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February 16, 2003

Belgium, the blood of the Congo stains your hands.

(first --- if you haven't yet, read this article by Bret Stephens regarding Indirect Responsibility.)


The Belgians see themselves as having the moral right to try Sharon. History, however, teaches us a different lesson:


"An open space in the South Congolese jungle, January 17th, 1961. Illuminated by
some headlights, the Belgian captain gives the order to open fire. A thunderous
salvo of rifle fire echoes through the jungle. Almost immediately Patrice Lumumba,
the Congo's first and only democratically elected Prime Minister and two of his ministers fall to the ground, mortally wounded." Source.


"along with the uncounted thousands who died of disease and famine, many Congolese were killed by Leopold's agents for failing to meet production quotas for ivory and rubber, the territory's principal sources of wealth before its diamonds, copper and zinc were discovered. Mr. Hochschild estimates the total death toll during the Leopold period at 10 million." Source.


"Two cases (of mutilation) came to my actual notice while I was in the lake district. One, a young man, both of whose hands had been beaten off with the butt ends of rifles against a tree; the other a young lad of 11 or 12 years of age, whose right hand was cut off at the wrist. . . . I both these cases the Government soldiers had been accompanied by white officers whose names were given to me. Of six natives (one a girl, three little boys, one youth, and one old woman) who had been mutilated in this way during the rubber regime, all except one were dead at the date of my visit." Source.



Israeli Civil Rights Group Seeks Prosecution of Former Belgian Officials for Murder of African Leader (IMRA)


In 1960, the Congo won independence from Belgium and elected Patrice Lumumba as their first prime minister. In December 1960, Lumumba was arrested and on January 17, 1961, he was dragged from his cell and brutally tortured by Belgian police officials. In the evening he was brought, along with two other members of his party, before a police firing squad and executed.
A Brussels-appointed governmental commission found that Belgium was indeed responsible for the African leader's killing in 1961. The Government of Belgium offered an official apology to the Lumumba family, but no individuals were prosecuted for the crime.


See also Lawmaker Seeks to Prosecute Belgians over Congo - Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)