Take a closer look at this man. Do you recognize him?
Most of us don't know him.
And this is not okay. He is King Leopold II of Belgium who could easily be compared to dictators such as Hitler or Mussolini as he killed over 10 million people in the Congo.
The history starts with his “ownership” of Congo during his reign as the constitutional monarch of Belgium. After several failed colonial attempts in Asia and Africa, Congo had the unlucky faith to be his settle zone. He “bought” it and enslaved its people, turning the entire country into his own personal slavery kingdom. He named his business transactions “philanthropic” and “scientific” attempts under the banner of the International African Society. He used their enslaved labor to extract Congolese resources and services. His reign was enforced through work camps, body mutilations, executions, torture, and his own private army.
Sadly, school hushes up this gloomy piece of history and as a result most of us don't have a clue about the atrocities this man committed. Also, media never refer to his name. Really why? Maybe it's the fact that he’s part of a long history of colonialism, imperialism, slavery and genocide in Africa that touches so many sensitive and "taboo" subjects and conflicts the dominant society system and how it was originally built through the wealth and pain of other people.
Mark Twain himself wrote a satire about Leopold called “King Leopold’s soliloquy; a defense of his Congo rule“, where he mocked the King’s defense of his reign of terror, largely through Leopold’s own words. It’s 49 pages long. Mark Twain is a popular author for American public schools. But like most political authors, they are taught some of their least political writings or read them without learning why the author wrote them. We can read about Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, but King Leopold’s Soliloquy isn’t on the reading list. This isn’t by accident. Reading lists are created by special boards of education in order to guide students into specific directions. And the proof lies to the deep-rooted false belief of the public opinion that Africans have no history.
There’s a Wikipedia page called “Genocides in History”. The Congolese Genocide isn’t included. The Congo is mentioned though, in a dark chapter of his history , the now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo, during the Second Congo War, both sides of the multinational conflict hunted down Bambenga and ate them. For sure, cannibalism and slavery are horrendous acts that history couldn't overlook but respectively it's also hideous killing 10 to 15 million Conglese. So, why shouldn't talk about this? It's foolish, of course, for us to believe that Leopold acted alone. He had much tolerance or even support from the West. And that's probably the reason why so few know of him. He served imperialism, his victims couldn't speak for themselves and finally his name and actions were hidden into the shadowy corners of history.