When I first started learning about Belgian royalty and Baudouin/Boudewijn in particular, I thought Congo was only peripheral to his life, but it's a bit more complicated than that. I am having real difficulty reconciling the man in all his wonderful character with his dealings in Congo both during the Independence process and beyond - basically to his death. :sad:
Anyone knowledgeable want to discuss this topic?
He was not better than the Kings before with their greed after Congolese minerals.
Leopold: "The independence of the Congo... is the culmination of the work conceived... by the genius of Leopold II. Undertaken by him with tenacious courage... and continued with perseverance by Belgium."
How can someone have the image of a Saint, while praising someone who started a genocide in Congo for profit?
When you say "Leopold: "The independence..." you mean that Baudouin is speaking of Leopold II, correct? Because, he is the one who made that statement. And, that is EXACTLY the statement that I'm having truly trouble assimilating into my knowledge base of Baudouin.
There are no two ways about it - Leopold II was a terrible ghastly initiator and propagator of a system in which terrible crimes and murder by the millions took place. I'm not surprised in the slightest that Lumumba had a problem with that statement.
Could Baudouin really have been *that* sheltered as to not know? Because I absolutely do NOT believe he was overly motivated by natural resources exploitation, because when he saw things were going south, he went from a step down exit to flat out all-at-once independence. If he had been so interested in exploiting the minerals, then I doubt that would have happened in that fashion.
I do think you're not being entirely even with Baudouin.
Baudouin is NOT equal to Leopold II.
I think Congolese independence was much more complicated than Baudouin had let it appear. There are valid points to be made that the all-at-once independence movement was made with the expectation that the Congo would fall apart and he'd be allowed to retake it for Belgium, which obviously didn't happen. There's also some speculation that he supported separatists against Lumumba to try to regain the Congo, especially the uranium-rich portions (which would have made Belgium extremely important in the Cold War era).
Was Baudouin equal to Leopold II? Probably not, but he was no saint either.
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