King Leopold II of Belgium was born exactly 183 years ago on April 9, 1835. He was a racist monster. He was a racist savage. He was a racist devil. He was the worst sadistically racist genocidal maniac in modern world history.
During his colonizing reign, he murdered an estimated 15 million African women, men, and children in the Congo (equaling about half the population), which is more than twice the six million Jews murdered by Hitler in Germany.
To paraphrase Marc Antony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “I come to condemn Leopold, not to praise him.” And the only reason this condemnation will not be filled with four letter words — as well as a particular twelve letter word — is I’m writing this column in a dignified, respectable, and professional publication known as The Philadelphia Tribune. But catch me on social media and you’ll read my uncensored critique of Leopold. In the meantime, I’ll simply write the following.
For about 90,000 years, the Bantu people lived alone — i.e., with no white folks — in Central Africa, a region that, due to its beautiful weather, colorful foliage, clear rivers, and tropical scenery, has been described as heaven on earth. But then the devil arrived.
In 1885, Leopold and his army of demons arrived. And for 23 years until 1908, he hellishly colonized the Congo (now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo and previously known as Zaire) and turned it into his private multi-billion corporation. In the process, he viciously forced the indigenous people to produce massive daily quotas of ivory and later much more massive daily quotas of rubber. If they failed to reach their nearly impossible quotas, he’d have their hands, arms, and/or legs chopped off, have them raped, and/or have them murdered.
He had “limb huts” constructed throughout the country to collect and publicly display severed body parts to systemically terrorize the Black populace. He had “rape huts” constructed to systemically sexually brutalize the Black women and girls.
Things were so horrific that they shocked the conscience of many whites during that time. For example, John Harris, an English missionary, wrote, “I have just returned from a journey... (in the Congo). The abject misery and utter abandon is... indescribable....” Professor Jean Stengers, a Belgian historian who wrote profusely about that period, described the rubber-producing areas of the Congo as areas transformed into “veritable hells-on-earth.”
Mark Twain sardonically ridiculed the Belgian monarch in King Leopold’s Soliloquy. Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes, in 1909 penned The Crime of The Congo to expose Leopold’s brutality as a crime against humanity. Joseph Conrad’s 1902 book, Heart of Darkness, was a fictional but accurate account of Leopold’s barbaric reign and that book was later made into a movie, Apocalypse Now starring Marlon Brando.
But the greatest denunciation came from Roger Casement, an Irish nationalist and Easter Rising leader, who (surprisingly) wrote Britain’s official document regarding Leopold’s wickedness in the Congo. That document, dated 1903, is entitled The Casement Report and it goes into gory detail. It’s both a must read and a disturbing read. At your own risk, log onto https://archive.org/stream/CasementReport/CasementReportSmall_djvu.txt.
Although Leopold was clearly the head monster, he had several demonic lieutenants whose sadism was horrific. They included, among several others, Leon Rom, known as “The Devil,” Rene de Permentier, known as “The Butcher of Congo,” and Leon Fievez, known as “The Head Collector” who often boasted of having “a hundred heads cut off.”
Leopold and his demons weren’t alone in their devilment. They were enabled by the active support of 14 European nations along with the United States when they co-signed his wickedness during the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 where Africa was sliced up like a pie by greedy white countries.
It was because Europe and America banded together to gang-rape and mass-murder their African colonies that the relatively small country of Belgium was able to dominate the Congo, which covered an expanse of 910,000 square miles and was a whopping 76 times larger in land mass.
Unfortunately, Italian anarchist Gennaro Rubino couldn’t shoot straight and missed each of the three shots he fired on Nov. 15, 1902 when he tried to assassinate Leopold. Dammit. But the Creator caught up with the devil seven years later on Dec. 17, 1909 and sent him back to hell.
Historian Adam Hochschild disclosed that when international outrage began to mount, due in large part to The Casement Report, Leopold was pressured to leave the Congo and give up his authority over it. Shortly thereafter, “the furnaces near... (his) palace burned for eight days, turning most of the Congo State records to ash and smoke.” This was followed by Leopold’s comment that “I will give them ‘my’ Congo, but they have no right to know what I did there.”
Yes, they do. Thanks to The Philadelphia Tribune.