King Philippe of Belgium was on his first official visit to Republic of Congo and was warmly received by Congo’s president Félix Tshisekedi. Belgium had a horrific and grievous history with Congo. Belgium colonial past with Congo was stepped in human right abuse that was almost akin to United Sates chattel slavery. The savagery, cruelty and resources exploitation was out of this world. Belgium evil colonial disaster in Congo was equal to none was championed by then Belgium’s King Leopold II.
“Belgium’s King Leopold II took power of Congo in 1885, when European leaders carved up Africa into imperial holdings. The king was given personal control over a swath of land he called the Congo Free State. Some 10 million Congolese died from violence, famine and disease under Leopold’s direct rule, according to some estimates, and gruesome accounts emerged of the dismemberment of children in villages that did not produce enough rubber to satisfy their colonial overlords. Leopold’s rule was so bloody that it drew condemnation from other European leaders, and the government of Belgium later took over administration of the colony.”
Philippe accompanied by his wife, Queen Mathilde on the African trip was regretful of Belgium past colonial abuse to Congo but was short of apology. He said, “On the occasion of my first trip to Congo, right here, in front of the Congolese people and those who still suffer today, I wish to reaffirm my deepest regrets for those wounds of the past.”
“By some estimates, killings, famine and disease killed up to 10 million Congolese during just the first 23 years of Belgium’s rule from 1885 to 1960, when King Leopold II ruled the Congo Free State as a personal fiefdom. Villages that missed rubber collection quotas were notoriously made to provide severed hands instead.”
Philippe returned the traditional mask of the Suku people of Congo stolen by the colonialist. He said, “I am here to return to you this exceptional work in order to allow Congolese to discover and admire it,”