King Leopold's Ghost
Thursday, June 21st, in Cambridge [please download & distribute flyer]
A two-hour journey into the real-life heart of darkness. For 126 years, the US and Belgium have played key roles in shaping Congo's destiny.
The modern history of the Congo is a terrifying story of appalling brutality. Beginning with King Leopold II of Belgium's avaricious rape of the country and tracing the impact of this horrifying and often-forgotten crime through to the modern day, this immensely shocking doc is a heart-rending tale of a rich country destroyed by rapacious hands. European conquerors were determined to plunder this country of its natural resources, in the process making slaves of the indigenous population.
The history of Congo's exploitation begins with the explorer Stanley. He, on behalf of Leopold, exchanged bales of cloth with the natives for signatures on land rights documents they did not understand. Yet Stanley and Leopold managed to hide their exploitation and the disturbingly sadistic methods they used to enforce slave labour behind a stage-managed smokescreen of apparent innocence.
As Adam Hochschild, author of the novel 'King Leopold's Ghost' points out, "Leopold was a master of spin control". What his spin hid was unspeakable. "The right hands, I counted 81 in all", William Henry Sheppard reported, after seeing the hands of Africans that had been severed for not meeting rubber quotas. This government-sanctioned violence was all carried out with one aim, to make profit. Joseph Conrad described what he saw in the Congo as, "the vilest scramble for loot that ever disfigured the history of human conscience".
By the time Leopold came to relinquish his control of the Congo the population had been halved [an estimated 10 million slaughtered] and its society destroyed. His predatory exploitation of the colony had started a trend that has lasted up until the modern day, setting an example for the extraction of wealth that has continued through the generations.
In 1960 the Congo gained independence and the rise of a young and principled politician, Patrice Lumumba, brought some hope for a better future. But hope was not to last long. Due to colonial interests in the Congio's natural resources, an independent politician like Lumumba was a threat. The combined machinations of the Americans, the Belgians and the United Nations resulted in Lumumba's capture, torture and murder. Joseph Mobutu, the [CIA front] man who would remain in power for the next 38 years, carried out the coup. During his rule he maintained close links with the US who continued - and continues - to benefit from the Congo's natural resources as their stooge Mobutu was rewarded with vast wealth.
Mobutu was finally deposed but King Leopold's ghost continues to ravage the rich Congo lands as various foreign-sponsored "ragtag armies marauded the countryside". This vivid documentary offers an engrossing insight into the grim colonial and US legacy that still haunts the Congo today. [See Congo: Chaos By Design]
"Lumumba's assassination is the most important assassination of the 20th century" ~ Ludo De Witte, the Belgian author of The Assassination of Lumumba
"It is the function of the CIA to keep the world unstable, and to propagandize and teach the American people to hate, so we will let the Establishment spend any amount of money on arms." ~John Stockwell, former CIA official and author
243 Broadway, Cambridge - corner of Broadway and Windsor,
entrance on Windsor
Please join us for a stimulating night out; bring your friends!
free film, free refreshments, & free door prizes.
[donations are accepted]
"You can't legislate good will - that comes through education." ~ Malcolm X
UPandOUT film series - see rule19.org/videos
Why should YOU care? It's YOUR money that pays for US/Israeli wars - on Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Palestine, Libya. Syria, Iran, So America, etc etc - for billionaire bailouts, for ever more ubiquitous US prisons, for the loss of liberty and civil rights...