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IAFS 1000 The Congo. Le Grand Kalle, “Independence ChaCha”. Democratic Republic of the Congo Map. Mobutu Sese Seko. Heart of Darkness. Marlow on Leopold’s colonialism:

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iafs 1000 the congo

IAFS 1000The Congo

Le Grand Kalle, “Independence ChaCha”

heart of darkness
Heart of Darkness
  • Marlow on Leopold’s colonialism:

“The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much.”

heart of darkness4
Heart of Darkness
  • Futile violence:

“In the empty immensity of earth, sky, and water, there she was, incomprehensible, firing into a continent.”

heart of darkness5
Heart of Darkness
  • Kurtz:
    • Report to the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs: “exterminate all the brutes”
    • Marlow’s assessment: “His was an impenetrable darkness”
    • Last words: “The horror! The horror!”
historical reality in the congo free state
Historical Reality in the Congo Free State
  • Rubber trade
  • Hostage-taking
  • Collection of hands: ‘To gather rubber in the district . . . one must cut off hands, noses and ears’
the congo free state
The Congo Free State
  • International protest
  • 1908: Belgian government takeover
  • “Listen to the yell of Leopold's ghostBurning in Hell for his hand-maimed host.Hear how the demons chuckle and yellCutting his hands off, down in Hell.”

(Vachel Lindsay, “The Congo”)

belgian congo worst case decolonization
Belgian Congo:Worst-Case Decolonization
  • Few educational or political opportunities
  • 1956-60: Independence movement
  • Nationalist leaders:

—Lumumba (Congolese National Movement)

—Kasavubu (Alliance of Kongo People)

  • June 30, 1960: Independence
  • President: Kasavubu
  • Prime Minister: Lumumba

—“Tears, Fire, and Blood” speech

independent congo
Independent Congo
  • Sept 14, 1960: military coup led by Joseph Mobutu
  • Jan 1961: Lumumba murdered
  • Feb 1961: Kasavubu restored to power
independent congo11
Independent Congo
  • 1965: Mobutu coup

—Congo renamed Zaire

—kleptocracy: rule by thieves

  • 1994: Rwandan-aided rebellion
independent congo12
Independent Congo
  • 1997: Kabila president

—Zaire renamed Congo

  • 1998: new rebellion as “Africa’s world war”
  • 2001: Kabila assassinated

—succeeded by his son, Joseph Kabila

recent events in congo
Recent Events in Congo
  • 2003: Peace accord, transitional govt
  • 2006 elections

—Pres. Joseph Kabila

—VP Jean-Pierre Bemba

  • 2008-2010: violence in the east
  • Comparative decolonization
  • Colonialism’s role in Congolese instability
  • Art as a political tool