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King leopold's destruction of the Congo followed the themes of dehumanization and greed - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: King Leopold Some facets of history tend to make their way to a general knowledge that will certainly live for some time. Around 100 year ago, a great crime against humanity happened during World War II during which a European icon caused the deaths of millions of people…
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King leopolds destruction of the Congo followed the themes of dehumanization and greed
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"King leopold's destruction of the Congo followed the themes of dehumanization and greed"

Download file to see previous pages Some very land mark issues of the world seem to fade from memory and become invisible to powers that be. The Congo story is a good example of such. The rule was characterized by exploitation of Africa. Hochschild notes, “There is no trade going on here. Little or nothing is being exchanged for the rubber and ivory. ” 1 The colonization of Africa had elicited mixed results. The prominent impact was the exploitation. Davidson points out that, “On one side, the colonial systems had continually drained Africa of the wealth produced by African labor, land, and natural resources.”2 Twain says, “Rape was routine, but so was the mutilation of the male and female genitalia in the presence of family members”3. Adam Hochschild captures this very well in his book King Leopolds’s Ghost. Belgium's King Leopold II and his ownership of the Congo from the late 1800 until after the turn of the 20th century is a perfect example of bad leadership and governance. Hochschild asserts, “... the Congo Free State, as it is then called, the huge territory in central Africa that is the world’s only colony claimed by one man”4. He managed the Congo as his own property; this was at a time when the Congo was arguably one of the biggest colonies in Africa. Through lies, crafty political manipulations, tricks and simple ignored activities, the monarch who wanted to rule more than small Belgium, found himself ruling a colony which was to be a good example of how not to run a country. It is stated, “Leopold formed the ironically named Congo Free State and set in place a bureaucratic-sadistic operation to extract rubber and other raw materials”5. What was being experienced in Congo under his leadership was akin to slavery. Hochschild notes, “More than two hundred mass meetings to protest slave labor in the Congo would be held across the United States”6. King Leopold, a young king who could never have enough of anything. He continually exploited Africa, Congo in this case, to fulfill his desires. These activities were carried out using crude means backed by ludicrous paper work such as having village chiefs sign (or rather, "X") complicated, legalese-filled documents some of whose content they did not understand. The term "Association" was a term he used to confuse the African into believing that the contracts they were singing were for their own. This gave him an upper hand against the rest of the explorers especially the Arabs and Indians. The Belgian King Leopold capitalized on the image of the Congolese as being "in need of help" back in the late 1800s when he wanted to colonize the area. This idea carried the day because a conventionally-accepted perception at the time was that Africans had to be saved from each other and themselves though legislation and imposed measures of western civilization The exploitation of Congo by Leopold is one of the worst in history. It is recorded, “This is the story of that movement, of the savage crime that was the savage crime that was its target.” 7 Few Europeans could stand in Leopold’s way let alone the naive Africans. The public in their naivety, continued to praise the new machine gun created by Hiram Maxim. The world at the time was not any different from Leopold's vision, through his exemplary political maneuverings, Leopold succeeded in convincing the United States to recognize his Congo with little if any investigation. The impact in terms of economic gains on Africa was not one sided. Davidson notes, “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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