Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death

Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death describes how King Leopold II of Belgium turned Congo into its private colony between 1885 and 1908.
Under his control, Congo became a gulag labor camp of shocking brutality. Leopold posed as the protector of Africans fleeing Arab slave-traders but, in reality, he carved out an empire based on terror to harvest rubber.
Families were held as hostages, starving to death if the men failed to produce enough wild rubber. Children’s hands were chopped off as punishment for late deliveries.
The Belgian government has denounced this documentary as a “tendentious diatribe” for depicting King Leopold II as the moral forebear of Adolf Hitler, responsible for the death of 10 million people in his rapacious exploitation of the Congo.
Yet, it is agreed today that the first Human Rights movement was spurred by what happened in the Congo.
What the Belgians did in the Congo was forgotten for over 50 years. It’s a shocking, astonishing story. In a way, it’s a horrifying prelude in European history to the Holocaust.
Between 1870 and 1900 the Congo was pillaged – it was valuable as a source of rubber. King Leopold created his own colony in the Congo over which he ruled unchecked.
Peter Bate’s film is a marvelously made reconstruction of those days – it features footage of Congolese villages and explains with actors exactly what happened.
It’s really a memorable film – the painfulness of what is described is counterbalanced by the great skill in the storytelling.

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  • http://documentaryheaven daniel

    I’ve never known this. I knew the Congo had it’s problems, but was unaware of Belgium’s murderous rule in the past. It’s always despressing to find yet another supposedly civilized nation treating human beings in a savage and mericless way. King Leopold II’s Congo is now worthy of a position amongst the likes of Hitler’s concentration camps, Stalin’s Gulog and Jim Crow’s lynching mobs, just to name a few. But what is more disgraceful is Belguim’s denial of the whole thing. To deny is to share in the King’s guilt.

  • Liseyas

    Prove, the most painful kind. The so called civilized world´s cruelty and genocide will continue if you don´t prepare and  equipped with the better weapon , to protect yourself.
    That equipment and weapon is knowledge nothing else.

  • Mikha’el X

    Its always a devil who rapes a nation, slaughters and enslaves the people of said nation, creates judas’ to sell out their own people with undeniable offers and then blames the victims of this inhumane corruption for their ongoing condition as they manipulate the history behind their own collective actions…..Knowledge is the key but as they manipulate the history and exaggerate their actions as justified; many people will unfortunately remain open far enough for “his” story to repeat itself….