The Democratic Republic of Congo celebrates its 60th anniversary for its independence on Tuesday. France 24 invites you to return to this painful side of the country’s history, while the King of Belgians presented Tuesday for the first time “his deepest regret for the wounds” spent during the Belgian colonial period in Congo.
At 11:30 am on June 30, 1960 when the independence of the Democratic Republic of Congo is proclaimed. This huge territory, which became a Belgian colony in 1908, will be the site of 75 years of colonization on Tuesday. Then, in 1885, the King of Belgians had chosen to make it his private property.
“We have known ironies, insults”
During the official ceremony marking Congo’s birth in 1960, King Baudoin 1your Condemns the benefits of colonization. Frightening response from the Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba: “We have known the irony, the insults, the kind that we had to go through morning, noon and evening (…). Our wounds are still too fresh for us to drive them out of our memory”. A landmark speech.
On the occasion of 60e This year’s anniversary, the King of the Belgians presented Philippe for the first time “his deepest remorse for the wounds” inflicted during the Belgian colonial period in the Congo. “At the time of the independent state of the Congo (when this African territory belonged to the ex-King Leopold II, note), acts of violence and cruelty were committed, which still burdens our collective memory,” he wrote in a letter to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Félix Tshisekedi, on Tuesday .
For decades, the exploitation in the Congo of rubber, then mines, will enrich the Belgians. Fertilized and deadly exploitation, the population fell from 20 million people in 1885 to 10 million in 1908.
“Suffering and humiliation”
“The colonial period that followed (the one in the Belgian Congo from 1908 to 1960) also caused suffering and humiliation,” he added. The Belgians did everything to avoid the constitution of a Congolese elite during the colonization. The result was cruel. When independence came, very few Congolese were ready to lead the administration.
From July 5 riots broke out and two provinces were separated. Patrice Lumumba was arrested in December 1960, before being executed a month later. He was seen as pro-Soviet, and many historians see the CIA’s and Belgium’s hand behind his elimination.
Precipitated and poorly planned independence
Many Congolese today believe that independence happened in a hurry and was poorly planned by the Belgians. Fragile grounds that have never allowed the construction of a strong, democratic and effective state.
Sixty years later, Congo is still paying the price: the country has countless natural resources, and yet the majority of the population lives in extreme poverty.