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Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by KISANTILITEDI, Jan 20, 2011.

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    Patrice Lumumba: the most important assassination of the 20th century

    The US-sponsored plot to kill Patrice Lumumba, the hero of Congolese independence, took place 50 years ago today



    [​IMG] Patrice Lumumba became the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1960, and was killed in 1961. Photograph: EPA Patrice Lumumba, the first legally elected prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was assassinated 50 years ago today, on 17 January, 1961. This heinous crime was a culmination of two inter-related assassination plots by American and Belgian governments, which used Congolese accomplices and a Belgian execution squad to carry out the deed.
    Ludo De Witte, the Belgian author of the best book on this crime, qualifies it as "the most important assassination of the 20th century". The assassination's historical importance lies in a multitude of factors, the most pertinent being the global context in which it took place, its impact on Congolese politics since then and Lumumba's overall legacy as a nationalist leader.
    For 126 years, the US and Belgium have played key roles in shaping Congo's destiny. In April 1884, seven months before the Berlin Congress, the US became the first country in the world to recognise the claims of King Leopold II of the Belgians to the territories of the Congo Basin.
    When the atrocities related to brutal economic exploitation in Leopold's Congo Free State resulted in millions of fatalities, the US joined other world powers to force Belgium to take over the country as a regular colony. And it was during the colonial period that the US acquired a strategic stake in the enormous natural wealth of the Congo, following its use of the uranium from Congolese mines to manufacture the first atomic weapons, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.
    With the outbreak of the cold war, it was inevitable that the US and its western allies would not be prepared to let Africans have effective control over strategic raw materials, lest these fall in the hands of their enemies in the Soviet camp. It is in this regard that Patrice Lumumba's determination to achieve genuine independence and to have full control over Congo's resources in order to utilise them to improve the living conditions of our people was perceived as a threat to western interests. To fight him, the US and Belgium used all the tools and resources at their disposal, including the United Nations secretariat, under Dag Hammarskjöld and Ralph Bunche, to buy the support of Lumumba's Congolese rivals , and hired killers.
    In Congo, Lumumba's assassination is rightly viewed as the country's original sin. Coming less than seven months after independence (on 30 June, 1960), it was a stumbling block to the ideals of national unity, economic independence and pan-African solidarity that Lumumba had championed, as well as a shattering blow to the hopes of millions of Congolese for freedom and material prosperity.
    The assassination took place at a time when the country had fallen under four separate governments: the central government in Kinshasa (then Léopoldville); a rival central government by Lumumba's followers in Kisangani (then Stanleyville); and the secessionist regimes in the mineral-rich provinces of Katanga and South Kasai. Since Lumumba's physical elimination had removed what the west saw as the major threat to their interests in the Congo, internationally-led efforts were undertaken to restore the authority of the moderate and pro-western regime in Kinshasa over the entire country. These resulted in ending the Lumumbist regime in Kisangani in August 1961, the secession of South Kasai in September 1962, and the Katanga secession in January 1963.
    No sooner did this unification process end than a radical social movement for a "second independence" arose to challenge the neocolonial state and its pro-western leadership. This mass movement of peasants, workers, the urban unemployed, students and lower civil servants found an eager leadership among Lumumba's lieutenants, most of whom had regrouped to establish a National Liberation Council (CNL) in October 1963 in Brazzaville, across the Congo river from Kinshasa. The strengths and weaknesses of this movement may serve as a way of gauging the overall legacy of Patrice Lumumba for Congo and Africa as a whole.
    The most positive aspect of this legacy was manifest in the selfless devotion of Pierre Mulele to radical change for purposes of meeting the deepest aspirations of the Congolese people for democracy and social progress. On the other hand, the CNL leadership, which included Christophe Gbenye and Laurent-Désiré Kabila, was more interested in power and its attendant privileges than in the people's welfare. This is Lumumbism in words rather than in deeds. As president three decades later, Laurent Kabila did little to move from words to deeds.
    More importantly, the greatest legacy that Lumumba left for Congo is the ideal of national unity. Recently, a Congolese radio station asked me whether the independence of South Sudan should be a matter of concern with respect to national unity in the Congo. I responded that since Patrice Lumumba has died for Congo's unity, our people will remain utterly steadfast in their defence of our national unity.
    • Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja is professor of African and Afro-American studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of The Congo from Leopold to Kabila: A People's History
    [​IMG] Posted by Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja Monday 17 January 2011 10.39 GMT guardian.co.uk

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    • [​IMG] Senesino 17 January 2011 11:33AM

      Russia continues to have a University in Moscow named after this victim of yankee imperialist thuggery.


    • [​IMG] smuglyfrombrazil 17 January 2011 11:35AM

      Lumumba... yet another victim of the US's long quest for replacing genuine people with their own SOBs and dragging freedom and justice back a few decades for their benefit and at the expense of generations.
      I look forwards to the day the bully gets bullied.


    • [​IMG] KhusroK 17 January 2011 11:55AM

      It would seem that even after 50 years the US has learnt nothing and forgotten nothing


    • [​IMG] cjwells 17 January 2011 12:03PM

      Bet the Yanks won't declare a public holiday on this guy's birthday... Amazing how history and what we're told is important always depends on the victor. Wonderful hypocrisy; I mean, mudering this guy really stopped the Soviets' nuclear program in its tracks...


    • [​IMG] sutski123 17 January 2011 12:07PM

      Here here @Smuglydobrazil. A very sad tale indeed.
      P.S As a long serving barman, I always wondered where the name for Hot chocolate and rum and cream (a Lumumba) came from......
      I will now always toast to the hopefully rapid and spectacular downfall of the murderers every time I have a Lumumba.


    • [​IMG] Kritik 17 January 2011 12:08PM

      Thanks to the Americans and Belgians a decent man was killed and replaced with a thug like Mobuto whose legacy of pillage and plunder has become the way of politics in the Congo for the assassinated despot Laurent Kabila & the present US lackey, Joseph Kabila.


    • [​IMG] barelife 17 January 2011 12:26PM

      "PovertyMatters Blog - In partnership with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation" -- I had to laugh at that framing the article. Interesting piece, nonetheless.


    • [​IMG] sweetas23 17 January 2011 12:44PM

      Africa ... in fact the DRC may never recover from the murder of the great man...
      Patrice Lumumba R.I.P


    • [​IMG] DThornton68 17 January 2011 12:56PM

      Nice piece. We should never forget the US imperialist atrocities that have taken place over the last 50 years. WHat happened to the great American dream, eh?


    • [​IMG] GiuseppeH 17 January 2011 1:01PM

      One of the great tragedies of the 20th Century, and one that spurned even greater tragedy.


    • [​IMG] Finisterre 17 January 2011 1:40PM

      It's amazing and terrible how a relatively small group of dour, paranoid men could rely on 'game theory', and their own inability to imagine any other mindset than their own grasping insecurity, to destabilise so much of the world.
      Riane Eisler wrote a book about the 'dominator model' of organising society and how, after violently overthrowing the prehistoric 'partnership model' societies, it has continued to strangle any prospect of unity and peace for centuries. So much so that our definition of power is almost instinctively 'power over' rather than 'responsibility for'. The deaths of Lumumba and Salvador Allende (among others), and the lives of Hitler and Stalin, and the American Way: they're all connected by the false need to dominate and destroy rather than nurture, create and share. It doesn't have to be this way, but we've stopped being able to see that.


    • [​IMG] osinugao 17 January 2011 1:50PM

      The fact of the matter is that Africa has become worse for it since this tragic event. It is very sad that since Lumumba's death Congo and indeed the great Lakes Region have been very unstable. Indeed if we learn from the lessons of history could recent events in cote d'ivoire portend a bad omen. Only time will tell.


    • [​IMG] wincentiveman 17 January 2011 2:45PM

      This article romanticizes its way past some important facts that should make Lumumba less of a folk hero and focus responsibility for his fate on Belgium, not the US. Lumumba was an ill-educated opportunist who plunged his country into civil war. He boasted 4 years of elementary school and one year training as a postal clerk. Fearing a similar fate to the French in Algeria, the Belgians hastily packed their bags after years of rape, plunder and enslavement of the Congo. Trouble began when Congolese soldiers under Belgian command mutinied. Belgian troops attemped to restore order, but only provoked the march to civil war. Lumumba was impetuous, dictatorial and verging on madness. He refused to negotiate with western diplomats at the highest levels. His invitation to the Soviets to provide aid was opportunistic and was met by Russian Cold War enthusiasm to win a foothold in Africa as in Cuba. Che Guevara joined the fight with 120 Cubans but came to learn that Lumumba's army was a "parasite" army incapable of battle, but devastatingly cruel to civilians who they plundered. Che gave up in disgust. Lumumba was beaten and shot to death under orders of Tshombe by Katangese soldiers supervised by Belgian officers in the presence of Verscheure, a Belgian police commissioner. Fearful of discovery, the Belgians during the night dug up the corpse, hacked it to pieces, put the remains in sulphuric acid and ground the bones and teeth to prevent identification. In 2001 a Belgian govt. inquiry formally admitted Belgium's "share of responsibility".


    • [​IMG] Thumbjack 17 January 2011 3:47PM

      Excellent summary by Nzongola-Ntalaja of the Lumumba assassination, its historical context and its legacy.
      It is reassuring to see that 50 years of distortion and smear have not even remotely obscured the facts of the case (even though some are still clearly under the influence...ahem, wincentiveman).


    • [​IMG] DuncanTarrant 17 January 2011 6:05PM

      I am an MK (missionaries' kid) who was born in western Congo, in a town called Rethy. With the so called 'civil war' in the early nineties my family and I became refugees in uganda, just across the border from where we were living in Arua (Lugbara /West Nile province). I was only 3 and could not have understood what was going on. I distinctively remember seeing what I thought were Fireworks, but evidently must have been some kind of explosive weaponry...
      Anyway as you can clearly understand, as I have grown older, I have become increasingly more and more interested in the history of my country of birth. I would more than willingly have dual nationality (congolese/british) if it weren't for the sheer amount of corruption/paperwork/bribery that i would have to go through to get this processed, (not to mention the possibility of national service in the congolese army).
      Anyway I'm rambling, my point is that as far as I can see, the assassination of Lumumba, brutal as it was lead the way for full scale African instability. Yes Lumumba was not the most educated man, but he was a gifted orator. He stood for the people, and he understood them, because he was one of them. Not like we have now, where the ruling classes are rich politicians. Who often don't seek social reform, because they benefit from an oppressive system of governing, even here in the UK, I doubt that politicians will bring about a robin hood tax and banking reform or tighten up on tax evasion because they benefit from not doing so...
      Any way in response to comments about che geuvara's exploits in congo, he came in 1965. 4 years after Lumumba died, and spent his 7 months fighting with Laurent Kabila against well trained mercenaries. Firstly, of course these untrained peasants stood no chance against mercenaries and secondly Laurent Kabila is one of those who only ever talked the talk, and never walked the walk in terms of being for the people.
      So please don't smear Lumumba's name. He would not have advocating the parasite tactics used by Kabila's armies.
      Also Lumumba was never really a communist. He played his cards right on high stakes, and the Americans cheated him of his prize. The bid to communists was clearly a bluff to try and win some bargaining power over the Americans. Lumumba could see that he was caught in a power struggle for resources, but also that the Americans and Belgians were trying to make him their puppet. To avoid this he played the communism card but he played it as a show of his independance, not as a serious bid for Russia to come to congo. Unfortunately the American's started ****ting themselves and well now this 'maniac' couldn't be left to his own devices if the west were serious about national security.
      Ridiculous, because the assassination of Lumumba and the introduction of Mobutu lead to the metaphorical necrocracy. (The people were powerless and lead by an inept and abusive government which slowly leads to the deterioration and effective death of the country.)
      I think that the saddest thing about this story is that it set the standard for the rest of African politics. It said that it was OK governments to mess with the politics in Africa in order to gain access to resources and domination in that country with little concern for the welfare of the people and the consequences of introducing a dictatorship. Uganda, Kenya, Congo, Algeria, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, The Ivory Coast, South Africa and the list goes on...
      I am disgusted every time I think about it.



    • [​IMG] maiaH 17 January 2011 6:20PM

      I remember reading in Le Monde that the French were organising a massacre of tribal peoples somewhere in africa by arming the 'government' side and claiming there was a rebellion, having signed a deal to split the oil the tribes lived on, a few years back. And iraq of course, although there was a rival theory that the usa were after a permanent military base not oil.


    • [​IMG] Thumbjack 17 January 2011 7:15PM

      ...I think that the saddest thing about this story is that it set the standard for the rest of African politics. It said that it was OK governments to mess with the politics in Africa in order to gain access to resources and domination in that country with little concern for the welfare of the people and the consequences of introducing a dictatorship. Uganda, Kenya, Congo, Algeria, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, The Ivory Coast, South Africa and the list goes on...
      I am disgusted every time I think about it...
      An excellent post, DuncanTarrant.
      And, one might add, the complicity of USA and particularly France in the '95 massacre of the Rwanda Tutsi.


    • [​IMG] Sabstance 17 January 2011 7:50PM

      This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.


    • [​IMG] Thumbjack 17 January 2011 8:07PM

      Interesting side-note: for those following events in SWA-Namibia in the eighties, it was a shock to find General Dewan Prem Chand appointed as force commander of UNTAG, the UN transitional assistance group (peace-keeping, monitoring).
      This was the same Prem Chand who had commanded UN operations on the ground in the Congo during those crucial months when the UN first rebuffed Lumumba's appeals for intervention against the massive arms build-up by USA and Belgium in Katanga (the rebuffal triggered Lumumba's appeal to the Soviets for help) and then, when supposedly protecting PL, connived in his betrayal to the Belgian mercenaries and Tshombe's rebels.
      When Prem Chand was designated for Namibia during the (itself somewhat tainted) Martti Ahtisaari commission, the role of the UN (and Prem Chand) in the betrayal of Lumumba was known full well.


    • [​IMG] Finisterre 17 January 2011 8:12PM

      An excellent post, DuncanTarrant.
      Seconded, that was fascinating and well-informed. Thanks for typing it all out!
      Incidentally, DT, I read The Poisonwood Bible recently, having seen rave reviews of it. I enjoyed the Africa-related detail more than the dysfunctional Price family, but it was a good read. Have you read it? Did it echo any of your experience? (I hope mostly not!)


    • [​IMG] Sulaak 17 January 2011 8:50PM

      wincentiveman
      17 January 2011 2:45PM
      This article romanticizes its way past some important facts that should make Lumumba less of a folk hero and focus responsibility for his fate on Belgium, not the US. Lumumba was an ill-educated opportunist who plunged his country into civil war. He boasted 4 years of elementary school and one year training as a postal clerk. Fearing a similar fate to the French in Algeria, the Belgians hastily packed their bags after years of rape, plunder and enslavement of the Congo. Trouble began when Congolese soldiers under Belgian command mutinied. Belgian troops attemped to restore order, but only provoked the march to civil war. Lumumba was impetuous, dictatorial and verging on madness. He refused to negotiate with western diplomats at the highest levels. His invitation to the Soviets to provide aid was opportunistic and was met by Russian Cold War enthusiasm to win a foothold in Africa as in Cuba. Che Guevara joined the fight with 120 Cubans but came to learn that Lumumba's army was a "parasite" army incapable of battle, but devastatingly cruel to civilians who they plundered. Che gave up in disgust. Lumumba was beaten and shot to death under orders of Tshombe by Katangese soldiers supervised by Belgian officers in the presence of Verscheure, a Belgian police commissioner. Fearful of discovery, the Belgians during the night dug up the corpse, hacked it to pieces, put the remains in sulphuric acid and ground the bones and teeth to prevent identification. In 2001 a Belgian govt. inquiry formally admitted Belgium's "share of responsibility".

      Get your facts right.
      1.Congo had only 6 university graduate in 1960 and Lumumba had a secondary education and was working a postal clerk. Black African were not allowed to hold management position.
      2. The Belgium officer cadre that dominated the Army refused to support the change of political power, this led to the revolt.
      3. When the rebellion started , Lumumba immediately flew to USA to meet Eisenhower the then US president who refuse to meet him. He was later advised by the American to invited the UN as peacekeeper ( I hope you recall their incompetence in Serbia, Lebanon, Paletine, Iraq and now CIV )
      4. Lumumba later visited the soviet Union when he realise that he would not get military support from the West.


    • [​IMG] Toyin 17 January 2011 10:22PM

      Thank you for marking this day.
      A few days ago was the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jrs birth, in a few days time it will also be anniversary of the assassination of the great Amilcar Cabral.
      Patrice Lumumba alongside Thomas Sankara, Kwame Nkrumah, Malcom X are just a few of the many great African leaders from a generation that were either assassinated or overthrown by western agents. Today they remain unceremoniously eradicated from eurocentric history books used in schools, in order to perpetuate a narrow disingenuous monologue about corrupt ‘Berlusconiesque’ or ‘Chiraqesque’ type African leaders.
      It was not always this way, it will not always be this way.
      In what is believed to be Lumumba’s last letter to his wife before he was assassinated he wrote;
      “My dear companion,
      I write you these words without knowing if they will reach you, when they will reach you, or if I will still be living when you read them. All during the length of my fight for the independence of my country, I have never doubted for a single instant the final triumph of the sacred cause to which my companions and myself have consecrated our lives. But what we wish for our country, its right to an honorable life, to a spotless dignity, to an independence without restrictions, Belgian colonialism and its Western allies-who have found direct and indirect support, deliberate and not deliberate among certain high officials of the United Nations, this organization in which we placed all our confidence when we called for their assistance-have not wished it.
      They have corrupted certain of our fellow countrymen, they have contributed to distorting the truth and our enemies, that they will rise up like a single person to say no to a degrading and shameful colonialism and to reassume their dignity under a pure sun.
      We are not alone. Africa, Asia, and free and liberated people from every corner of the world will always be found at the side of the Congolese. They will not abandon the light until the day comes when there are no more colonizers and their mercenaries in our country. To my children whom I leave and whom perhaps I will see no more, I wish that they be told that the future of the Congo is beautiful and that it expects for each Congolese, to accomplish the sacred task of reconstruction of our independence and our sovereignty; for without dignity there is no liberty, without justice there is no dignity, and without independence there are no free men.
      No brutality, mistreatment, or torture has ever forced me to ask for grace, for I prefer to die with my head high, my faith steadfast, and my confidence profound in the destiny of my country, rather than to live in submission and scorn of sacred principles. History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that Brussels, Paris, Washington or the United Nations will teach, but that which they will teach in the countries emancipated from colonialism and its puppets. Africa will write its own history, and it will be, to the north and to the south of the Sahara, a history of glory and dignity.
      Do not weep for me, my dear companion. I know that my country, which suffers so much, will know how to defend its independence and its liberty. Long live the Congo! Long live Africa!
      Patrice”

      He had a vision which Pan Africanists today still share.
      May the Ancestors guide and protect us. Ase


    • [​IMG] DuncanTarrant 17 January 2011 11:34PM

      Thank you for the feedback, sorry for any grammatical mistakes and tautologies that might be in my previous post. I had a reread and noticed a few, I hope they don't hamper the reading of my comment.
      In response to Thumbjack, yes it's true that the west were well and truly involved in the Rwandan massacres. But what's worse is the fact that Mobutu, the man the west brought into power allowed the Interahamwe (hutu rebels) into Congo, in fact many people suggest that he was involved in allowing many rebel groups to base themselves in the congolese jungles. This did nothing for relations between Congo and its neighbours, where these rebel groups came from. e.g. the LRA from Uganda, and the Interahamwe from Rwanda. In 1996 the ADFL ( Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire) gained large support from the tutsis in rwanda and the ugandan government because this helped them to get rid of these rebel groups.
      Yes, Finisterre, I have read The Poisonwood Bible, and found it thoroughly enjoyable. I myself have two older sisters who were both under 18 months old when my parents moved out to Congo. They were out there for 10 years from 88 to 98, and I can happily say that most of our experiences were very different to those of the Price Family. After all this was during the decline of the Mobutu regime, and 30-40 years on form the story told in poisonwood bible. Many of the references to the culture in Congo are very true, and would often have me nostalgic. Market day for example, or the way women would do just about everything, even the ones who didn't have legs, and the ridiculous amount of things they could balance on their heads...
      I used to be fluent in the tribal language and my eldest sister still is - Ki-lugbara. I hope one day to relearn it. We have visited several times since and I enjoyed each visit more than the last.
      Some key differences to note however is that we were based in a town literally on the congo-uganda border. This means we were a lot closer to 'civilisation' and no where near as cut off as the prices. We had much more help from the missionary service that my parents worked for -CMS. I have heard many stories from my parents about the hyperinflation of the currency in circulation at the end of Mobutu's time, and the effect of being so far away from Kinshasa- the capital when the new Zaire was brought in resulting in many of our friends becoming bankrupt because they could not change their old money in for the new in time. In fact even now there is a large section of eastern congo that uses Ugandan currency, after all the ugandan shilling is more stable and stronger than the new zaire.
      Obviously I have to remind you that as I was only 5 when we left Africa I don't remember in great detail my life in Africa, but I do remember things broadly, and I remember key people etc. and more importantly I feel like an african and wish to move back as soon as I can, in fact I have applied to SOAS to read Swahili.
      Anyway some other books that I would recommend are:
      The State of Africa- Martin Meredith
      The Shadow of the Sun: My African Life -Ryszard Kapuscinski
      Blood River - Tim Butcher Blood River by Tim Butcher ~ Published By Chatto & Windus
      In The Footsteps Of Mr Kurtz -Michela Wrong


    • [​IMG] Thumbjack 18 January 2011 4:16PM

      By one of those fortuitous confluences of history, Nelson Mandela's inauguration was taking place at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 10th May 1994, attended by many of the world's heads of state, including Mitterand.
      At the very moment that leaders were gathering in Pretoria, France was about to send military men and hardware, from a spearhead in Zaire, into Rwanda to repel the advance of the RPF, restore the collapsing Habyarimana loyalists and bolster the retreating Interehamwe.
      The genocide of Tutsis throughout the country had by then been proceeding unhindered for five weeks, with confused reports emerging, much hand-wringing in the world's press, and the USA, United Nations and other bodies obfuscating and procrastinating. The only effective opposition was happening through the advance of the RPF.
      France had long opposed the RPF-in-exile (francophone-geopolitics, a longstanding hatred of the less pliable Tutsis, other reasons) and had for years armed, trained lent its support to the Hutu-dominated government and security forces in Rwanda. (France's hatred for Kagame and the RPF persists to the present day.)
      It is my belief (here isn't the place to go into my reasons for saying this) that Mandela, on that day at the Union Buildings, quietly but directly confronted Mitterand over France's impending military interference and shamed him into agreeing to lay off and leave the RPF only to its business. If I remember, Kagame, not yet appointed president, was also attending Mandela's inauguration. At that time, RPF had a vital ally in the ANC, as well, of course, as in Tanzania and Uganda, to which they had long been exiled. In the chaos of events there, and probably with US tacit support, France would have got away with this and things would have turned out vilely different for that region.


    • [​IMG] Thumbjack 18 January 2011 4:29PM

      That should be: ...and leave the RPF alone to do its business...

      Toylin, thanks for posting that letter. Such a waste of a good men, but at least his influence lives on...
      DuncanTarrant, thanks for your further thoughts and recommendations. As for the desperate situation in Congo, let us hope that it doesn't take worse bloodbaths than Rwanda '94 to get all those governments, NGOs and UN agencies currently paying lip service to finding a resolution to get their heads and hearts sorted out and make some real and compassionate progress towards helping that troubled country. Such a troubled history...


    • [​IMG] jfjordan 18 January 2011 7:06PM

      Thanks to prof. Nzongola for reminding us of the history of the Congo both pre- as well as post-colonial and the role of the US in derailing the promise of the Congo. Lumumba was a great hope not only for the Congo but for much of Africa and the African diaspora.
      I am however always amazed at how our British and other western European colleagues seem to forget the role their governments played in the neo-colonial game. By all means be clear on the historical and contemporary role of the United States, and by all means make sure British, French and other NATO powers and their intelligence forces own up to their enabling complicity. Oftentimes while mouthing tacit support for post-colonial governments.


    • [​IMG] kantarakamara 19 January 2011 8:06AM

      wincentiveman
      Being prejudiced is one thing, but to deliberately concoct lies against a man who was selected for assassination, not because of anything he had actually done, but because of what he represented -- namely a Congolese nation that took its own decisions in its own interests -- betrays a mentality that is beyond comprehension.
      You could have checked up on the falsities you spew if you were interested in the truth. Instead, because of your mindset, you just came and disseminated false information -- as has been demonstrated above in such an admirably restrained manner by the poster, Sulaak .
      The trouble in the Congo in 1960 an inevitable disaster from beginning to end.The Belgian commander of the Force Publique, a soldier who did not subscribe to the hypocrisy manufactured in Brussels (whereby Belgians controlled every vital thing in the country yet it was pretended that the country was ruled by the Congolese) stupidly convened a meeting of soldiers in their barracks after the independence day parade and told them -- wrote on a blackboard actually to make his meaning unmistakable -- "[la situation] apres l'independance est la meme chose qu'avant l'independance." (the situation after indpendence is the same as before independence.)
      This incited an almost immediate MUTINY amongst the Congolese troops, who had swallowed the dream that they were going to take over Belgian posts, drive cars and live in bungalows like the Belgian officers. Have you ever witnessed a mutiny by armed troops?
      Eveyrthing disintegrated very very quickly. And the Belgians poured oil on the troubled waters by parachuting more soldiers in -- soldiers of that incredibly thick the Force Publique commander.
      The Congolese Government saw the invasion as a reimposition of Belgian rule. Lumumba appealed for outside help to get the Belgians out. He went to the Americans, but they were not about to upset a NATO MEMBER in favour of a "flaky" African leader. In the end, it was United Nations troops who were sent to restore order.
      But UN headquarters was under the control of the Americans (despite Dag Hammarskjoeld being Secretary-General) and they covertly supported Belgium's objectives. And Belgian policy was decided by Union Miniere du Haut Katanga and Socioete Generale.
      With capitalism in full charge, any attempt by Lumumba to strengthen his own hand by obtaining Soviet airplanes, or even the assistance of African countries like Ghana and the United Arab Republic, was not to be countenanced.
      So the Western countries (Britain had by now joined a conspiracy in New York, through Lord Lansdowne) mounted a two-track military/political attack on the Congo: in public, they supported the UN's peace-keeping efforts. But in private, they sabotaged any action by the UN in support of Lumumba. They secretlgit through to, through some of the commanders on the ground, who were used AGAINST the legitimate Primke Minister who invited the UN in, Patrice Lumumba. Once, Lumumba was prevented from boradcasting on his own radio station, guarded by UN troop On another, an ports weas closed when the UN learnt he wanted to fly to his stronghold.
      It is amazing that Lumumba, who was a former postal clerk "evolue", who had never held an executive position in his life, deid not go mad with frustration as he tried to disentange himself from all this.
      Meanwhile, money was poured in by the Belgians and the Americans to bribe his Congolese opponents to ease him out:. Kasavubu, Mobutu (a paid Belgian/CIA agent) and Moise Tshombe.
      Even so, Lumumba proved able, through his eloquence and the innate strength of his nationalist/patriotic position, to retain command of the Congolese Parliament. So Mobutu was paid to stage a coup.
      Lumumba still thrived. Finally, instructions went from from the top in Washington -- CIA Director Allen Dulles conveyed instructed the CIA station in the Congo that the physical elimination of Lumumba to prevent a "Communist takeover" of the Congo had been authorised.
      A poisoned toothpaste was sent but there was no opportunity to introduce it to Lumumba's bathroom. Then a rifle with telescopic sights was sent, plus an assassin called Gottlieb [aka "Joe from Paris".] Again, it could not be used.
      All this has been published: in the Church Commission (USA) reporet and De Witte's book. Both contain documents that were originally marked SECRET.
      And yet you come here to repeat the libels with which Belgfium and the USA tried to justify their murderous enterprise against one of Africa's most authentic leaders. The souls of the 5 million or so Congolese whose lives have been forfeited to the consequences of ruining the Congo politically over the past 50 years, will haunt you and your like for ever. If you don't believe me, go and read what can happen to you in Joseph Conrad's "The Heart of Darkness"


    • [​IMG] kantarakamara 19 January 2011 8:17AM

      I am sorry: my posting was messed up during editing it and I have to repost:
      wincentiveman
      Being prejudiced is one thing, but to deliberately concoct lies against a man who was selected for assassination, not because of anything he had actually done, but because of what he represented -- namely a Congolese nation that took its own decisions in its own interests -- betrays a mentality that is beyond comprehension.
      You could have checked up on the falsities you spew if you were interested in the truth. Instead, because of your mindset, you just came and disseminated false information -- as has been demonstrated above in such an admirably restrained manner by the poster, Sulaak .
      The trouble in the Congo in 1960 was an inevitable disaster from beginning to end.The Belgian commander of the Force Publique, a soldier who did not subscribe to the hypocrisy manufactured in Brussels (whereby Belgians controlled every vital thing in the country yet it was pretended that the country was ruled by the Congolese) stupidly convened a meeting of soldiers in their barracks after the independence day parade and told them -- wrote on a blackboard actually to make his meaning unmistakable -- "[la situation] apres l'independance est la meme chose qu'avant l'independance." (the situation after indpendence is the same as before independence.)
      This incited an almost immediate MUTINY amongst the Congolese troops, who had swallowed the dream that they were going to take over Belgian posts, drive cars and live in bungalows like the Belgian officers. Have you ever witnessed a mutiny by armed troops?
      Everything disintegrated very very quickly. And the Belgians poured oil on the troubled waters by parachuting more soldiers in -- soldiers like that incredibly thick Force Publique commander.
      The Congolese Government saw the invasion as a reimposition of Belgian rule. Lumumba appealed for outside help to get the Belgians out. He went to the Americans, but they were not about to upset a NATO MEMBER in favour of a "flaky" African leader. In the end, it was United Nations troops who were sent to restore order.
      But UN headquarters was under the control of the Americans (despite Dag Hammarskjoeld being Secretary-General) and they covertly supported Belgium's objectives. And Belgian policy was decided by Union Miniere du Haut Katanga and Societe Generale.
      With capitalism in full charge, any attempt by Lumumba to strengthen his own hand by obtaining Soviet airplanes, or even the assistance of African countries like Ghana and the United Arab Republic, was not to be countenanced.
      So the Western countries (Britain had by now joined a conspiracy in New York, through Lord Lansdowne) mounted a two-track military/political attack on the Congo: in public, they supported the UN's peace-keeping efforts. But in private, they sabotaged any action by the UN in support of Lumumba. They secretly got through to some of the commanders on the ground, who were used AGAINST the legitimate Primke Minister who invited the UN in, Patrice Lumumba. Once, Lumumba was prevented from boradcasting on his own radio station, guarded by UN troops. On another, an airport wes closed when the UN learnt he wanted to fly to his stronghold.
      It is amazing that Lumumba, who was a former postal clerk "evolue", who had never held an executive position in his life, did not go mad with frustration as he tried to disentange himself from all this.
      Meanwhile, money was poured in by the Belgians and the Americans to bribe his Congolese opponents to ease him out: Kasavubu, Mobutu (a paid Belgian/CIA agent) and Moise Tshombe.
      Even so, Lumumba proved able, through his eloquence and the innate strength of his nationalist/patriotic position, to retain command of the Congolese Parliament. So Mobutu was paid to stage a coup.
      Lumumba still thrived. Finally, instructions went from from the top in Washington -- CIA Director Allen Dulles conveyed it tothe CIA station chief in the Congo -- that the physical elimination of Lumumba to prevent a "Communist takeover" of the Congo had been authorised.
      A poisoned toothpaste was sent but there was no opportunity to introduce it to Lumumba's bathroom. Then a rifle with telescopic sights was sent, plus an assassin called Gottlieb [aka "Joe from Paris".] Again, it could not be used.
      All this has been published: in the Church Commission (USA) report and De Witte's book. Both contain documents that were originally marked SECRET.
      And yet you come here to repeat the libels with which Belgium and the USA tried to justify their murderous enterprise against one of Africa's most authentic leaders. The souls of the 5 million or so Congolese whose lives have been forfeited to the consequences of ruining the Congo politically over the past 50 years, will haunt you and your like for ever. If you don't believe me, go and read what can happen to you in Joseph Conrad's "The Heart of Darkness"</


    • [​IMG] thomasdoubter 19 January 2011 9:33PM

      So, once again we take a trip to the Left's fantasyland where if only the US had never been involved then everything would be just amazing and the Congo would today be a happy place. Even though it is true that our most forgotten of presidents (Chester Arthur) was indeed the first to recognize King Leopold's control of the Congo basin the evidence indicates that he was duped by that devious monarch and not seeking any sort of imperial advantage. In fact the roots of the Congo's violence are not traceable to the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, but indeed go back much further to the horrors of the Congo Free State (which incidentally many Americans played prominent roles in putting an end to).
      The assertion that all would have been well and good in the Congo had only Lumumba lived. First of all, he was a politician who did not play the game of politics all that well: his first act in office was to raise the pay of all government employees EXCEPT THE ARMY, and in a newly independent country with no strong tradition of national or cultural unity is this not begging for a coup d'etat to take place whenever the first opportunity arises? Then he combined this with the attempt to play one superpower off of the other even before independence. These are not the actions of a man who could have navigated the chaotic and violent world of Congolese politics successfully or for very long. Even though the current mythology holds that he was the universal choice of all the Congolese people how many of their languages could he speak? And in fact I would also pose that at the time there may have been a sizable portion of the population who did not even know who he was.
     
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    Africa: a continent drenched in the blood of revolutionary heroes

    Between 1961 and 1973, six African independence leaders were assassinated by their ex-colonial rulers, including Patrice Lumumba of Congo, who was killed 50 years ago today



    [​IMG] Deposed Congo ex-premier Patrice Lumumba (centre) leaves a plane at Leopoldville airport, Dec. 2, 1960, under guard of Congolese soldiers loyal to Colonel Joseph Mobutu. Photograph: AP Patrice Lumumba, prime minister of newly independent Congo, was the second of five leaders of independence movements in African countries to be assassinated in the 1960s by their former colonial masters, or their agents.
    A sixth, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, was ousted in a western-backed coup in 1966, and a seventh, Amilcar Cabral, leader of the west African liberation movement against Portugal of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, (Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde or PAIGC) in Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, was assassinated in 1973.
    Lumumba's death in 1961 followed on from that of the opposition leader of Cameroon, Felix Moumie, poisoned in 1960. Sylvanus Olympio, leader of Togo was killed in 1963. Mehdi Ben Barka, leader of the Moroccan opposition movement was kidnapped in France in 1965 and his body never found. Eduardo Mondlane, leader of Mozambique's Frelimo, fighting for independence from the Portuguese, died from a parcel bomb in 1969.
    The loss 50 years ago of this group of leaders, who all knew each other, and had a common political project based on national dignity, crippled each of their countries, and the African continent. The effects are still evident today.
    Ben Barka and Cabral were revolutionary theoreticians &#8211; as significant as Frantz Fanon and Che Guevara. Their influence reverberated far beyond their own continent. At the 1966 Tricontinental Conference in Havana, organised by Ben Barka before his death, Cuban leader Fidel Castro's closing speech referred to "one of the most lucid and brilliant leaders in Africa, Comrade Amílcar Cabral, who instilled in us tremendous confidence in the future and the success of his struggle for liberation."
    The Third World Movement, challenging the economic and political world dominance of the colonial powers, the US, and the neocolonial leaders favoured by the west, would have two short decades of ambition and optimism despite the long shadow of its great leaders' deaths.
    Today, it is impossible to touch down at the (far from modernised) airport of Lubumbashi in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo &#8211; in 1961 known as Elizabethville, in Congo (then renamed Zaire) &#8211; without a shiver of recollection of the haunting photograph taken of Lumumba there shortly before his assassination, and after beatings, torture and a long, long flight in custody across the vast country which had so loved him. This particular failure of the United Nations to protect one man and his two colleagues was every bit as significant as that in Srebrenica in 1995, when 8,000 men and boys were killed.
    Lumumba's own words, written to his wife just four months after the exhilaration of independence day in the capital Kinshasa are a reminder of who he was and why he meant so much to so many people then, and still does today.
    "Dead, living, free, or in prison on the orders of the colonialists, it is not I who counts. It is the Congo, it is our people for whom independence has been transformed into a cage where we are regarded from the outside&#8230; History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that Brussels, Paris, Washington, or the United Nations will teach, but that which they will teach in the countries emancipated from colonialism and its puppets&#8230; a history of glory and dignity."
    Lumumba would not have been surprised that his successor, Joseph Mobuto was the US strategic ally in Africa for 30 years. Congo was too rich, too big, and too important for the west to lose control as they would have had Lumumba lived.
    How ironic that Mobuto was succeeded by Laurent Desire Kabila, whose 10th anniversary of assassination, by his own guards, falls just one day before Lumumba's? (There are conflicting reports as to the exact date of Kabila's death, a good overview can be found here).
    Kabila came to power in 1997 as the useful figurehead of the armies of Rwanda, Uganda, and Angola. He trailed some historical legitimacy from his involvement in one of the rebellions against Mobuto, inspired by Lumumba's death. Che Guevara was then, in 1965, deep in his second-last catastrophic attempt to change the world, working then from his concept of Lumumba's Congo.
    When Kabila sprang from obscurity in 1997 as leader of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Che's African diaries from eastern Congo had not yet been published, with the acid comment, "I know Kabila well enough not to have any illusions about him."
    In Kabila's first chaotic weeks in power in 1997, the great Tanzanian leader, Julius Nyerere visited Kinshasa and addressed the new and unformed leadership. "There are no uncles any more for Congo, do not wait for them to come and help you &#8211; the country is yours and you must take the responsibility for it and for your people," he said.
    As one of those present told me: "They did not like Nyerere's speech, they could not wait to use their new power to make allies with foreign businessmen and get rich themselves &#8211; just like the others." But Lumumba's ideas are still alive, and he himself had no illusions that the road to dignity for his people would be extremely long.
    [​IMG] Posted by Victoria Brittain Monday 17 January 2011 12.59 GMT guardian.co.uk

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    Comments in chronological order (Total 43 comments)



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    • [​IMG] RossCopeland 17 January 2011 3:00PM

      Hate to have to say this, but a pretty weak article on a very important topic.. You could have written so much more and tied things together a little more as well. No mention of the CIA's role in Lumumba's death, no mention either of the fact that they helped Mobuto Sese Seko to power. You might have drawn parallels with other nations that had their legitimate, democratically elected leaders deposed in order that someone more amenable to western business interests take power; something very big in the second half of the last century. Had I written this, I would have said something about the manner in which Idi Amin came to power in Uganda; I would have looked beyond Africa and have mentioned Gautemala, Nicaragua, Chile and, come to think about it, just about every other Latin American country. I certainly would have talked about the "fine work" of The School of the Americas... I would certainly have questions as to how it can possibly that precisely those countries that talk so much about democracy and respect for human rights have such a record of helpin dictators to power and supporting them once there.


    • [​IMG] alan280170 17 January 2011 3:02PM

      This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.


    • [​IMG] Deebee 17 January 2011 3:04PM

      I hardly think that praise from Fidel Castro is a ringing endorsement for anyone, whilst Nyerere, whilst loved by Tanzanians, wrecked the economy of that country. The article really is written through rose-tinted spectacles and supposes that Lumumba would have remained both an idealist and committed to the growth of the Congo.
      The same applies to Nkrumah and probably the others mentioned here - there are plenty of examples of revolutionary idealists in Africa that were swept to power on the back of selfless sacrifice who have turned on their own people. Mugabe is currently the best example of this, but is by no means alone, with Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda in Zambia, Nkrumah and others sacrificing their countries and people at the altar of political expedience.
      However, Africa is changing (albeit slowly) and for the better. Many countries are gradually moving towards more open and accountable systems, despite the headline-grabbing setbacks in countries like Cote d'Ivoire, Tunisia and Zimbabwe and this is what should be focused on - not the rather simplistic notion that Africa would have been hunkydory if the wicked witches from the West hadn't snuffed out the leading lights. Excuses won't get our wonderful continent anywhere - bloody hard work, accountable governments and proper economic policies will.


    • [​IMG] faithlawson 17 January 2011 3:05PM

      This is nothing new, the west have been controlling African countries for decades as almost all African countries are blessed with the natural resources and precious stones/minerals which the west can't do without and have to control. To be honest the majority of Africa's problems originate from the works of the west particulary in the strategic way they formed the countries with 'divide and conquer' in mind, this has been the reason for the majority of civil wars.



    • [​IMG] mintaka 17 January 2011 3:18PM

      Dee
      The article really is written through rose-tinted spectacles and supposes that Lumumba would have remained both an idealist and committed to the growth of the Congo.
      It is true that power corrupts, but this is the first time I've seen it suggested as justification for pre-emptive murder of anyone in a position of power.


    • [​IMG] Deebee 17 January 2011 3:27PM

      mintaka
      17 January 2011 3:18PM
      It is true that power corrupts, but this is the first time I've seen it suggested as justification for pre-emptive murder of anyone in a position of power
      I'm certainly not endorsing the murder of Lumumba or anyone else. I'm simply saying that the excuses have to stop. There is and was no guarantee that the leaders who were murdered would have been any good - and quoting some of the more ludicrous 'heroes' of the 20th century in support of them does the writer's argument no good either.
      I live in Africa and work across this fabulous continent, and almost without exception, the countries making the best progress are the ones that have stopped blaming the West for everything and started pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps.
      RossCopeland has a whole series of things he would have mentioned in the article as well, but they won't make a jot of difference to African development - in fact by constantly harping on with a victim psychosis, Africa-apologists do this continent and its people no good at all.


    • [​IMG] Askhanja 17 January 2011 3:27PM

      5 comments at 3.30pm - just shows you people still don't give a shit about Africa.


    • [​IMG] Deebee 17 January 2011 3:29PM

      shonagon
      17 January 2011 3:05PM
      Dictators in waiting... perhaps.
      Perhaps - perhaps not. Better to look at Lumumba's anniversary by reflecting on what is happening today and how it is so much more positive than that era.


    • [​IMG] Bushofghosts 17 January 2011 3:32PM

      Thank you for this. It is a useful corrective to the view that independence came on a silver platter and democratically, reflecting Africa's wishes. In truth, real independence and democracy was fought, from within by local strongmen, and without, by colonial powers bent on maintaining their hold whatever the consequences.
      It is useful to think not only of murdered visionary leaders but also dodgy independence elections ( Nigeria for one) and subsequent military coups that sabotaged the possibilities of independence.
      Incidentally there are more who murdered or neutered in the run up to independence ( or shortly after). One leader who comes to mind is Ruben Un Nyobe in Cameroon or Herbert Chitepo of Zambia. There is a long list...



    • [​IMG] ColonelCallan 17 January 2011 3:48PM

      Patrice Lumumba, was the second of five leaders of independence movements in African countries to be assassinated in the 1960s by their former colonial masters
      Too bad they didn't get Mugabe. In 1980 he would have fit your description of
      leaders, who all knew each other, had a common political project based on national dignity,
      and turned his country into a brutalised basket case to preserve his own rule. So many of Africa's liberation heroes turned into venal, self-serving dictators; to suggest Africa would have turned out better if these lot had lived is to wilfully ignore Africa's history of the last 50 years.


    • [​IMG] nwajij 17 January 2011 3:56PM

      As I sit and remember all that has happened on my beloved continent since the late 50's and remember the men that gave their everything to build a sense of nationhood with pride and dignity, I am deeply saddened to read this article and the ensuing comments.
      One thing I must point out is that what the West did and did very well was to take existing kingdoms that were significantly different in cultural backgrounds, customs, language, physical features, etc and lump them into colonial territories. This was already a recipe for disaster if the independence question ever came up, because the real enigma would be independent from whom and what nation of what people with what ideals was being developed?
      African states were destined to fail because of their colonial set up and because of the very distinct tribal differences. No matter what anyone tells you, those tribal differences are REAL and they are what causes the political instability, corruption, very bad government and economic policies, etc etc.
      Once any African state can begin to look at themselves as citizens with a civic responsibility toward their sovereign nation as opposed to a collection of individuals with emotional bonds and allegiances to their tribes, then the dreams of Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure, Patrice Lumumba, Haile Selassie, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Amilcar Cabral, and Sylvanus Olympio of a continent free from their colonial past will definitely come to be.


    • [​IMG] Sabstance 17 January 2011 4:00PM

      Headline could be more clear that the 'blood is spilled by ex-colonials manipulation like - 'Colonial rule has drenched Africa in the blood of revolutionary heroes' - 'The blood of revolutionary heroes in Africa has stood against ex-colonial rulers' or Colonialists have left Africa in a pool of revolutionary blood' - The...re are just so many ways to put it without this subliminal branding of Africa as a 'dark continent' 'drenched in blood'...Editors must always account for their journalistic choices which is why I like John Pilger when he says "It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas and myths that surround it"



    • [​IMG] skrivener 17 January 2011 4:52PM

      Loved the the way the journalist managed to construct an article by only using two dimensional revolutionary cliches from the 1960's. A small masterpiece of irony. Thank You


    • [​IMG] nonrandomname 17 January 2011 5:02PM

      I agree wholeheartedly with RossCoupland (1st comment). A followup article is clearly required. Hope it's on the way.
      The idea that this story deserves only a single article is utterly preposterous!


    • [​IMG] NCCPDRCongo 17 January 2011 5:26PM

      The Dreams and hope of Patrice Lumumba will soon come...
      National Conservative congolese party
      Leader Wilson Denis Mbumba Malonda of DRcongo


    • [​IMG] Swedinburgh 17 January 2011 5:43PM

      @nwajij:

      Once any African state can begin to look at themselves as citizens with a civic responsibility toward their sovereign nation as opposed to a collection of individuals with emotional bonds and allegiances to their tribes, then the dreams of Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure, Patrice Lumumba, Haile Selassie, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Amilcar Cabral, and Sylvanus Olympio of a continent free from their colonial past will definitely come to be.
      True... one of the unintended side-effects of apartheid was how, in the main, the liberation movement put tribalism behind it. This despite the efforts of the white government to cultivate tribal chauvinism in the "homelands" via puppet "presidents" and, in the case of the Zulus, stoked up internecine violence by arming the pro-Inkatha factions. The latter conflict still smoulders on, but since white rule ended, South Africa has largely avoided internal tribal conflict.
      I then watched with dismay as Jacob Zuma brought open tribalism into South African politics in the period between his dismissal as deputy president and his comeback as president. (During that time simmering resentment of immigrants from the rest of Africa turned to violence too.) I sincerely hope South Africa is not doomed to fall into this same trap.


    • [​IMG] maiaH 17 January 2011 5:47PM

      yes, he and nkrumah are always my heroes and i think their political ideas are still very useful even to british people


    • [​IMG] LittleMalik 17 January 2011 5:59PM

      @nwajij.
      "Tribal differences are REAL"
      Describing national or ethnic differences between African peoples is borderline racist. The term 'tribal' is 'reserved' for African, South & Central Asian, Oceanic and Native American peoples. Europeans and East Asians are rarely referred to as being 'tribal'. In the case of Europeans it is nowadays only used ironically. The term is condescending and lacking in rigour.
      Secondly, describing cultural differences as 'real' does not gather any more scientific force just because you use CAPS. What is this 'reality' of which one speaks? And why should such 'realities' be the cause of conflict?
      Inter-communal conflict is usually rooted in disputes over land, leadership and income - often with a theological tinge. Such disputes are not unique to Africa, nor to colonised countries.


    • [​IMG] LittleMalik 17 January 2011 6:00PM

      Correction. The above comment should have begun, 'Describing national or ethnic differences between African peoples as 'tribal' is borderline racist.


    • [​IMG] LondonEye 17 January 2011 6:29PM

      @littlemalik
      Your political correctness fails to notice that nwajij speaks of "my beloved continent". Also, the context of nwajij's comment is very clearly not against Africa, but recognises what colonial powers did to oppress the "communes". And perhaps nwajij's name might also be a clue to the origin of the poster.
      The only reason that European groupings are not described as tribal is because they were the first tribes to be surpressed. The Romans subdued many Italian tribes in the first century BCE. There is nothing racist about the words "tribal" or "tribe". Try checking the context first before making false accusations.
      Your smug bandying about of the "racist" tag does not make you look like a champion of the oppressed, it makes you look like an idiot. You should apologise to nwajij for the false accusation.
      This article is a keen reminder to those who continue to suggest that African "inter-communal" disputes are the fault of Africans and refuse to acknowledge the benefit that the US/UK and other European nations have received from continuing conflict on the continent.


    • [​IMG] 4abetterworld 17 January 2011 6:53PM

      50 years on...still same old story....Africa (and Africans) still bleeds from man's insatiable lusts for its resources....
      From Egypt to Nigeria, from Mozambique to Sudan...everywhere you look, you see "leaders" appointed by the colonialists...
      Looted funds by these "puppets" are awash in UK, France, USA, Switzerland and more recently Dubai and even as far flung as China whilst their weapons of war are dumped on the continent.
      50 years on....still same old story


    • [​IMG] jadedhack 17 January 2011 6:56PM

      This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.


    • [​IMG] viewedfromafar 17 January 2011 7:18PM

      Shortly before his dead, Lumumba gave a speech that was a disgrace for king Baoudouin of Belgium. A similar thing happened in 1950 when Julien Lahaut, a Belgian politician insulted the king when he was sworn in. Who ordered the killing of Lahaut? Still a mystery. Was Lumumba capable of ruling the Congo? Let's not forget that Lumumba had no experience and missed the right education to lead a country. He also spread hatred against whites on the radio.
      Baudouin announced fast independence for the Congo during a speech. This announcement was violating the plans of the Belgian government (who planned a transition-of-power period towards independence and wanted he Congo to become a strong partner in international commerce). What Baudouin drove to do this is still unclear but most of the people surrounding the king considered him as 'not very intelligent'. Baudouin did not realise what the consequences of his speech were: chaos erupted. Some historians picture him as one of those responsible for the terrible situation the Congo is going through since 1960. Only 2 decades ago did Belgium's prime minister Wilfried Martens visit the Congo and Mobutu. He told the press "I love this country, the people and its leaders". Everyone new at the time that Mobutu was a cruel dictator who ruined his country ...


    • [​IMG] johnpaulread 17 January 2011 7:50PM

      The article comes across as one more 'How the Revolution was Betrayed' polemic.
      It ignores the mountain of evidence that these individuals were unlikely to do - or did - much for the people they claimed to represent.
      The story alluded to by 'jadedhack' seems much more interesting.
      Perhaps Ms Brittain can tell us more.


    • [​IMG] mimpiburuk 17 January 2011 7:57PM

      Amilcar Cabral should be added to the list, another great man that could have guided Africa to a brighter future.


    • [​IMG] Powersyoung 17 January 2011 7:58PM

      The Republic of Biafra was declared in 1967, created on their ancestral land by the Igbo people who simply wished to live in safety and dignity, free from their neighbours, other ethnic groups who had murdered them in the tens of thousands publicly, in the streets in the view of the whole world. Biafra was destroyed ,mainly because of Harold Wilson's need to control all of Nigeria and it's oil and for independence of Africans to be on his terms. About 2 to 3 million people died, hundreds of thousands of children from starvation in a war the British government could have stopped at any time. The mass murder, dispossession and corruption tacitly supported by Britain set the tone for Nigeria ever since and the country now is a basket case. I guess that was our welcome to the big leagues. Now we understand that the 'advanced' nations' only reliable principles are those of economics and perhaps ethnicity. This sadly, is our reality.


    • [​IMG] Sulaak 17 January 2011 8:34PM

      Deebee said
      I hardly think that praise from Fidel Castro is a ringing endorsement for anyone, whilst Nyerere, whilst loved by Tanzanians, wrecked the economy of that country. The article really is written through rose-tinted spectacles and supposes that Lumumba would have remained both an idealist and committed to the growth of the Congo.
      It's obvious that you have very limited understanding of the situation in the Congo before independent. DRC had only 6 university graduates and no black technician before 1960. A country the size of Western Europe with only 6 graduate was always going to struggle in this modern world.

      In 80 years of Belgium rule there were no development of human or infrastructure resources. The country desparately needed an inspirational leader , to give the country a fighting chance in the modern world . Lumumba approach the West including flying to meet the then American president Eisenhower in USA . Eisenhower refused to meet Lumumba in USA calling him Jungle President.
      The like of Nkrumah, Nyerre, Kenneth Kauda and even Mugabe might have ended up being dictators, but they kicked off real development in education and the development of substantial infrastrutures that is currently sustaining African countries today.
      The same cannot be said of the Western back Mobutu.The West has nothing to offer Africa.


    • [​IMG] AlanRedman 17 January 2011 8:46PM

      I think the way forward for the world is regional political and economic unions like Europe. Regional blocks should be formed and each block should have one army with a UN rule banning the deployment of armies outside of their borders. Only this way will countries be strong enough to stand up to foreign influence, be it European, American or I guess increasing Chinese.

    • [​IMG]
      [​IMG] VictoriaBrittain 17 January 2011 9:25PM

      mimpiburuk - Amilcar Cabral is in fact highlighted in the article as just such a leader.
      NCCPDRCongo - how very good to hear an opinion from DRC.
      thank you Sulaak for those important amplifications of the conditions on the ground in Congo in 1960


    • [​IMG] johnpaulread 17 January 2011 9:31PM

      Sulaak
      Your condemnation of the West is overstated.
      Many of the post-colonial leaders, Kaunda, Mugabe, Banda and Nyrerere for example, got a Western-style education because people from the West had introduced it to Africa.
      They may have added to this infrastructure, but they did not create it.
      Tim Butcher's book covering his journey through DRC (Blood River) is the story of neglected infrastructure - railways, built by the Belgians, which no longer run.
      Railways and schools are part of what the West brought to Africa.
      I am well aware of the down side of Western involvement in Africa.
      Teh crucial point is that there were two sides.


    • [​IMG] snix 17 January 2011 9:44PM

      Africa ,still suffering the crimes of the empire.The colonial powers have so much culpability for every crime committed within the promised land.A hundred articles exposing this would not stop the apologists accusing the africans .
      So many shameful crimes even the NGO's are but an arm of oppression for the corporate enviromental rape of the continent.


    • [​IMG] jack79 17 January 2011 10:08PM

      I don't get it - this article is plain wrong on facts and has a pretty weird take on historical causation. Is the qualification for writing about Africa for the Guardian simply that you have an opinion about it?
      By the time Nkrumah fell victim to a coup he had banned strikes, locked up the opposition and the Ghanaian economy had ground to a halt. The 'loss' of his leadership didn't 'cripple' either his country or the continent - it was a symptom of the rot that had already set in. Saying that the coup was 'western-backed' means very little - do you think Africans can be tricked into doing anything that their former colonial masters want?
      Sylvanus Olympio was killed after a coup justified, in public at least, because the President had been too close to the French. Why would the French want him dead and what is the evidence that they had anything to do with it?
      Amilcar Cabral, Eduardo Mondlane and Félix-Roland Moumié all died before independence - at the hands of their current, not former colonial masters. All were involved in, or planning, armed resurrections. Their deaths were aimed at stopping decolonisation, not ruining independence; their deaths meant that they were never compromised by post-colonial politics, not that they would have led their countries wisely.
      So that leaves Mehdi Ben Barka (the French have form, they probably did it, but there is some evidence that Ben Barka was working FOR French intelligence) and Patrice Lumumba (whose death was the start of the long tragedy that is the Congo). As evidence for a thesis goes, this is pretty weak.
      The history of Africa is not, and has never been, decided solely in western capitals (or by western capital).


    • [​IMG] smuglyfrombrazil 17 January 2011 11:06PM

      Deebee
      17 January 2011 3:04PM
      I hardly think that praise from Fidel Castro is a ringing endorsement for anyone
      ...........................................................................................................
      Actually, back in 1966, praise from Fidel was a ringing endorsement.


    • [​IMG] Deebee 18 January 2011 6:00AM

      Sulaak
      17 January 2011 8:34PM
      It's obvious that you have very limited understanding of the situation in the Congo before independent. DRC had only 6 university graduates and no black technician before 1960. A country the size of Western Europe with only 6 graduate was always going to struggle in this modern world.
      Actually I have a very good understanding of the DRC and its history. I've visited it regularly on business trips and spend a lot of time chatting to Congolese here in South Africa. Nowhere did I condone Lumumba's murder - I simply suggested that it was a shallow argument to say that Congo would have prospered had he lived. There is little evidence of that. And I stick to my assertion: Africa will not prosper until those interested in her development take stock of the present and future and look to mould that. It's not too tricky.
      smuglyfrombrazil
      17 January 2011 11:06PM
      Deebee
      17 January 2011 3:04PM
      I hardly think that praise from Fidel Castro is a ringing endorsement for anyone
      ...........................................................................................................
      Actually, back in 1966, praise from Fidel was a ringing endorsement.
      Yeah, as was praise from Reagan or Mugabe in 1980 depending on your bent.


    • [​IMG] smuglyfrombrazil 18 January 2011 10:46AM

      Deebee
      18 January 2011 6:00AM
      Yeah, as was praise from Reagan or Mugabe in 1980 depending on your bent.
      You're quite wrong there. In 1966 Cuba was seven years fresh out the Batista dictatorship and Fidel resembled nothing of what he'd become later on.
      If you know nothing about the Cuban Revolution, then read up about it; otherwise you'll know that there was a marked improvement to the quality of life, equality and hopes of its utterly deprived population. Fidel was good for his country at that point, and also gave hope to millions that wanted to shake the US's, erm, 'influence' off their countries.
      Reagan and Mugabe were always assholes. This has nothing to do with political leanings, by the way.


    • [​IMG] smuglyfrombrazil 18 January 2011 11:06AM

      viewedfromafar
      17 January 2011 7:18PM
      Let's not forget that Lumumba had no experience and missed the right education to lead a country. He also spread hatred against whites on the radio.
      ...................................................
      Why the issue of Lumumba's education seems to bother people so much is beyond me.
      How many black Congolese had higher education back then?
      This as a criteria would have disentitled pretty much any black person from governing his own country in the early 60s, as 'colonial masters' didn't exactly open University doors to the colonised.
      Brazil's best president to date and the one with the highest ever rate of approval when leaving office (maybe even worldwide), Lula, is a man whose academic qualifications wouldn't get him a job flipping burgers in the colonial powers.
      As for the hate against whites... do you find that surprising at all?


    • [​IMG] RossCopeland 18 January 2011 1:07PM

      Deebee reads some 'interesting' things into both the article and my post:
      I live in Africa and work across this fabulous continent, and almost without exception, the countries making the best progress are the ones that have stopped blaming the West for everything and started pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps.
      RossCopeland has a whole series of things he would have mentioned in the article as well, but they won't make a jot of difference to African development - in fact by constantly harping on with a victim psychosis, Africa-apologists do this continent and its people no good at all.
      Putting things into perspective does not one an apologist make. The perspective to which I am referring is the the connection between, for example, the ousting from power of Jacabo Arbenz in Guatemala; the CIA-backed coup against Allende in Chile; the forming and arming of and subsequent support for the Contras in Nicaragua; the CIA-supported murder of Lumumba.... the list could go on and on but the few examples mentioned above should suffice to illustrate that through the 50's 60's ands 70's whenever leaders came to power in LDCs who attempted to use their country's resources to, to paraphrase Deebee, pull their countries up by the bootstraps, they were rapidly despated from office, often from life. The west, primarily but not solely the US has made it abundantly clear that they will ot tolerate LDCs having control of their own resources.
      The heavy handed means of coup and assassination have largely given way to control/enforcement through the IMF and IBRD the issue, however, remains very pertinant. Stating these things has nothing to do with a victim psychosis anymore than sitting down to a game of poker and noticing one of your opponants has a stack of aces up his sleave and therefore insisting on a new deck has. It's simply telling things as they are and using history to help explain the present - if you don't know how you got somewhere, you can't possibly move forward.
      In short, if you don't understand that the muder of Lumumba, etc., was part of a pattern of keeping the poor the poor and ensuring western corporate access to and, indeed, control of LDC resources, you are either willfully blind or shamefully ignorant.


    • [​IMG] NeuerHause11 18 January 2011 2:49PM

      Deebee
      17 January 2011 3:04PM
      I hardly think that praise from Fidel Castro is a ringing endorsement for anyone, whilst Nyerere, whilst loved by Tanzanians, wrecked the economy of that country. The article really is written through rose-tinted spectacles and supposes that Lumumba would have remained both an idealist and committed to the growth of the...
      .... bloody hard work, accountable governments and proper economic political will.
      Dear Deebee,
      Although your comments rose the point that idealism wouldn't bring outright economic prosperity for the Congo - though reasonable, the intention is rather dubious. Assuming your premises that colonial powers should remain in Africa with all human atrocities and the exploitative nature they steadily fed, African idealists such as Lumumba should remain unspoken and indifferent while the country was being sucked up of all its blood and life. Should your premises remain, it is critical that key facts are espoused:
      First, all economic structures created by colonial powers were to supply the colonials to an increase in economic misery of the local population. Belgium, in particular, had no regard to excel the Congolese people in any form. By 1960s, only 6 university graduates to a population of more than thousands. For the Belgium, the Congolese people were simply functional servants of white explorer.
      Second, although Fidel Castro is ostracized by Western powers, which you probably support, his influence in the African collective conscience is much praised, and should be so. When the True African History is revised and rewritten, historical figures such as Fidel Castro won't be in the dark side in the history of African countries' struggle against colonial supremacy.
      Third, alike Nkrumah, Lumumba knew that economic prosperity will take a long way to come, and as all visionaries, he knew it would come. Independence was the beginning, not the end, of economic misery. He was not nonsensical as your comments brutally imply.
      Fourth, you have a very spurious intention: you are attempting to justify the unjustifiable. The very failure of post-independence African economies are due, largely, of the international economic system, which is controlled and managed by former colonial powers. Notice how unfair the international trade system unfavored developing countries, with African economies remaining mostly on the losing side. It was not enough that those economies lack most, if not all, the basic economic infrastructures to fairly compete with most developed economies, their also lack political capital.
      Fifth, the point implying that Africa would disappoint us even if, hadn't the West, as you mentioned, "snuffed out the leading lights," is rather disturbing, if not, disgraceful. You imply that killing is acceptable which takes me to the point that you recognize that the West has blood in its hands and you have no shame to assume it.
      Sixth, had those "leading lights" not being assassinated, Africa would hopefully experience a different path in post-independence governance. The West denied Africans the chance to take the fate of the continent in their our hands. Those assassinations served the West in two ways: to instigate political instability by the token "rule and divide," and to have the control of the political realities of the continent.
      Those two elements of power have ample examples in the continent. Look the influence of France in the continent ( Ivory Coast, Gabon, Cameron, etc).
      Seventh, it is necessary that "bloody hard work, accountable governments and proper economic policies" should surface in the continent if it is to develop, however, they do not emerge from the sky. Solid grounds should coexist with those factors. References to the colonial history does not serve as an excuse for inaction, as you infer, but as an opportunity for Africans to learn and be inspired from it.
      What is worrisome in your comments is that it assumes that it would be enough for Africans have governments with sound economic policies and democratic practices to justify the abusive and inhuman economic exploration from the colonial powers.
      It is all things but true.The Western world economic system has made post-independence African countries hostage to the West's maneuvers of the system. The economic schemes of the IMF and the World Bank are the most clear cut example of this practice. They demand African countries to liberalize their economies which has hardly worked, and when it does, it erodes all gains of those crippled economy.
      Give me one positive example of the implementation of IMF's schemes that is successful in the continent, and I will give you ten examples which will distress you simplistic idea that Africans alone is to blame.
      Seeking to defend the indefensible is rather perilous.


    • [​IMG] jadedhack 18 January 2011 2:58PM

      This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.


    • [​IMG] nwajij 19 January 2011 12:42PM

      @LittleMalik, I am still waiting for my apology.
      To conclude that me describing the term Tribal as REAL in Caps is borderline racist really goes to show what you know.
      Dude, I am an African, and like any other African, we know what being tribalistic means. Let me help you. It means that someone doesn't like you or will deny you your basic rights, or attempt to wipe out everyone from your ethnicity because you come from a particular tribe.
      Tribes existed in Africa with concrete differences long before the white men even set foot on the continent. The only difference were that these tribes existed as independent kingdoms. The colonialists came and lumped very different people together and called them one and expected them to get along post independence, yeah right!
      So when you ask what the conflict is, I hope I have been able to answer.
     
  3. K

    KISANTILITEDI Member

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    [​IMG]



    Africa: a continent drenched in the blood of revolutionary heroes

    Between 1961 and 1973, six African independence leaders were assassinated by their ex-colonial rulers, including Patrice Lumumba of Congo, who was killed 50 years ago today



    [​IMG] Deposed Congo ex-premier Patrice Lumumba (centre) leaves a plane at Leopoldville airport, Dec. 2, 1960, under guard of Congolese soldiers loyal to Colonel Joseph Mobutu. Photograph: AP Patrice Lumumba, prime minister of newly independent Congo, was the second of five leaders of independence movements in African countries to be assassinated in the 1960s by their former colonial masters, or their agents.
    A sixth, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, was ousted in a western-backed coup in 1966, and a seventh, Amilcar Cabral, leader of the west African liberation movement against Portugal of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, (Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde or PAIGC) in Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, was assassinated in 1973.
    Lumumba's death in 1961 followed on from that of the opposition leader of Cameroon, Felix Moumie, poisoned in 1960. Sylvanus Olympio, leader of Togo was killed in 1963. Mehdi Ben Barka, leader of the Moroccan opposition movement was kidnapped in France in 1965 and his body never found. Eduardo Mondlane, leader of Mozambique's Frelimo, fighting for independence from the Portuguese, died from a parcel bomb in 1969.
    The loss 50 years ago of this group of leaders, who all knew each other, and had a common political project based on national dignity, crippled each of their countries, and the African continent. The effects are still evident today.
    Ben Barka and Cabral were revolutionary theoreticians – as significant as Frantz Fanon and Che Guevara. Their influence reverberated far beyond their own continent. At the 1966 Tricontinental Conference in Havana, organised by Ben Barka before his death, Cuban leader Fidel Castro's closing speech referred to "one of the most lucid and brilliant leaders in Africa, Comrade Amílcar Cabral, who instilled in us tremendous confidence in the future and the success of his struggle for liberation."
    The Third World Movement, challenging the economic and political world dominance of the colonial powers, the US, and the neocolonial leaders favoured by the west, would have two short decades of ambition and optimism despite the long shadow of its great leaders' deaths.
    Today, it is impossible to touch down at the (far from modernised) airport of Lubumbashi in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo – in 1961 known as Elizabethville, in Congo (then renamed Zaire) – without a shiver of recollection of the haunting photograph taken of Lumumba there shortly before his assassination, and after beatings, torture and a long, long flight in custody across the vast country which had so loved him. This particular failure of the United Nations to protect one man and his two colleagues was every bit as significant as that in Srebrenica in 1995, when 8,000 men and boys were killed.
    Lumumba's own words, written to his wife just four months after the exhilaration of independence day in the capital Kinshasa are a reminder of who he was and why he meant so much to so many people then, and still does today.
    "Dead, living, free, or in prison on the orders of the colonialists, it is not I who counts. It is the Congo, it is our people for whom independence has been transformed into a cage where we are regarded from the outside… History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that Brussels, Paris, Washington, or the United Nations will teach, but that which they will teach in the countries emancipated from colonialism and its puppets… a history of glory and dignity."
    Lumumba would not have been surprised that his successor, Joseph Mobuto was the US strategic ally in Africa for 30 years. Congo was too rich, too big, and too important for the west to lose control as they would have had Lumumba lived.
    How ironic that Mobuto was succeeded by Laurent Desire Kabila, whose 10th anniversary of assassination, by his own guards, falls just one day before Lumumba's? (There are conflicting reports as to the exact date of Kabila's death, a good overview can be found here).
    Kabila came to power in 1997 as the useful figurehead of the armies of Rwanda, Uganda, and Angola. He trailed some historical legitimacy from his involvement in one of the rebellions against Mobuto, inspired by Lumumba's death. Che Guevara was then, in 1965, deep in his second-last catastrophic attempt to change the world, working then from his concept of Lumumba's Congo.
    When Kabila sprang from obscurity in 1997 as leader of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Che's African diaries from eastern Congo had not yet been published, with the acid comment, "I know Kabila well enough not to have any illusions about him."
    In Kabila's first chaotic weeks in power in 1997, the great Tanzanian leader, Julius Nyerere visited Kinshasa and addressed the new and unformed leadership. "There are no uncles any more for Congo, do not wait for them to come and help you – the country is yours and you must take the responsibility for it and for your people," he said.
    As one of those present told me: "They did not like Nyerere's speech, they could not wait to use their new power to make allies with foreign businessmen and get rich themselves – just like the others." But Lumumba's ideas are still alive, and he himself had no illusions that the road to dignity for his people would be extremely long.
    [​IMG] Posted by Victoria Brittain Monday 17 January 2011 12.59 GMT guardian.co.uk

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    Comments in chronological order (Total 43 comments)



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    • [​IMG] RossCopeland 17 January 2011 3:00PM

      Hate to have to say this, but a pretty weak article on a very important topic.. You could have written so much more and tied things together a little more as well. No mention of the CIA's role in Lumumba's death, no mention either of the fact that they helped Mobuto Sese Seko to power. You might have drawn parallels with other nations that had their legitimate, democratically elected leaders deposed in order that someone more amenable to western business interests take power; something very big in the second half of the last century. Had I written this, I would have said something about the manner in which Idi Amin came to power in Uganda; I would have looked beyond Africa and have mentioned Gautemala, Nicaragua, Chile and, come to think about it, just about every other Latin American country. I certainly would have talked about the "fine work" of The School of the Americas... I would certainly have questions as to how it can possibly that precisely those countries that talk so much about democracy and respect for human rights have such a record of helpin dictators to power and supporting them once there.


    • [​IMG] alan280170 17 January 2011 3:02PM

      This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.


    • [​IMG] Deebee 17 January 2011 3:04PM

      I hardly think that praise from Fidel Castro is a ringing endorsement for anyone, whilst Nyerere, whilst loved by Tanzanians, wrecked the economy of that country. The article really is written through rose-tinted spectacles and supposes that Lumumba would have remained both an idealist and committed to the growth of the Congo.
      The same applies to Nkrumah and probably the others mentioned here - there are plenty of examples of revolutionary idealists in Africa that were swept to power on the back of selfless sacrifice who have turned on their own people. Mugabe is currently the best example of this, but is by no means alone, with Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda in Zambia, Nkrumah and others sacrificing their countries and people at the altar of political expedience.
      However, Africa is changing (albeit slowly) and for the better. Many countries are gradually moving towards more open and accountable systems, despite the headline-grabbing setbacks in countries like Cote d'Ivoire, Tunisia and Zimbabwe and this is what should be focused on - not the rather simplistic notion that Africa would have been hunkydory if the wicked witches from the West hadn't snuffed out the leading lights. Excuses won't get our wonderful continent anywhere - bloody hard work, accountable governments and proper economic policies will.


    • [​IMG] faithlawson 17 January 2011 3:05PM

      This is nothing new, the west have been controlling African countries for decades as almost all African countries are blessed with the natural resources and precious stones/minerals which the west can't do without and have to control. To be honest the majority of Africa's problems originate from the works of the west particulary in the strategic way they formed the countries with 'divide and conquer' in mind, this has been the reason for the majority of civil wars.



    • [​IMG] mintaka 17 January 2011 3:18PM

      Dee
      The article really is written through rose-tinted spectacles and supposes that Lumumba would have remained both an idealist and committed to the growth of the Congo.
      It is true that power corrupts, but this is the first time I've seen it suggested as justification for pre-emptive murder of anyone in a position of power.


    • [​IMG] Deebee 17 January 2011 3:27PM

      mintaka
      17 January 2011 3:18PM
      It is true that power corrupts, but this is the first time I've seen it suggested as justification for pre-emptive murder of anyone in a position of power
      I'm certainly not endorsing the murder of Lumumba or anyone else. I'm simply saying that the excuses have to stop. There is and was no guarantee that the leaders who were murdered would have been any good - and quoting some of the more ludicrous 'heroes' of the 20th century in support of them does the writer's argument no good either.
      I live in Africa and work across this fabulous continent, and almost without exception, the countries making the best progress are the ones that have stopped blaming the West for everything and started pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps.
      RossCopeland has a whole series of things he would have mentioned in the article as well, but they won't make a jot of difference to African development - in fact by constantly harping on with a victim psychosis, Africa-apologists do this continent and its people no good at all.


    • [​IMG] Askhanja 17 January 2011 3:27PM

      5 comments at 3.30pm - just shows you people still don't give a shit about Africa.


    • [​IMG] Deebee 17 January 2011 3:29PM

      shonagon
      17 January 2011 3:05PM
      Dictators in waiting... perhaps.
      Perhaps - perhaps not. Better to look at Lumumba's anniversary by reflecting on what is happening today and how it is so much more positive than that era.


    • [​IMG] Bushofghosts 17 January 2011 3:32PM

      Thank you for this. It is a useful corrective to the view that independence came on a silver platter and democratically, reflecting Africa's wishes. In truth, real independence and democracy was fought, from within by local strongmen, and without, by colonial powers bent on maintaining their hold whatever the consequences.
      It is useful to think not only of murdered visionary leaders but also dodgy independence elections ( Nigeria for one) and subsequent military coups that sabotaged the possibilities of independence.
      Incidentally there are more who murdered or neutered in the run up to independence ( or shortly after). One leader who comes to mind is Ruben Un Nyobe in Cameroon or Herbert Chitepo of Zambia. There is a long list...



    • [​IMG] ColonelCallan 17 January 2011 3:48PM

      Patrice Lumumba, was the second of five leaders of independence movements in African countries to be assassinated in the 1960s by their former colonial masters
      Too bad they didn't get Mugabe. In 1980 he would have fit your description of
      leaders, who all knew each other, had a common political project based on national dignity,
      and turned his country into a brutalised basket case to preserve his own rule. So many of Africa's liberation heroes turned into venal, self-serving dictators; to suggest Africa would have turned out better if these lot had lived is to wilfully ignore Africa's history of the last 50 years.


    • [​IMG] nwajij 17 January 2011 3:56PM

      As I sit and remember all that has happened on my beloved continent since the late 50's and remember the men that gave their everything to build a sense of nationhood with pride and dignity, I am deeply saddened to read this article and the ensuing comments.
      One thing I must point out is that what the West did and did very well was to take existing kingdoms that were significantly different in cultural backgrounds, customs, language, physical features, etc and lump them into colonial territories. This was already a recipe for disaster if the independence question ever came up, because the real enigma would be independent from whom and what nation of what people with what ideals was being developed?
      African states were destined to fail because of their colonial set up and because of the very distinct tribal differences. No matter what anyone tells you, those tribal differences are REAL and they are what causes the political instability, corruption, very bad government and economic policies, etc etc.
      Once any African state can begin to look at themselves as citizens with a civic responsibility toward their sovereign nation as opposed to a collection of individuals with emotional bonds and allegiances to their tribes, then the dreams of Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure, Patrice Lumumba, Haile Selassie, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Amilcar Cabral, and Sylvanus Olympio of a continent free from their colonial past will definitely come to be.


    • [​IMG] Sabstance 17 January 2011 4:00PM

      Headline could be more clear that the 'blood is spilled by ex-colonials manipulation like - 'Colonial rule has drenched Africa in the blood of revolutionary heroes' - 'The blood of revolutionary heroes in Africa has stood against ex-colonial rulers' or Colonialists have left Africa in a pool of revolutionary blood' - The...re are just so many ways to put it without this subliminal branding of Africa as a 'dark continent' 'drenched in blood'...Editors must always account for their journalistic choices which is why I like John Pilger when he says "It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas and myths that surround it"



    • [​IMG] skrivener 17 January 2011 4:52PM

      Loved the the way the journalist managed to construct an article by only using two dimensional revolutionary cliches from the 1960's. A small masterpiece of irony. Thank You


    • [​IMG] nonrandomname 17 January 2011 5:02PM

      I agree wholeheartedly with RossCoupland (1st comment). A followup article is clearly required. Hope it's on the way.
      The idea that this story deserves only a single article is utterly preposterous!


    • [​IMG] NCCPDRCongo 17 January 2011 5:26PM

      The Dreams and hope of Patrice Lumumba will soon come...
      National Conservative congolese party
      Leader Wilson Denis Mbumba Malonda of DRcongo


    • [​IMG] Swedinburgh 17 January 2011 5:43PM

      @nwajij:
      Once any African state can begin to look at themselves as citizens with a civic responsibility toward their sovereign nation as opposed to a collection of individuals with emotional bonds and allegiances to their tribes, then the dreams of Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure, Patrice Lumumba, Haile Selassie, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Amilcar Cabral, and Sylvanus Olympio of a continent free from their colonial past will definitely come to be.
      True... one of the unintended side-effects of apartheid was how, in the main, the liberation movement put tribalism behind it. This despite the efforts of the white government to cultivate tribal chauvinism in the "homelands" via puppet "presidents" and, in the case of the Zulus, stoked up internecine violence by arming the pro-Inkatha factions. The latter conflict still smoulders on, but since white rule ended, South Africa has largely avoided internal tribal conflict.
      I then watched with dismay as Jacob Zuma brought open tribalism into South African politics in the period between his dismissal as deputy president and his comeback as president. (During that time simmering resentment of immigrants from the rest of Africa turned to violence too.) I sincerely hope South Africa is not doomed to fall into this same trap.


    • [​IMG] maiaH 17 January 2011 5:47PM

      yes, he and nkrumah are always my heroes and i think their political ideas are still very useful even to british people


    • [​IMG] LittleMalik 17 January 2011 5:59PM

      @nwajij.
      "Tribal differences are REAL"
      Describing national or ethnic differences between African peoples is borderline racist. The term 'tribal' is 'reserved' for African, South & Central Asian, Oceanic and Native American peoples. Europeans and East Asians are rarely referred to as being 'tribal'. In the case of Europeans it is nowadays only used ironically. The term is condescending and lacking in rigour.
      Secondly, describing cultural differences as 'real' does not gather any more scientific force just because you use CAPS. What is this 'reality' of which one speaks? And why should such 'realities' be the cause of conflict?
      Inter-communal conflict is usually rooted in disputes over land, leadership and income - often with a theological tinge. Such disputes are not unique to Africa, nor to colonised countries.


    • [​IMG] LittleMalik 17 January 2011 6:00PM

      Correction. The above comment should have begun, 'Describing national or ethnic differences between African peoples as 'tribal' is borderline racist.


    • [​IMG] LondonEye 17 January 2011 6:29PM

      @littlemalik
      Your political correctness fails to notice that nwajij speaks of "my beloved continent". Also, the context of nwajij's comment is very clearly not against Africa, but recognises what colonial powers did to oppress the "communes". And perhaps nwajij's name might also be a clue to the origin of the poster.
      The only reason that European groupings are not described as tribal is because they were the first tribes to be surpressed. The Romans subdued many Italian tribes in the first century BCE. There is nothing racist about the words "tribal" or "tribe". Try checking the context first before making false accusations.
      Your smug bandying about of the "racist" tag does not make you look like a champion of the oppressed, it makes you look like an idiot. You should apologise to nwajij for the false accusation.
      This article is a keen reminder to those who continue to suggest that African "inter-communal" disputes are the fault of Africans and refuse to acknowledge the benefit that the US/UK and other European nations have received from continuing conflict on the continent.


    • [​IMG] 4abetterworld 17 January 2011 6:53PM

      50 years on...still same old story....Africa (and Africans) still bleeds from man's insatiable lusts for its resources....
      From Egypt to Nigeria, from Mozambique to Sudan...everywhere you look, you see "leaders" appointed by the colonialists...
      Looted funds by these "puppets" are awash in UK, France, USA, Switzerland and more recently Dubai and even as far flung as China whilst their weapons of war are dumped on the continent.
      50 years on....still same old story


    • [​IMG] jadedhack 17 January 2011 6:56PM

      This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.


    • [​IMG] viewedfromafar 17 January 2011 7:18PM

      Shortly before his dead, Lumumba gave a speech that was a disgrace for king Baoudouin of Belgium. A similar thing happened in 1950 when Julien Lahaut, a Belgian politician insulted the king when he was sworn in. Who ordered the killing of Lahaut? Still a mystery. Was Lumumba capable of ruling the Congo? Let's not forget that Lumumba had no experience and missed the right education to lead a country. He also spread hatred against whites on the radio.
      Baudouin announced fast independence for the Congo during a speech. This announcement was violating the plans of the Belgian government (who planned a transition-of-power period towards independence and wanted he Congo to become a strong partner in international commerce). What Baudouin drove to do this is still unclear but most of the people surrounding the king considered him as 'not very intelligent'. Baudouin did not realise what the consequences of his speech were: chaos erupted. Some historians picture him as one of those responsible for the terrible situation the Congo is going through since 1960. Only 2 decades ago did Belgium's prime minister Wilfried Martens visit the Congo and Mobutu. He told the press "I love this country, the people and its leaders". Everyone new at the time that Mobutu was a cruel dictator who ruined his country ...


    • [​IMG] johnpaulread 17 January 2011 7:50PM

      The article comes across as one more 'How the Revolution was Betrayed' polemic.
      It ignores the mountain of evidence that these individuals were unlikely to do - or did - much for the people they claimed to represent.
      The story alluded to by 'jadedhack' seems much more interesting.
      Perhaps Ms Brittain can tell us more.


    • [​IMG] mimpiburuk 17 January 2011 7:57PM

      Amilcar Cabral should be added to the list, another great man that could have guided Africa to a brighter future.


    • [​IMG] Powersyoung 17 January 2011 7:58PM

      The Republic of Biafra was declared in 1967, created on their ancestral land by the Igbo people who simply wished to live in safety and dignity, free from their neighbours, other ethnic groups who had murdered them in the tens of thousands publicly, in the streets in the view of the whole world. Biafra was destroyed ,mainly because of Harold Wilson's need to control all of Nigeria and it's oil and for independence of Africans to be on his terms. About 2 to 3 million people died, hundreds of thousands of children from starvation in a war the British government could have stopped at any time. The mass murder, dispossession and corruption tacitly supported by Britain set the tone for Nigeria ever since and the country now is a basket case. I guess that was our welcome to the big leagues. Now we understand that the 'advanced' nations' only reliable principles are those of economics and perhaps ethnicity. This sadly, is our reality.


    • [​IMG] Sulaak 17 January 2011 8:34PM

      Deebee said
      I hardly think that praise from Fidel Castro is a ringing endorsement for anyone, whilst Nyerere, whilst loved by Tanzanians, wrecked the economy of that country. The article really is written through rose-tinted spectacles and supposes that Lumumba would have remained both an idealist and committed to the growth of the Congo.
      It's obvious that you have very limited understanding of the situation in the Congo before independent. DRC had only 6 university graduates and no black technician before 1960. A country the size of Western Europe with only 6 graduate was always going to struggle in this modern world.

      In 80 years of Belgium rule there were no development of human or infrastructure resources. The country desparately needed an inspirational leader , to give the country a fighting chance in the modern world . Lumumba approach the West including flying to meet the then American president Eisenhower in USA . Eisenhower refused to meet Lumumba in USA calling him Jungle President.
      The like of Nkrumah, Nyerre, Kenneth Kauda and even Mugabe might have ended up being dictators, but they kicked off real development in education and the development of substantial infrastrutures that is currently sustaining African countries today.
      The same cannot be said of the Western back Mobutu.The West has nothing to offer Africa.


    • [​IMG] AlanRedman 17 January 2011 8:46PM

      I think the way forward for the world is regional political and economic unions like Europe. Regional blocks should be formed and each block should have one army with a UN rule banning the deployment of armies outside of their borders. Only this way will countries be strong enough to stand up to foreign influence, be it European, American or I guess increasing Chinese.

    • [​IMG]
      [​IMG] VictoriaBrittain 17 January 2011 9:25PM

      mimpiburuk - Amilcar Cabral is in fact highlighted in the article as just such a leader.
      NCCPDRCongo - how very good to hear an opinion from DRC.
      thank you Sulaak for those important amplifications of the conditions on the ground in Congo in 1960


    • [​IMG] johnpaulread 17 January 2011 9:31PM

      Sulaak
      Your condemnation of the West is overstated.
      Many of the post-colonial leaders, Kaunda, Mugabe, Banda and Nyrerere for example, got a Western-style education because people from the West had introduced it to Africa.
      They may have added to this infrastructure, but they did not create it.
      Tim Butcher's book covering his journey through DRC (Blood River) is the story of neglected infrastructure - railways, built by the Belgians, which no longer run.
      Railways and schools are part of what the West brought to Africa.
      I am well aware of the down side of Western involvement in Africa.
      Teh crucial point is that there were two sides.


    • [​IMG] snix 17 January 2011 9:44PM

      Africa ,still suffering the crimes of the empire.The colonial powers have so much culpability for every crime committed within the promised land.A hundred articles exposing this would not stop the apologists accusing the africans .
      So many shameful crimes even the NGO's are but an arm of oppression for the corporate enviromental rape of the continent.


    • [​IMG] jack79 17 January 2011 10:08PM

      I don't get it - this article is plain wrong on facts and has a pretty weird take on historical causation. Is the qualification for writing about Africa for the Guardian simply that you have an opinion about it?
      By the time Nkrumah fell victim to a coup he had banned strikes, locked up the opposition and the Ghanaian economy had ground to a halt. The 'loss' of his leadership didn't 'cripple' either his country or the continent - it was a symptom of the rot that had already set in. Saying that the coup was 'western-backed' means very little - do you think Africans can be tricked into doing anything that their former colonial masters want?
      Sylvanus Olympio was killed after a coup justified, in public at least, because the President had been too close to the French. Why would the French want him dead and what is the evidence that they had anything to do with it?
      Amilcar Cabral, Eduardo Mondlane and Félix-Roland Moumié all died before independence - at the hands of their current, not former colonial masters. All were involved in, or planning, armed resurrections. Their deaths were aimed at stopping decolonisation, not ruining independence; their deaths meant that they were never compromised by post-colonial politics, not that they would have led their countries wisely.
      So that leaves Mehdi Ben Barka (the French have form, they probably did it, but there is some evidence that Ben Barka was working FOR French intelligence) and Patrice Lumumba (whose death was the start of the long tragedy that is the Congo). As evidence for a thesis goes, this is pretty weak.
      The history of Africa is not, and has never been, decided solely in western capitals (or by western capital).


    • [​IMG] smuglyfrombrazil 17 January 2011 11:06PM

      Deebee
      17 January 2011 3:04PM
      I hardly think that praise from Fidel Castro is a ringing endorsement for anyone
      ...........................................................................................................
      Actually, back in 1966, praise from Fidel was a ringing endorsement.


    • [​IMG] Deebee 18 January 2011 6:00AM

      Sulaak
      17 January 2011 8:34PM
      It's obvious that you have very limited understanding of the situation in the Congo before independent. DRC had only 6 university graduates and no black technician before 1960. A country the size of Western Europe with only 6 graduate was always going to struggle in this modern world.
      Actually I have a very good understanding of the DRC and its history. I've visited it regularly on business trips and spend a lot of time chatting to Congolese here in South Africa. Nowhere did I condone Lumumba's murder - I simply suggested that it was a shallow argument to say that Congo would have prospered had he lived. There is little evidence of that. And I stick to my assertion: Africa will not prosper until those interested in her development take stock of the present and future and look to mould that. It's not too tricky.
      smuglyfrombrazil
      17 January 2011 11:06PM
      Deebee
      17 January 2011 3:04PM
      I hardly think that praise from Fidel Castro is a ringing endorsement for anyone
      ...........................................................................................................
      Actually, back in 1966, praise from Fidel was a ringing endorsement.
      Yeah, as was praise from Reagan or Mugabe in 1980 depending on your bent.


    • [​IMG] smuglyfrombrazil 18 January 2011 10:46AM

      Deebee
      18 January 2011 6:00AM
      Yeah, as was praise from Reagan or Mugabe in 1980 depending on your bent.
      You're quite wrong there. In 1966 Cuba was seven years fresh out the Batista dictatorship and Fidel resembled nothing of what he'd become later on.
      If you know nothing about the Cuban Revolution, then read up about it; otherwise you'll know that there was a marked improvement to the quality of life, equality and hopes of its utterly deprived population. Fidel was good for his country at that point, and also gave hope to millions that wanted to shake the US's, erm, 'influence' off their countries.
      Reagan and Mugabe were always assholes. This has nothing to do with political leanings, by the way.


    • [​IMG] smuglyfrombrazil 18 January 2011 11:06AM

      viewedfromafar
      17 January 2011 7:18PM
      Let's not forget that Lumumba had no experience and missed the right education to lead a country. He also spread hatred against whites on the radio.
      ...................................................
      Why the issue of Lumumba's education seems to bother people so much is beyond me.
      How many black Congolese had higher education back then?
      This as a criteria would have disentitled pretty much any black person from governing his own country in the early 60s, as 'colonial masters' didn't exactly open University doors to the colonised.
      Brazil's best president to date and the one with the highest ever rate of approval when leaving office (maybe even worldwide), Lula, is a man whose academic qualifications wouldn't get him a job flipping burgers in the colonial powers.
      As for the hate against whites... do you find that surprising at all?


    • [​IMG] RossCopeland 18 January 2011 1:07PM

      Deebee reads some 'interesting' things into both the article and my post:
      I live in Africa and work across this fabulous continent, and almost without exception, the countries making the best progress are the ones that have stopped blaming the West for everything and started pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps.
      RossCopeland has a whole series of things he would have mentioned in the article as well, but they won't make a jot of difference to African development - in fact by constantly harping on with a victim psychosis, Africa-apologists do this continent and its people no good at all.
      Putting things into perspective does not one an apologist make. The perspective to which I am referring is the the connection between, for example, the ousting from power of Jacabo Arbenz in Guatemala; the CIA-backed coup against Allende in Chile; the forming and arming of and subsequent support for the Contras in Nicaragua; the CIA-supported murder of Lumumba.... the list could go on and on but the few examples mentioned above should suffice to illustrate that through the 50's 60's ands 70's whenever leaders came to power in LDCs who attempted to use their country's resources to, to paraphrase Deebee, pull their countries up by the bootstraps, they were rapidly despated from office, often from life. The west, primarily but not solely the US has made it abundantly clear that they will ot tolerate LDCs having control of their own resources.
      The heavy handed means of coup and assassination have largely given way to control/enforcement through the IMF and IBRD the issue, however, remains very pertinant. Stating these things has nothing to do with a victim psychosis anymore than sitting down to a game of poker and noticing one of your opponants has a stack of aces up his sleave and therefore insisting on a new deck has. It's simply telling things as they are and using history to help explain the present - if you don't know how you got somewhere, you can't possibly move forward.
      In short, if you don't understand that the muder of Lumumba, etc., was part of a pattern of keeping the poor the poor and ensuring western corporate access to and, indeed, control of LDC resources, you are either willfully blind or shamefully ignorant.


    • [​IMG] NeuerHause11 18 January 2011 2:49PM

      Deebee
      17 January 2011 3:04PM
      I hardly think that praise from Fidel Castro is a ringing endorsement for anyone, whilst Nyerere, whilst loved by Tanzanians, wrecked the economy of that country. The article really is written through rose-tinted spectacles and supposes that Lumumba would have remained both an idealist and committed to the growth of the...
      .... bloody hard work, accountable governments and proper economic political will.
      Dear Deebee,
      Although your comments rose the point that idealism wouldn't bring outright economic prosperity for the Congo - though reasonable, the intention is rather dubious. Assuming your premises that colonial powers should remain in Africa with all human atrocities and the exploitative nature they steadily fed, African idealists such as Lumumba should remain unspoken and indifferent while the country was being sucked up of all its blood and life. Should your premises remain, it is critical that key facts are espoused:
      First, all economic structures created by colonial powers were to supply the colonials to an increase in economic misery of the local population. Belgium, in particular, had no regard to excel the Congolese people in any form. By 1960s, only 6 university graduates to a population of more than thousands. For the Belgium, the Congolese people were simply functional servants of white explorer.
      Second, although Fidel Castro is ostracized by Western powers, which you probably support, his influence in the African collective conscience is much praised, and should be so. When the True African History is revised and rewritten, historical figures such as Fidel Castro won't be in the dark side in the history of African countries' struggle against colonial supremacy.
      Third, alike Nkrumah, Lumumba knew that economic prosperity will take a long way to come, and as all visionaries, he knew it would come. Independence was the beginning, not the end, of economic misery. He was not nonsensical as your comments brutally imply.
      Fourth, you have a very spurious intention: you are attempting to justify the unjustifiable. The very failure of post-independence African economies are due, largely, of the international economic system, which is controlled and managed by former colonial powers. Notice how unfair the international trade system unfavored developing countries, with African economies remaining mostly on the losing side. It was not enough that those economies lack most, if not all, the basic economic infrastructures to fairly compete with most developed economies, their also lack political capital.
      Fifth, the point implying that Africa would disappoint us even if, hadn't the West, as you mentioned, "snuffed out the leading lights," is rather disturbing, if not, disgraceful. You imply that killing is acceptable which takes me to the point that you recognize that the West has blood in its hands and you have no shame to assume it.
      Sixth, had those "leading lights" not being assassinated, Africa would hopefully experience a different path in post-independence governance. The West denied Africans the chance to take the fate of the continent in their our hands. Those assassinations served the West in two ways: to instigate political instability by the token "rule and divide," and to have the control of the political realities of the continent.
      Those two elements of power have ample examples in the continent. Look the influence of France in the continent ( Ivory Coast, Gabon, Cameron, etc).
      Seventh, it is necessary that "bloody hard work, accountable governments and proper economic policies" should surface in the continent if it is to develop, however, they do not emerge from the sky. Solid grounds should coexist with those factors. References to the colonial history does not serve as an excuse for inaction, as you infer, but as an opportunity for Africans to learn and be inspired from it.
      What is worrisome in your comments is that it assumes that it would be enough for Africans have governments with sound economic policies and democratic practices to justify the abusive and inhuman economic exploration from the colonial powers.
      It is all things but true.The Western world economic system has made post-independence African countries hostage to the West's maneuvers of the system. The economic schemes of the IMF and the World Bank are the most clear cut example of this practice. They demand African countries to liberalize their economies which has hardly worked, and when it does, it erodes all gains of those crippled economy.
      Give me one positive example of the implementation of IMF's schemes that is successful in the continent, and I will give you ten examples which will distress you simplistic idea that Africans alone is to blame.
      Seeking to defend the indefensible is rather perilous.


    • [​IMG] jadedhack 18 January 2011 2:58PM

      This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.


    • [​IMG] nwajij 19 January 2011 12:42PM

      @LittleMalik, I am still waiting for my apology.
      To conclude that me describing the term Tribal as REAL in Caps is borderline racist really goes to show what you know.
      Dude, I am an African, and like any other African, we know what being tribalistic means. Let me help you. It means that someone doesn't like you or will deny you your basic rights, or attempt to wipe out everyone from your ethnicity because you come from a particular tribe.
      Tribes existed in Africa with concrete differences long before the white men even set foot on the continent. The only difference were that these tribes existed as independent kingdoms. The colonialists came and lumped very different people together and called them one and expected them to get along post independence, yeah right!
      So when you ask what the conflict is, I hope I have been able to answer.
     
  4. G

    Gad ONEYA JF-Expert Member

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    umeiharibu thread hii kwa copy bila uchaguzi
     
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