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  #81  
Old 06-09-2020, 07:56 AM
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History, as controversial it might be, needs explanation, mediation and above all context.
Our current culture is driven by instant emotions , but you can't summarize History in one tweet, as it's often far more complicated and not so binary (right/wrong).

There's a tiny, tiny line between legitimate demands and demonstrations and basic vandalism. And as far i can see, all around the Globe, it's still not clear is some cases what's behind those destructions imho (Belgium included).
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  #82  
Old 06-09-2020, 08:07 AM
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Given the open public hostility towards anything or anyone associated with colonialism I wonder if people will start handing back the Order of Léopold II out of protest?
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  #83  
Old 06-09-2020, 02:09 PM
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You have to work your whole life to receive this Decoration !
There is hostility but not the whole Country , it is like Nico said so well.
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  #84  
Old 06-09-2020, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by An Ard Ri View Post
Given the open public hostility towards anything or anyone associated with colonialism I wonder if people will start handing back the Order of Léopold II out of protest?
It's less 'colonialism' in this case than "straight-up, personally-instigated, unnecessary slavery and murder on a Hitler/Stalin level". He's not Hitler, but he's one of very few people in human history who've managed to torture and murder on that scale.

Would you want the Order of Hitler, especially as an award for your life's work? It's pretty much the same thing. In Leopold's case, he did it not for ideology, but simple greed.

It's not a matter of politics. It's a matter of ethics, taste, and humanity.

Belgium has the impetus now, finally, to deal with the deep embarrassment that's left and stop having him on any kind of pedestal. Carpe diem. I hope the other three statues follow the first.
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  #85  
Old 06-09-2020, 11:42 PM
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I can totally understand why people would want the statue of Leopold removed. When I think of these statues, I think a person is being honored. But likewise, as a historian, I totally get where everyone is saying that we need to know and learn about Leopold, and the tragedy of the Congo. And like Prinsara said above, you don't have statue of Hitler in Germany!

If I was a visitor going to Belgium, I would see this statue and think he was a great man and he wasn't. Its a situation that is never gong to please everyone but perhaps he should be moved to a museum and his negative and positive attributes should be stated so everyone could have the full facts.
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  #86  
Old 06-11-2020, 02:31 AM
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The Catholic University of Louvain has removed a bust of Loepold II from the University library.

---
In the mean time the American actor BennAffleck is making a movie about Leopold, based on the 1998 book King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild.

In typical Hollywood style the movie will be focussed on Anglo-Saxons: the main characters will be an American missionary, an English journalist and an Irish spy.

https://variety.com/2019/film/news/b...st-1203411868/
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  #87  
Old 06-11-2020, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Marengo View Post
The Catholic University of Louvain has removed a bust of Loepold II from the University library.

---
In the mean time the American actor BennAffleck is making a movie about Leopold, based on the 1998 book King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild.

In typical Hollywood style the movie will be focussed on Anglo-Saxons: the main characters will be an American missionary, an English journalist and an Irish spy.

https://variety.com/2019/film/news/b...st-1203411868/
George Washington Williams (a Black man), Roger Casement (not Anglo-Saxon), and I forget who the English journalist was – all helped to expose and publicize what was going on in the Congo Free State. That was the narrative of Hochschild's book.

I doubt Affleck will be saying they were solely responsible, but it is a reflection of the history of what happened, not simply "typical Hollywood style".
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  #88  
Old 06-11-2020, 11:54 AM
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I meant English-speaking with Anglo-Saxon, my mistake as they are indeed not the same. In modern history we are terrorized by seeing everything through an English-American prism due to the dominance of the language.

It is typical Hollywood style only to focus on English-speaking side of the story. There were other equally important and perhaps more effective people critisizing the rape of Congo - though these three men obviously played an important part, esp. in the UK. We will have to see if -as was a criticism of the book- experiences of Congolese people on the whole were ignored. But perhaps the movie will find a balance so you are right it is too soon to tell.

Anyway, it is good that a movie is in the making to highlight what happened. That it is a Hollywood production is a pity but will at least ensure that more people will hear about the history.


---
In the mean time several Belgian papers now feature articles saying that next to a mass-murderer the King was also a pedophile, who paid for sex with underage girls. According to newspaper articles of the time eight brothels in London 'exported' young girls abroad to men abroad, among them King Leopold. Some of them were barely ten years old. Leopold's mistress was Arcadie Claret, who was 15 y/o when they met.
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  #89  
Old 06-11-2020, 12:46 PM
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Arcadie Claret was Leopold I Mistress
Blanche Delacroix was Leopold II Mistress.
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  #90  
Old 06-11-2020, 12:52 PM
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I have the book "Leopold's Ghost"...purchased about 12 years ago. I had a friend who was from Congo, here in the US working on his doctoral thesis. He inspired me to try and learn more about the history of Belgium and the Congo.

Reading it was like delving into a nightmare. I am a little sceptical about how Hollywood will handle this shameful but important bit of history.
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  #91  
Old 06-11-2020, 12:58 PM
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-Poor emotional affect
-Lack of shame or fear
-Consummate liar
-Sees other people as tools to be manipulated

Other than a need for stimulation? (as in getting into fights or somesuch), Leopold basically hits every criteria for a modern diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder/sociopathy. A low-functioning one, since he was so unpopular and bad with people.

And he basically spent his life proving the rules did not apply to him (right down to ennobling and parading his much-younger, prostitute mistress) and his conscience didn't exist. Why are we surprised by anything this man did?

Unfortunately, when you've already been declared a monster, it seems like more drops in the ocean, somehow. The bottom line is still "bad man, terrible person, evil monster".
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  #92  
Old 06-11-2020, 01:23 PM
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I read that after he visited Berlin the Empress Augusta called in an exorcist to have the rooms where he stayed in exorcised.
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  #93  
Old 06-11-2020, 01:29 PM
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I read that after he visited Berlin the Empress Augusta called in an exorcist to have the rooms where he stayed in exorcised.
...that's almost funny.

Augusta, or Dona? Well, the first would be proving her intelligence; the second would be proving her intelligence in spite of the consensus about her!
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  #94  
Old 06-12-2020, 02:03 AM
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The book spoke about Empress Augusta but judging from the context it must have been Empress Auguste-Viktoria indeed.

--

In the mean time another Belgian royal confirms the consensus about him ; Prince Laurent spoke to Sudpresse which today leads to headlines like:

"Prince Laurent defends King Leopold II: He has done a lot for Belgium"

Quote:
"You should see what Leopold II has done for Belgium," said Laurent in the Sudpresse newspapers. "He had parks built in Brussels and many other things. You should also know that many people worked for King Leopold II. They have really committed abuse. But Leopold II did not do that all himself. He has never been to Congo. So I don't see how he would have made people suffer there. It is important that this is also said once. "

For Laurent it is a foregone conclusion that "whites" have made major mistakes in Africa. "Whenever I meet an African chief or head of state, I apologize for the behavior of Europeans during the colonies. I always do that, "said the prince who regrets that the statues of his great uncle are vandalized. [...]
https://www.standaard.be/cnt/dmf20200612_04988997

---
Later this year it is 60 years ago that Congo became independent. According to Joachim Coens - leader of the Flemish Christian Democrat party CD&V says it is a good moment to offer official apologies. It would be appropriate if the King himself would convey these apologies.

https://www.gva.be/cnt/dmf20200612_0...s-koning-filip

--
The city of Sint-Niklaas said that the portrait of King Leopold II will probably not be returned to the city's wedding hall. It was removed a few weeks ago. The mayor also said that it is likely that the Leopold II - street will get a different name.

https://www.gva.be/cnt/dmf20200611_0...rt-andere-naam
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  #95  
Old 06-12-2020, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Marengo View Post
I meant English-speaking with Anglo-Saxon, my mistake as they are indeed not the same. In modern history we are terrorized by seeing everything through an English-American prism due to the dominance of the language.

It is typical Hollywood style only to focus on English-speaking side of the story. There were other equally important and perhaps more effective people critisizing the rape of Congo - though these three men obviously played an important part, esp. in the UK. We will have to see if -as was a criticism of the book- experiences of Congolese people on the whole were ignored. But perhaps the movie will find a balance so you are right it is too soon to tell.

Anyway, it is good that a movie is in the making to highlight what happened. That it is a Hollywood production is a pity but will at least ensure that more people will hear about the history.


---
In the mean time several Belgian papers now feature articles saying that next to a mass-murderer the King was also a pedophile, who paid for sex with underage girls. According to newspaper articles of the time eight brothels in London 'exported' young girls abroad to men abroad, among them King Leopold. Some of them were barely ten years old. Leopold's mistress was Arcadie Claret, who was 15 y/o when they met.
"Argo" was a decent, if not good, film but was not, not at all even, historically accurate.
History must be told indeed, but with nuance and, again, context. You can"t expect Holywood to do that, especially at this point where any nuance is mainly unhearable.
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  #96  
Old 06-12-2020, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Nico View Post
"Argo" was a decent, if not good, film but was not, not at all even, historically accurate.
History must be told indeed, but with nuance and, again, context. You can"t expect Holywood to do that, especially at this point where any nuance is mainly unhearable.
If its a Hollywood movie it is probably going to concentrate on the English speaking people...and Roger Casement an Anglo Irishman was the one who wrote about the horrors that happened there....
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  #97  
Old 06-12-2020, 10:00 AM
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If its a Hollywood movie it is probably going to concentrate on the English speaking people...and Roger Casement an Anglo Irishman was the one who wrote about the horrors that happened there....

Sir Roger Casement and his African explorer close friend Herbert Ward were both members of the Congo Reform Association.They has spent some time there together.Herbert was clearly captivated by Casement and wrote

Quote:
Imagine a tall, handsome man, of fine bearing; thin, mere muscle and bone, a sun-tanned face, blue eyes and black curly hair. A pure Irishman he is, with a captivating voice and singular charm of manner. A man of distinction and great refinement, high-minded and courteous, impulsive and poetical.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...r_casement.jpg

Casement must be the Irish spy mentioned above he was stripped of his knighthood and executed by the British for for high treason in 1916 following his Irish revolutionary activities .His name was also blackened by Scotlandyard with the releasing of parts of his "Black Diaries" which detailed his homosexual activities which at the time which were illegal.
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  #98  
Old 06-12-2020, 10:15 AM
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The royal court in Brussels says that it is waiting for a "historical consensus" and a "appropriate occasion" to speak about Leopold II's role in Congo.

https://www.standaard.be/cnt/dmf20200612_04989300

That perhaps means that apologies won't be made any time soon.

--
Last night there was a 'nocturnal raid' on street name signs and statues of Leopold II. In Brussels the statue of King Baudouin was also defaced & covered with red paint. It is unclear if this was done by mistake or a protest for Baudouin's tacit approval of the murder of Patrice Lumumba. In Forest (Brussels) a statue of Leopold II was pulled over and replaced by a photo of Patrice Lumumba.

https://www.nieuwsblad.be/cnt/dmf20200612_04989043
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  #99  
Old 06-12-2020, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Marengo View Post
The book spoke about Empress Augusta but judging from the context it must have been Empress Auguste-Viktoria indeed.

--

In the mean time another Belgian royal confirms the consensus about him ; Prince Laurent spoke to Sudpresse which today leads to headlines like:

"Prince Laurent defends King Leopold II: He has done a lot for Belgium"
Laurent... good grief. Fortunately you have never been known for keeping your mouth shut, so feel free to continue not adding to your credibility.
Quote:
"You should see what Leopold II has done for Belgium," said Laurent in the Sudpresse newspapers. "He had parks built in Brussels and many other things. You should also know that many people worked for King Leopold II. They have really committed abuse. But Leopold II did not do that all himself. He has never been to Congo. So I don't see how he would have made people suffer there. It is important that this is also said once. "
Or you didn't know that Baudouin tried this 60 years ago and it didn't look good then.

The tired point about Leopold "never having been to the Congo" becomes irrelevant since it's also on record he tried to cover up what he did the entire time, from buying it under false benevolent pretenses to bitching about journalists he couldn't pay off.
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  #100  
Old 06-12-2020, 12:49 PM
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The attacks on statues of King Leopold II are making headlines around the world.

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/10/e...ntl/index.html

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...-Brussels.html
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