A note on Patrice Lumumba

Conservative estimates are that Leopold II murdered 8 million people in Congo. Barbaric punishments such as maming were commonplace during this Butcher of Congo’s rule. Also, much of Belgium’s current wealth derives from the crimes that dictator Leopold II committed in Congo. This did not encourage King Badouin, however, to be more humble or embarassed at the official ceremony that handed over independence to Congo on 30 June, 1960. Instead, Badouin praised Leopold II for ‘civilising’ Congo: “The independence of the Congo is the crowning of the work conceived by the genius of King Leopold II undertaken by him with firm courage, and continued by Belgium with perseverance (…) For eighty years Belgium has sent your land the best of her sons (…) pioneers who deserve admiration from us and acknowledgement from you.” However, the newly elected Prime Minister of independent Congo, Patrice Lumumba, was also present. And he was having none of it. While other Congolese officials were applauding Badouin’s speech, Lumumba stood up and gave an unabated response: “For this independence of the Congo (…) no Congolese worthy of the name will ever be able to forget that it was by fighting that it has been won, a day-to-day fight, an ardent and idealistic fight, a fight in which we were spared neither privation nor suffering, and for which we gave our strength and our blood.”

Zihni Özdil in A note on Patrice Lumumba (zihniozdil.info)