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episcogal 01-10-2014 12:19 AM

(Belgian) Congo and the Belgian Royal Family
 
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?

Fürstin Taxis 01-12-2014 03:27 PM

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?

episcogal 01-12-2014 09:14 PM

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.

CMV 09-17-2014 01:20 AM

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.

WreathOfLaurels 09-26-2017 05:48 AM

Aside from Cold War politics, part of the bad blood between the BeRF and Lumumba was that before Lumumba was overthrown and assassinated there had been race riots targeting Belgian expats in DR Congo and threats of nationalization of Belgian businesses (Belgian commercial interests in central and francophone africa is still extensive even today) that Baudoiun blamed on Lumumba.

To what extent Baudioun was aware of or involved in Lumumba's death is anyone's guess, but by and large Baudion got along better with Mobutu (at least until the two had a falling out), and I suspect that this understanding between the two may indicate a more ruthless and cunning side to the king's character. Even the pious and good can have their dark sides, and Baudioun's prior knowledge and/or involvement can't be ruled out. I'd quite happily put money him knowing and looking the other way actually.

I know that both Fabiola and Paola both recieved gifts of diamond jewelry from Marie-Antoinette Mobutu that are now property of the Belgian state that have not been worn due to political reasons. Much of the BeRF's Crown Jewels are made from Congolese diamonds (as are a couple of pieces in the Luxembourg Collection via Josephine Charlotte) and a substantial amount of their personal wealth has its origins in Leopold II's "business ventures" , on top of their generous civil list and Leopold I's British state pension. With that in mind, i'd really like to know what the BeRF makes of the late troubles in DR Congo, which despite being grossly undereported in the west and more so in the English language media, have constituted the world's bloodiest civil war in recent history with approx 5 million dead?

If some Vlaams Blok muckraker really wanted to embarrass the RF, they don't to talk about sex scandals or allegations of nazi collaboration. They just need to read King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild. It's really all they need to know.

maria-olivia 09-26-2017 10:52 AM

We just had on TV the story of President Mobutu's life in 4 parts.
The Independance in 1960 was given to early and Congo was not ready!
Mobutu who was a simple Sergent became Colonel, due to Lumumba.
After he wanted to be the highest in Congo and is involved in Prime Minister Lumumba 's Assasination. President Kasabuvu had to go go back to his lands.
Mobuta was the head of Zaire/Congo , head and after Dictator , Marechal wearing huge uniforms Decorations etc
At the End when he had all , he feeled depressed , had prostate cancer, thought he would live but died after have ruined his country.
There was at the beginning a relationship as friends , the President came to Belgium and our Royals went to Zaire. But after he became Dictator with its damages , the contacts were broken for ever.
King Albert II and Queen Paola went to Congo and Mrs Kabila gave jewels to our Queen who went to a Vault.
Princess Josephine Charlotte received wedding jewels from Congo because she was Princess of Belgium and Congo was ours.

Congo is a shame now , all what the belgian and after did are broken !

Please do not involve our late King in the Lumumba Affair without serious proves.
The Leopold II affair will never embarras nowadays our Royal family.

King Philippe , Queen Mathilde and their 4 Children are doing their very best and we like them.

Mbruno 09-26-2017 11:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WreathOfLaurels (Post 2021762)
I know that both Fabiola and Paola both received gifts of diamond jewelry from Marie-Antoinette Mobutu that are now property of the Belgian state that have not been worn due to political reasons.

That is actually an interesting piece of information. Do you think those diamond jewelry gifts will be ever worn by a Belgian royal lady ? What kind of items are you talking about exactly ?

Moonmaiden23 09-26-2017 11:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WreathOfLaurels (Post 2021762)
Aside from Cold War politics, part of the bad blood between the BeRF and Lumumba was that before Lumumba was overthrown and assassinated there had been race riots targeting Belgian expats in DR Congo and threats of nationalization of Belgian businesses (Belgian commercial interests in central and francophone africa is still extensive even today) that Baudoiun blamed on Lumumba.

To what extent Baudioun was aware of or involved in Lumumba's death is anyone's guess, but by and large Baudion got along better with Mobutu (at least until the two had a falling out), and I suspect that this understanding between the two may indicate a more ruthless and cunning side to the king's character. Even the pious and good can have their dark sides, and Baudioun's prior knowledge and/or involvement can't be ruled out. I'd quite happily put money him knowing and looking the other way actually.

I know that both Fabiola and Paola both recieved gifts of diamond jewelry from Marie-Antoinette Mobutu that are now property of the Belgian state that have not been worn due to political reasons. Much of the BeRF's Crown Jewels are made from Congolese diamonds (as are a couple of pieces in the Luxembourg Collection via Josephine Charlotte) and a substantial amount of their personal wealth has its origins in Leopold II's "business ventures" , on top of their generous civil list and Leopold I's British state pension. With that in mind, i'd really like to know what the BeRF makes of the late troubles in DR Congo, which despite being grossly undereported in the west and more so in the English language media, have constituted the world's bloodiest civil war in recent history with approx 5 million dead?

If some Vlaams Blok muckraker really wanted to embarrass the RF, they don't to talk about sex scandals or allegations of nazi collaboration. They just need to read King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild. It's really all they need to know.

I have that book. It's gruesome, chilling to read about Leopold II and his influence and legacy in the Congo.

How can he he have gotten away with it all?

Marengo 09-26-2017 12:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mbruno (Post 2021797)
That is actually an interesting piece of information. Do you think those diamond jewelry gifts will be ever worn by a Belgian royal lady ? What kind of items are you talking about exactly ?

Queen Paola received an expensive diamond necklace, bracelet and earrings from President Kabila when she attended the 50th independence celebrations of Congo in 2010.

The items were never worn and handed over to the Donation Royale/Koninklijke Schenking a few days later.

Queen Fabiola donated her Wolfers tiara to the foundation, which is worn by Queen Mathilde.

Mbruno 09-26-2017 01:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Moonmaiden23 (Post 2021799)
I have that book. It's gruesome, chilling to read about Leopold II and his influence and legacy in the Congo.

How can he he have gotten away with it all?

The world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was very different from the world today. Colonialism and imperialism were not only accepted in most European countries, but also actually seen as a positive force for progress and change. Having said that, Leopold II didn't completely "get away with it" as he evetually had to surrender control of the former Congo "Free State" to the Belgian state.

maria-olivia 09-26-2017 03:28 PM

Prince Albert before being King Albert the First , when to Congo in 1909 .
He wrote in his book what they told him about the broken arms etc.
He noted 3 important points.
1) No roads He visited the country walking or with a bike !.
2)The European do not know anything about people of Africa,
3)No hygiene at all.
He was very angry when he came back because Leopold II wanted a brillant description of his Congo and the Prince could not give them .
King , he did an official Visit to Congo with Queen Elisabeth for the Inauguration of the Train at Leopoldville.

maria-olivia 09-26-2017 03:31 PM

Sad the Congo jewels may not be worn since 1960 . The Royal Family of GB received glittering jewels ea from Arabie Saudite and may wear them during generations.

Al_bina 09-27-2017 08:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by maria-olivia (Post 2021885)
Sad the Congo jewels may not be worn since 1960 . The Royal Family of GB received glittering jewels ea from Arabie Saudite and may wear them during generations.

Unlike the British royals the Belgian royal family have more scruples. The Belgian atrocities in Congo are comparable to the atrocities of UK in India (the Bengali famine), Kenya (the Mau Mau uprising) and Ireland (the well-planned genocide of the Irish).

Lee-Z 09-28-2017 02:38 AM

Imo Belgian RF in relation to the history of Congo is a completely different situation to the british RF in relation to Saudi Arabia

WreathOfLaurels 09-28-2017 02:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lee-Z (Post 2022499)
Imo Belgian RF in relation to the history of Congo is a completely different situation to the british RF in relation to Saudi Arabia


Agreed, DR Congo was first Leopold II's personal fiefdom, than later was ruled by central dictat from Brussels as the tenth province of the kingdom, and its first independent government sabotaged on behalf of (among others) Belgiums commercial interests in the area.

Saudi Arabia on the other hand was a British client state but still basically independent from its inception.

maria-olivia 09-28-2017 08:24 AM

King Leopold II gave his Congo to Belgium in 1905. It was ruled by the Belgian Governor at Leopold ville .Congo was not our 10th Province because 80 x bigger that Belgium.
When Leopold III received the tittle of Duke de Brabant, Charles Count of Flanders Marie José nothing. She asked to be called Princess of Congo but this was refused by his Father King Albert the First.

Mbruno 09-28-2017 11:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by maria-olivia (Post 2022518)
King Leopold II gave his Congo to Belgium in 1905. It was ruled by the Belgian Governor at Leopold ville .Congo was not our 10th Province because 80 x bigger that Belgium.
When Leopold III received the tittle of Duke de Brabant, Charles Count of Flanders Marie José nothing. She asked to be called Princess of Congo but this was refused by his Father King Albert the First.



Many countries have their share of guilty as far as colonialism is concerned (Britain, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, France, etc.). In any case, whatever happened in the Congo after 1908 is the responsibility of the Belgian government, rather than the King personally. So, I don't think we can put Albert I, or Leopold III, or Baudouin in the same category as Leopold II.

maria-olivia 09-28-2017 12:25 PM

Of course not , they had the profit of Congo until 1960 !

maria-olivia 09-28-2017 12:31 PM

The very handsome Princess Caroline (WHAT A WOMEN !)is just on private Visit to Congo now. I don't know what it really means for Congo and its whole politic situation?


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