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  #101  
Old 06-12-2020, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Marengo View Post
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.
No European country as far as I know has ever apologized e.g. for the transatlantic slave trade . I don’t see any reason why the current royal court of Belgium would have to make any apology for King Léopold II’s rule in the Congo Free State.
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  #102  
Old 06-12-2020, 01:08 PM
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Because the more accurate analogy would be Germany apologizing for the Holocaust. Which I am pretty sure they have done. Repeatedly.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congo_...propaganda_war:"Part of a series on: Denial of mass killings"

"Appointed by Leopold himself, the commission reported horrific testimony, facts on deaths and mutilations, and letters obtained from the Congo Administration documenting the abuses. Leopold could not refute his own commission's findings."
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  #103  
Old 06-12-2020, 02:14 PM
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A slightly longer article on Laurent's comments. He really is tone-deaf. Leopold II was able to do lots of things in Belgium precisely because the people in Congo were treated so badly on his behalf.

However, the fact that Filip doesn't intend to say anything at all for the time being doesn't look good either. Maybe they should talk to their northern neighbors and ask why both former queen Beatrix and current king Willem-Alexander were the ones who were pushing for expressing apologies to the former colony Indonesia.
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  #104  
Old 06-12-2020, 04:08 PM
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Meanwhile, and somewhat matter of reflexion, the Leopold II statue in the heart of Kinshasa, capital of the ex Belgian Congo ... is safe and sound.

"It is a Belgian-Belgian affair which does not concern us directly"

"“The statue of Leopold II, for us, it reflects a story, a memory. It is a benchmark for our children ”

https://www.africaradio.com/news/en-...emiques-168970

https://www.lepoint.fr/afrique/statu...79630_3826.php
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  #105  
Old 06-12-2020, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Nico View Post
Meanwhile, and somewhat matter of reflexion, the Leopold II statue in the heart of Kinshasa, capital of the ex Belgian Congo ... is safe and sound.

"It is a Belgian-Belgian affair which does not concern us directly"

https://www.africaradio.com/news/en-...emiques-168970

https://www.lepoint.fr/afrique/statu...79630_3826.php
Meanwhile, the question is, why on Earth do they still have a statue of him there? They renamed the city from Léopoldville decades ago and somehow decided this was fine?

The DRC has and has had bigger problems. I guess if they want to keep him, that's their business, but it's admittedly bizarre.

Edit: Right, well, the article also says they have far bigger problems, unsurprisingly, and no current protests about racism. Also that the statue is safe and sound because it's already been relocated multiple times. It's currently in a guarded park for educational purposes with statues of Albert I and Henry Stanley. The original statue was dedicated by Albert in 1928. Leopold's ghost has a long shelf life.
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  #106  
Old 06-12-2020, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Prinsara View Post
Meanwhile, the question is, why on Earth do they still have a statue of him there? They renamed the city from Léopoldville decades ago and somehow decided this was fine?

The DRC has and has had bigger problems. I guess if they want to keep him, that's their business, but it's admittedly bizarre.
Because, ultimately, that's their choice to view their very own history with a whole aspect : the good, the bad, the despicable.
For right or wrong, Leopold II belongs to this history, like in Belgium, as he should, where he can be subject of debates.
Quite a lesson for our somewhat offended prone societies, where vandalizing historical monuments seem the only way to debate those days.

Thankfully counterpoints do exist, and like any historical discussion, should be heard :

"No, Leopold II was not genocidal"

https://www.lalibre.be/debats/opinio...70ed3894b6608a
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  #107  
Old 06-12-2020, 05:18 PM
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We can continue indefinitely like this if you wish :

https://www.theguardian.com/theguard...features11.g22

'There is nothing that could compare with the horrors of Hitler and Stalin, or the deliberate massacres of the Indian, Tasmanian and Aboriginal populations. A black legend has been created by polemicists and British and American journalists feeding off the imaginations of novelists and the re-writers of history."

The fact it that nobody will have the last word on this case, and that's the very point of History : it's always open to conjectures.
And because it's somewhat trendy nowadays to call Leopold II the biggest racist of them all doesn't mean it's necessarily true.
Nuance is a luxury that doesn't fit with Twitter i'm afraid, the place of the ultimate manichaeism.
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  #108  
Old 06-12-2020, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Mbruno View Post
No European country as far as I know has ever apologized e.g. for the transatlantic slave trade . I don’t see any reason why the current royal court of Belgium would have to make any apology for King Léopold II’s rule in the Congo Free State.
Just because no other European country has apologised (which isn't true as Italy has also removed statues), doesn't give Belgium an excuse to also stay silent. As MLK said, "in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends".
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  #109  
Old 06-13-2020, 02:16 AM
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I don't think it is a good idea for Belgium/ the King to be forced into an apology. To do so now, under pressure of an American movement, is perhaps far from ideal and even populist.

The 60th anniversary of Congo's independence will happen in a few months. The King was supposed to be there but due to the Corona virus his attendance is cancelled. It would have been a good moment to offer some sort of apology. But note that these apologies are often more an issue in the homeland than in the former colony. When the King of The Netherlands made apologies in Indonesia it was big news in The Netherlands while in Indonesia it barely featured in the news and people shrugged their shoulders at it.

Quote:
And because it's somewhat trendy nowadays to call Leopold II the biggest racist of them all doesn't mean it's necessarily true.
This was en vogue at the time as well. There was even a conference about misdeeds in the Congo at the time. His rule was exceptional. It stood out from other colonial rules at the time for being more cruel. If it was all a ploy to distract from British atrocities in the Boer wars I don't know. If it was it certainly did not work that way as the Boer wards were unpopular at the time and it is clear that concentration camps were a British invention.

I am not sure who is quoted in the quote that you posted. Judging from the article it must have been former Belgian officials from the Belgian Congo. If they were interviewed in 1999 that means they can not have been active in the Congo during the rule of Leopold II. They must have been active there at a later date when some of the worst practices were discontinued.

Criticism of the book of Hochschild is not new indeed. It was described as a 'soddy piece of work' and the way he arrived to certain numbers seems rather unscientific. There may be disagreement among historians just how awful Leopold's rule was but that his rule was exceptionally cruel -also for the standards of the day- is something that is not often placed in doubt. What he did do was to revive interest in this topic which was almost forgotten in international historiography, and thus helped fuel more research on the topic.
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  #110  
Old 06-13-2020, 06:30 AM
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They distroy our Patrimoine during the night , even our King Baudouin. This is against the law. The Monuments will be restaured and put inside .
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  #111  
Old 06-13-2020, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Mbruno View Post
No European country as far as I know has ever apologized e.g. for the transatlantic slave trade . I don’t see any reason why the current royal court of Belgium would have to make any apology for King Léopold II’s rule in the Congo Free State.
I totally agree. Even The Japanese Imperial Family has kept mum about their atrocities during the World War II. But I understand the sentiments of other people though but I guess it's not wise to single the current Belgian court out.

I've seen some videos on Tiktok regarding this though.

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Originally Posted by maria-olivia View Post
They distroy our Patrimoine during the night , even our King Baudouin. This is against the law. The Monuments will be restaured and put inside .
I am with you. Destroying monuments is so barbaric. It's against the law.
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  #112  
Old 06-13-2020, 06:46 AM
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They distroy our Patrimoine during the night , even our King Baudouin. This is against the law. The Monuments will be restaured and put inside .
To insult the memory of king Baudoin, who was basically a saint, is the proof that facts or History don't matter in those attacks.
Basic vandalism will not serve the cause.
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  #113  
Old 06-13-2020, 07:36 AM
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The attack on the statue of King Baudouin was shameful and an utter disgrace ,this is wanton destruction.

https://www.euronews.com/2020/06/12/...with-red-paint
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  #114  
Old 06-13-2020, 09:46 AM
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Is the court not perhaps considering that this might have been averted with the most minimal effort and apology?

"Yes, we're taking the statues [of the thoroughly despicable mass murderer] down. We apologize for not doing it sooner."

That's really all that needs to be said right now. Despite his less-than-minimal credibility, things like Laurent opening his mouth help nothing.
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  #115  
Old 06-13-2020, 09:56 AM
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It's not about King Baudouin. It's open season on statues, without regards to history.
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  #116  
Old 06-13-2020, 11:35 AM
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It's not about King Baudouin. It's open season on statues, without regards to history.
If European history is now to be seen solely from a contemporary perspective, then I am afraid there won”t be many monuments left standing.

Of course history also tells us how “ cultural revolutions” end and it is not pretty.
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  #117  
Old 06-13-2020, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Mbruno View Post
If European history is now to be seen solely from a contemporary perspective, then I am afraid there won”t be many monuments left standing.

Of course history also tells us how “ cultural revolutions” end and it is not pretty.
Well, the past wasn't pretty and neither is honoring those who committed the atrocities with statues. IMO this cultural revolution is long overdue.

But as you've pointed out before, where do we draw the line? I'm fine with removing some statues but not others. So what criteria should be used and how do we come up with a consensus? Government officials need to address this issue now and not repeat Bristol's mistake by taking 20 years to do it.
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  #118  
Old 06-13-2020, 12:55 PM
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The news of Leopold's pedophilia isn't really "news", either. It was being discussed in 2012. https://youtu.be/eOLz_qHE69Q

Think of how horrifying this would be without the DRC.
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  #119  
Old 06-13-2020, 01:32 PM
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So what criteria should be used and how do we come up with a consensus?
That's the rub of course. I'm not sure consensus is even possible when some people have such extreme ideological viewpoints.

Mods - I don't want to derail the thread so please move if necessary.
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  #120  
Old 06-13-2020, 01:36 PM
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Are there many streets/squares/civic offices named after Leopold II in Belgium?
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