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Lumumba’s Politics Are What Really Need to Return

Perry Blankson

When the European imperialist powers decided among themselves to carve up Africa during the 1884-5 Berlin Conference, they granted Léopold his wish, officially recognizing the International African Association of the Congo (later the Congo Free State). In what was to represent a long-lasting relationship, the United States was the first nation to recognize Léopold’s claim to this land prior to the Conference, and lobbied the European powers to do the same... Photographer Alice Seely Harris brought to life the horror of Léopold’s rule in the Congo Free State through her now-famous photograph of Congolese man Nsala in 1904. In the photograph, Nsala sits grief-stricken before the severed hand and foot of his five-year old daughter, Boali, who had been mutilated and killed as his punishment for failing to meet his rubber quota. ... Without once stepping foot in the Congo Free State, it is estimated that Léopold’s genocide massacred at least ten million Congolese from 1885 until the time he ceded control of the territory to the Belgian government in 1908.