Leopold’s men would cut off the hands and genitals of the Congolese. They would be starved to death, boiled alive and over half the population were forced into labour. Villages would be burnt to the ground and men would be forced to rape their grandmothers, mothers, sisters and daughters. Belgium may refuse to recognise the Congo Free State genocide but we must never let them forget

anonymous asked:

Do you know what are the major treaties we should remember?

Well there are a whole bunch of important ones but teh key ones are:

Peace of Augsburg (1555) 

  • gave German Princes the right to chose their own religion for their region (cuius regio euius religio) 
  • only allowed to chose between Catholicism of Lutheranism 

Edict of Nantes (1598) 

  • put into plac by politique Henry IV 
  • gave religious tolerance to french protestants (Huguenots) 
  • revoked by Louis XIV - because of his belif in reliious unity 

Peace of Westphalia (1648)

  • ended Thirty Years War 
  • recognized Calvinism as a acceptable religion 
  • recognized independent authority over 200 German states 
  • Germany was politically still fragmented and torn apart 
  • Sweden gained territory and became a major power 
  • Netherlands were recognized as independent 

Peace of Utrecht (1713) 

  • ended Louis XIV’s attempts to dominate Europe 
  • Charles V was on the throne in Spain but couldn’t hold the French crown as well 
  • Spanish Netherlands (the Catholic ones) were given to Austrian Habsburgs 
  • England got a whole bunch of new territories 

Pragmatic Sanction (1713) 

  • guaranteed that Maria Theresa would be the successor to HRE Charles VI 
  • indivisibility of lands 
  • Broken when Frederick the Great of Prussia invaded Silesia 

Congress of Vienna (1815) 

  • post French revolution 
  • settlement that was equal to France and the other powers 
  • Balance of Power that would exist till the Unification of Germany 
  • used legitimacy to restore the Bourbons to the thrones 
  • Belgium + Netherlands = Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • loose confederation of 39 German states 

Berlin Conference (1884-1885)

  • led by Bismarck 
  • established rules over the “scramble for Africa” 
  • a country would have to establish control for that colony to be theirs 
  • Congo Free State was given to Leopold III

Treaty of Versailles (1919)

  • Both Germany and Communist Russia were NOT allowed to participate in the negotiations 
  • Germany was guilty and had to pay for all reparations 
  • Austro-Hungarian empire divided into states  ( Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia) 
  • League of nations created to settle disputes 
  • bitterness and resentment between the victors and Germany 

The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (1918) 

  • ended Bolshevik Russia’s participation in the war 
  • negotiated by Vladimir Lenin who did’t want to continue a war that could not be won 
  • there were heavy payments but he wanted out 
  • it was repealed following Germany’s defeat

The Locarno Pact (1925)

  • France and Germany acknowledge and reinforce the borders set by the Treaty of Versailles 

Kellogg-Briand Pact (1925)

  • war is no longer a means of national policy 
  • violated during the 1930s 

Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact (1939)

  • Stalin and Hitler agreed on a 10 year nonaggression pact 
  • also secretly decided to divide Eastern Europe between them 

North Atlantic Pact (1949)

  • established NATO 
  • implemented Truman’s policy of containment 

Treaty of Rome (1957)

  • created the European Economic Community (EEC) 

Helsinki Accords (1975) 

  • ratified territorial boundaries after WWII 

Maastricht Treaty (1991) 

  • created the European Union (EU) or the Common Market 
  • established the Euro in 1999

Good Luck!