posts 1 - 15 of 28
freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 288

Reading: Excerpt from Adam Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghost (1999), pp. 129ff, 158ff (Several of you read this book for your summer reading. Yay you! If you are one of those folks, take a look at these pages for a reminder; if you are not one of the summer reading folks, make sure you read all of this)


"The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much."


—Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1902)


I’d say Conrad’s quote is….an understatement (to say the least)? The British writer Joseph Conrad, who wrote the novel Heart of Darkness (it’s a complicated and not-uncontroversial novel and certainly a book that you all MUST read before you die, if you have not already read it for English) after traveling up the Kongo River in 1890, said about the people of Africa that yesterday’s “savages” were “tomorrow’s paragons of civilization.”


The people living in the Kongo were most certainly not savages. But their history was profoundly affected and, sadly, reshaped by western intervention. The Kingdom of Kongo was founded c. 1390 CE by KiKongo speaking people (Congo with a C is the result of Portuguese translation.). Most Congolese today speak one of the Bantu language variants. The kingdom reached its height in the mid-17th century but was most definitely affected by corruption, feuds among royal families, and the trade of people to be enslaved. Its center was originally the city of Mbanza, located in what today is (thanks to Portuguese colonial ambitions) Angola. Many members of the royal family and the nobility in Kongo converted to Christianity due to their interaction with Portuguese explorers and (later) missionaries. Kongolese involvement with the slave trade began with the Portuguese demands for slaves and the Kongolese king would use foreign-born (non-Kongolese) people to fulfill the Portuguese demands. Internal strife within the country—separatist groups from different royal families (such as the Soyo)--led to the royal family bartering slaves for foreign help in suppressing rebellions Ultimately the country split in two in the mid-1600s.


Over the course of that history and continuing today, the people of the Kongo created rich artistic and musical traditions; to look at some of this spectacular art, take a look here (and yes, it’s surprising that there’s a large collection of Congolese art sitting in …..Iowa!) as well as here (for more recent masks created by Congolese artists) and to listen to traditional Congolese music (which continues today), check this out.


When the British abolished the slave trade in the early 19th century, the Kingdom of Kongo had to rely on other exports and they turned to trade in ivory and rubber. Needless to say, this made the kingdom very attractive to nations looking to establish colonies to provide them with economic wealth through natural resources.


King Leopold of Belgium saw the continent as “this magnificent African cake.” The imperial ambitions of Europe were achieved by carving up this massive “African cake,” especially during the orgy-like division of the continent at the 1884-1885 Conference of Berlin. No doubt you touched on this at least a little bit—at least I hope that you did—in World History II/AP World.


So in your post, please consider these questions and respond thoughtfully:


  1. What possible justification can there be for colonial control over any nation?
  2. Are there benefits to colonialism? What does the colonialist nation in charge get from the “arrangement”? What does the colonized nation get from the arrangement?
  3. And is what is described in the reading from Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost indicative of the extremes of colonialism, the perils of colonialism, or the norm? (The more you are detailed here in your response, the more it’s clear that you got something meaningful out of this reading.)
  4. Finally, the broadest questions: In your view, what short- and long-term effects did the colonization of Africa have on the development of nations on the continent and their status today? And what responsibility, if any, do the colonizing nations have for their former colonial subjects and the nations that emerged after colonialism ended?

(And by the way, lest you think this is only an African issue, think about all the nations in Asia and the Middle East, not to mention Latin and South America that were once colonial subjects! And if you think about it, we, here in the US, were too.)


Please be sure to post on this in a timely fashion and be certain to reference specifics from class AND from Hochschild’s magisterial book.


Also, please be sure that at the close of your post, you (1) pose a question about this issue for the next reader AND (2) reply to the question posed by the person who posted before you did!



Kazuma
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

1. I don't think there is a possible justification for taking colonial control of a nation. The only thing that comes to mind when asked that question has to do with the urge that many countries possess and that is to constantly expand. They would justify their actions by saying that it's for resources and economic reasons. They might not be lying about the last part, but it still does not excuse taking control of another country. Even if they are simply doing it for economic reasons, they are still often causing the erasure of entire civilizations and cultures. The first example of this we see Hochschild speak about is how Congo is now spelled with a C. This comes from the Portuguese translation. That right there is, to me, one of the greatest examples of the atrocities of colonization. They essentially forcefully changed that entire country and culture's name, changing them into something else; something they felt ownership over.

2. I don't think there are any benefits to colonialism. I think that the colonialist nation in charge gets resources, labor, and anything that the colonized nation can offer that they alone have. The colonized nation often only receives tragedy from something. They virtually receive nothing, but rather lose a lot of things. With the people of Kongo, they essentially lost their name, their center city, and a lot more, as did so many other nations that fell victim to colonization.

3. What is described by Hochschild is indicative of the norm of colonialism. There are so many more things involved in colonialism. While I do think that what Hochschild described is terrible, I believe that there are so many things that Hochschild didn't speak about when it comes to colonialism. I think that Hochschild talking about the religion aspect and the effects that the slave trade had on the the people of Kongo and their nation, are all things that you see happen in almost all cases of colonialism. This is why what he described is the norm of colonialism. The one thing that I don’t think is a norm of colonialism is the name change. I haven’t heard of many colonized nations essentially having their names changed due to colonization.

4. The most impactful effect for me that’s due to the colonization of Africa is the extreme loss of culture and the halting of entire civilizations. I think that colonization has caused so many nations to lose so many different aspects of their culture. Colonization completely destroyed some cultures. It also halted so many of those nations from progressing. By ruling a country and completely uprooting the former power present in that country, it changes the way a country develops and then once the colonist nation leaves, they don’t do anything to help the formerly colonized nation. This makes it extremely difficult to be able to participate in the global economy. The colonizing nations have a massive responsibility to the nations they formerly colonized as they are all, for lack of a better term, living lavishly at the expense of the nations they colonized. They used colonization to further themselves while holding down any possible competition. This is why they owe so much towards the nations they formerly colonized as they were the reasons some of those nations struggled drastically, and still may even be struggling right now.

Question: Do you think it is possible for us to get these former colonist nations to address their past and pay reparations, in whatever form that may be, to the nations they so drastically hurt?

girlboss16
Boston, Massachussetts, US
Posts: 27
  1. Colonizers search for justification for their actions, claiming that they are helping the people that they are actually subjugating. There is no good or valid reason to colonize another country. Time after time, it results in massacres and destruction for the country, economically and technologically. The only “beneficial” idea that I could think of is if a country has the urge to expand. An example we see of this is when Hochschild speaks about how the Congo is now spelled with a C. This spelling comes from the Portuguese translation. I see this as a prime example of colonization, as a country forced another country to change it’s entire name.
  2. There are benefits to colonialism, but it only benefits the colonizer, the one in charge. At times, the colonizers will end up investing in infrastructure. These investments can benefit the colonized peoples at first because it gives them access to trade routes or railroads, for example. These conveniences, however, do not make up for the long term damage and trauma. Leopold’s Ghost shows how colonizers get a great load of monetary gain out of their “arrangements” through trade deals with joint-stock companies similar to the East India Company.
  3. I think that Leopold’s Ghost shows the norms of colonialism. In a way, it demonstrates the ways in which colonizers refuse to acknowledge how the land is already occupied. In this book, Leopold just comes in and establishes a nation without caring to recognize that there was already a nation in place before him. I also think that this reading shows how religion was used as an excuse to justify colonization, because there was a Catholic Church put in place. He also explained how this was normalized when the native people were enslaved to harvest natural resources.
  4. The effects of colonization of Africa is seen in both long and short terms. In short terms, colonization devastated local populations and caused there to be revolts everywhere. The arrangement led to millions of local people being controlled and abused in order to maximize profits. The colonizers did not care one bit about the treatment of the native, local people they colonized. They prioritized the industries that generated a profit for the empire, leading many innocent people to be killed. In long terms, colonization toppled the industrialization of the country, as well as the centralization of the government and populations.

Question: Has the US done anything to benefit, or anything to hurt, various nations through acts of imperialism?

girlboss16
Boston, Massachussetts, US
Posts: 27


Question: Do you think it is possible for us to get these former colonist nations to address their past and pay reparations, in whatever form that may be, to the nations they so drastically hurt?

I think it is possible for former colonist nations to address their past and pay reparations to the nations they hurt. It takes courage, however, these colonist nations should own up to their wrongs and give back to the countries they hurt. It might be hard, though, to economically repay for any damage, as money takes time to come up with.

no name
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

“The Conquest of the Earth…..is not a pretty thing”: Colonizing the Kongo

  1. They claim the land as theirs based on historical, religious, or ethnic grounds. Outright inferiority is the obvious answer as the “inferior” need to be ruled by a more superior, but evolving into a more acceptable way Rudyard Kipling's White Man"s Burden. That it is a necessary evil and altruistic mission to progress the "inferior races".
  1. The only benefit to colonialism is for the colonizer. A more contemporary form of colonization is via Western organizations like the World Bank or the IMF through trade and loans with the condition of having a more laissez faire approach to economics . It seems nice at first with having tons of new resources and money until you owe money to them, then they will leverage that into exploiting local labor, natural resources, and infrastructure due to the deregulation needed to enter these organizations .he rule that helps reinforce this structure in the IMF is the bigger the quotas that country gives, they get more voting power, keeping the wealthier nation on top. The money then gets exported not even staying in the nation keeping the people as impoverished . This is the world system theory where the core (imperialist/colonizer aka England during the age of Imperialism) exports high cost consumer goods from the periphery's cheap labor and raw resources. The economy in this is seen rather as a global instead of a national economy, the periphery do not own their economies, but are an extension of the core. The semi periphery are neither, but try to mimic the core like King Leopard II. This is the arrangement where the core gains everything at the colonized suffering as seen where only King Leopold II was enriched by the rubber rush.
  1. It is the hidden norm of colonialism, the fact that much of this privatized atrocities was covered up. Even more centralized efforts were censored or were documented through a lens where this genocide was justified. State sponsored violence where anybody willing to exterminate entire peoples for an “adventure”. If you are “caught”, a light fee is like 500 francs is all that is needed to make sure you won’t do it again. Since it As historian Michael Parenti said there is no such thing as a poor nation or underdeveloped nation, only overexploited. Africa is perhaps the richest nation, yet still overexploited. The colonizing nations cannot just grant freedom to each colonized nation, as their systems and country are tied into the colonizers world. Colonizer nations need to respect their former colonies independence, which clearly has not been done over the past century (the millions coups, proxy wars, invasions).

q: what do you know about assassination of Patrice Lumumba

Lion03
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 21

The Conquest of the Earth... is not a pretty thing.

  1. Colonial control over any nation often times uses violence and force to gain control. There are no reasonable justifications for colonizing a group of people. Colonizers attempt to create a justification for using blunt force on innocent people, in attempt to make themselves feel better. Religion and Eugenics are two commonly used justifications. Often times, claims of trying to help educate and better people, are used as the reasoning to the public. In reality there is no possible justification for colonization. It is totally unjustifiable for people (who are already in power) to take over a certain land or a certain group of people and exploit these innocent people for labor and slavery.

  1. By taking over innocent places for money, power, wealth, and free labor, the disadvantages far outweigh the benefits. There a little to no benefits regarding colonization. The only one I could think of would be that it technically “unites” everyone under one system. Even with that “benefit” it isn’t really beneficial at all because it is honestly causing more harm than good. Colonizers gain access to resources, transportation, labor, and trade coming into and out of the country, and most importantly money. The colonized supposedly get “unified” under one power, education, and new language. They also get higher death rates, war, and diseases, as well as exploitation of them and their culture. In Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost, it gives insight to how colonized people in the Congo were exploited for their labor and were forced to work under a very powerful king. Slavery of the Congo people was very prevalent. Many brutal and forceful kings and armies deem themselves as helpful by allowing the colonized people to gain a “better” culture.

  1. Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost, is indicative of the norm of colonialism. Hochschild definitely did not say anything good about colonialism however he did not put as much effort and detail in describing the tragedy’s of colonizing innocent places. He didn’t describe the brutality and consequences as much as he should have. Learning about different rebellions and revolutions in various classes such as Spanish and AP World, we have seen the witnesses of these battles describe these tragedies for what they are. Other witnesses have described the revolutions in such detail that it is disturbing, yet insightful. This is why what he described is the norm of colonialism. Hochschild’s instance was NOT an extreme of colonization by justifying colonialism with the need for resources and religion. The book shows a few extremes of colonialism however, King Leopold used to force them to collect rubber and ivory and he also explained how this was normalized when the native people were enslaved.

  1. In my opinion the (relatively) short term effects contain consequences such as degradation of natural resources, destruction of economy, a depleting population, urbanizations, and new foreign diseases. All around the economies and social structures fell. The long-term effects that are present from colonization are racism, tensions amongst communities, and an overall hierarchy of society. These effects have cause the continent as a whole to be at a disadvantage around the world. We see this commonly for example when in class many people were unable to name more than a couple of countries in Africa, and how the education of African slavery is taught in a white-washed way. We do not learn about the extreme brutality in detail and is often just looked over. I think the colonizing nations owe their former colonial subjects an apology as well as taking responsibility for their actions and never repeating these actions. A good way to show respect would be making the colonial subjects history taught in school in order to preserve the previous culture.

Question: Do you think taking responsibility is enough as tribute to previous colonial subjects, or do actions speak louder than words? Explain

pseudonym
boston, Ma, US
Posts: 25

"The Conquest of the Earth...is not a pretty thing: Colonizing the Kongo"

Colonialism cannot be justified especially when talking about a massive oppression on a certain group of people as a result of it. When I think of a way I could justify colonialism,not many things come to mind but one. Although this does not justify the tourture and affects groups of people have had due to colonialism, it has been proved all throughout history that human interactions bring people new ideas, culture, food, languages, social benefits, economic benefits and religion (to name a few). Take our country for example, a melting pot of all cultures. When you think of the world as a place to exchange knowledge it is a beautiful thing. However the thing that makes my argument quite debatable is how the benefit from these exchanges only benefited one side instead of both sides. The economic growth of America due to the cotton industry was carrying America to be successful,but it also meant that millions of african americans were being stripped of their rights. Inhumane conditions they were placed in. So does this really make colonialism justifiable?


Specifically with the people of congo, they were forced into labor unwillingly as well as put in conditions that were inhumane. One of the worst parts of it was that they were in their homeland being forced into working land by intruders. This abundance of power was so large that there was hardly anything they could do to fight for justice. After Europeans started to settle down in Congo they fully had no problem making their resources (of the Congo) without feeling any remorse. They had chained their slaves togther to then later send them off in horrible conditions of work long hours under the heat. All of this hard work from the slaves labor would only benit the king (white). In return for all the damange and misrable life, the slaves recieved nothing. However it is nothing different from other encounters we have learned about white europeans taking over african land, resources and most importantly the rights of citizens. Unfortunately there are/were many many encounters like this one.


I think of long and short term Effects that colonization had on Africa. I mostly think about how their original culture was stripped away from many countries in Africa. Instead they still live based on the more European culture which includes religion. Catholicism was one of the main reasons that Europeans wanted to invade other lands and convert people who weren't Catholic. There are also many languages still to this day spoken in Africa such as Italian and French to name a few which shows the influence that Still Remains on these countries from colonization in the past. It's sad to think that many Africans will never know their true culture or practice anything that has to do with their true culture because of the multiple Generations before them that were forced to forget about it and adapt to this new culture that the Europeans were implementing.


QUESTION: Do you think it is realistic and could be seen in the future that countries who still to this day live their life with influences of European culture go back to their original culture before it was taken from them?




pseudonym
boston, Ma, US
Posts: 25

Originally posted by Lion03 on February 07, 2022 17:24

  1. Colonial control over any nation often times uses violence and force to gain control. There are no reasonable justifications for colonizing a group of people. Colonizers attempt to create a justification for using blunt force on innocent people, in attempt to make themselves feel better. Religion and Eugenics are two commonly used justifications. Often times, claims of trying to help educate and better people, are used as the reasoning to the public. In reality there is no possible justification for colonization. It is totally unjustifiable for people (who are already in power) to take over a certain land or a certain group of people and exploit these innocent people for labor and slavery.

  1. By taking over innocent places for money, power, wealth, and free labor, the disadvantages far outweigh the benefits. There a little to no benefits regarding colonization. The only one I could think of would be that it technically “unites” everyone under one system. Even with that “benefit” it isn’t really beneficial at all because it is honestly causing more harm than good. Colonizers gain access to resources, transportation, labor, and trade coming into and out of the country, and most importantly money. The colonized supposedly get “unified” under one power, education, and new language. They also get higher death rates, war, and diseases, as well as exploitation of them and their culture. In Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost, it gives insight to how colonized people in the Congo were exploited for their labor and were forced to work under a very powerful king. Slavery of the Congo people was very prevalent. Many brutal and forceful kings and armies deem themselves as helpful by allowing the colonized people to gain a “better” culture.

  1. Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost, is indicative of the norm of colonialism. Hochschild definitely did not say anything good about colonialism however he did not put as much effort and detail in describing the tragedy’s of colonizing innocent places. He didn’t describe the brutality and consequences as much as he should have. Learning about different rebellions and revolutions in various classes such as Spanish and AP World, we have seen the witnesses of these battles describe these tragedies for what they are. Other witnesses have described the revolutions in such detail that it is disturbing, yet insightful. This is why what he described is the norm of colonialism. Hochschild’s instance was NOT an extreme of colonization by justifying colonialism with the need for resources and religion. The book shows a few extremes of colonialism however, King Leopold used to force them to collect rubber and ivory and he also explained how this was normalized when the native people were enslaved.

  1. In my opinion the (relatively) short term effects contain consequences such as degradation of natural resources, destruction of economy, a depleting population, urbanizations, and new foreign diseases. All around the economies and social structures fell. The long-term effects that are present from colonization are racism, tensions amongst communities, and an overall hierarchy of society. These effects have cause the continent as a whole to be at a disadvantage around the world. We see this commonly for example when in class many people were unable to name more than a couple of countries in Africa, and how the education of African slavery is taught in a white-washed way. We do not learn about the extreme brutality in detail and is often just looked over. I think the colonizing nations owe their former colonial subjects an apology as well as taking responsibility for their actions and never repeating these actions. A good way to show respect would be making the colonial subjects history taught in school in order to preserve the previous culture.

Question: Do you think taking responsibility is enough as tribute to previous colonial subjects, or do actions speak louder than words? Explain

I think that actions definatly speak louder than words. although it s good for people to acknoedge the burden that was been put on african countries, it is not enough. For example something that could be helpful is implementing a tax % in the euripean country that colonized the african country and give that money back. for example Italy would collect a tax from their citizens to give back to Eritrea.

redemmed2021
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 26
  1. What possible justification can there be for colonial control over any nation?

I really don’t think that there is any justification for colonial control over any nation. If I have to give an answer, the only way I would see colonization justified is whether there is a mutual agreement established between the colonized people and colonizers. This is never lived out. The colonizers often manipulate and go back on the promise. They mislead the colonized people. Whether its colonization taken place in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin or South America, colonial subjects receive the similar horrible realities that colonial control .In King Leopald’s Ghost the colonizers attempted to justify the atrocities they perpetrated by selfish desires. Colonization provided Leopold's regime with a labor force. The slaves were used in order to help bring glory to the colonizers and soldiers. The resources they slaves were forced to work arduously to retrieve brought money to many soldiers and colonizers.


  1. Are there benefits to colonialism? What does the colonialist nation in charge get from the “arrangement”? What does the colonized nation get from the arrangement?

Yes, there are benefits to colonialism, but these benefits are only experienced by the colonial nation, not the colonized nation. In King Leopold’s Ghost, Leopold explains how he had to attract soldiers by using a get-rich-quick incentive. Ivory was a lucrative commodity that would be retrieved by Congo colonial subjects that would then be given to colonial leaders to use in trade. Rubber also became a very prominent commodity that Leopold's regime utilized to get money through trade. Again, it is not the colonizers that are doing this labor but the colonial subjects. Colonial subjects faced gruesome treatment by the colonial nation that was totally unmerited. The colonial nation receives money and power why the colonial subjects receive death and severe mistreatment.

One of the testimonies recorded in this book was told by “ a woman of great intelligence, named Ilanga”. It is recorded how her village, Waniendo, was attacked by Kibalanga, who was a Force Publique in Leopold's regime. Kibalanga and his men attacked the Niendo people with guns, dragged them in the roads, and beat them. Her village were forced to carry baskets of food and… smoked human flesh. Where did they even get this human flesh? Ilanga mentions how her sister lost her baby because soldiers took the baby from her and tossed it in the field.


  1. And is what is described in the reading from Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost indicative of the extremes of colonialism, the perils of colonialism, or the norm? (The more you are detailed here in your response, the more it’s clear that you got something meaningful out of this reading.)

The events described in King Leopold’s Ghost are indicative of the colonialism norms. The way colonial subjects were treated doesn’t change much in history. Colonial subjects were always abused, manipulated, dehumanized, and exploited to benefit the colonizers. Hochischild addresses some things that I didn't quite know that took place during colonialism.

One of the testimonies recorded in this book was told by “ a woman of great intelligence, named Ilanga”. It is recorded how her village, Waniendo, was attacked by Kibalanga, who was a Force Publique in Leopold's regime. Kibalanga and his men attacked the Niendo people with guns, dragged them in the roads, and beat them. Her village were forced to carry baskets of food and… smoked human flesh. Where did they even get this human flesh? Ilanga mentions how her sister lost her baby because soldiers took the baby from her and tossed it in the field.

A tactic that was used to coerce men to take place in the arduous labor of gathering rubber was to threaten the mens wife’s with death. If a village refused to submit to the rubber regime, troops sometimes shot everyone in sight. This in turn would strike fear among nearby villages as a type of message. Collect rubber or your next. In order to prove that officers were killing these people it was required to cut off the right hand of every corpse and bring it to their authority as proof.

To finish off this question, on the last page we had to read it talked about a myth that was benign spread among Africans. “The cans of corned beef seen in white men; houses, was said, did not contain meat from the animals shown on the label; they contained chopped-up hands.” When I read this sentence I was in utter shock.

Colonialism always brought violence to colonized people. Colonialism always tore apart the families of the colonized people. Colonialism always struck fear within colonized peoples mind. Colonialism always involved catastrophe.



4. Finally, the broadest questions: In your view, what short- and long-term effects did the colonization of Africa have on the development of nations on the continent and their status today? And what responsibility, if any, do the colonizing nations have for their former colonial subjects and the nations that emerged after colonialism ended?


In my view the one example of a short term effect of colonization of Africa is the loss of natural resources. Colonialism ripped Africa of the natural resources that belonged to the native people and took it for their own nations. They did this without thinking about the impact this would have one the colonized people. Many native populations also faced significant drops within their population which in turn affected their economy. Colonialism inhibited the growth of Africa.

Long term effects can be seen in things like racism and stereotypes. Colonialism promoted the idea of racial inferiority and superiority. Colonialism promoted a structure where one party benefits due to the exploitation of another party. A connection that can be drawn from this is the encouragement of bringing immigrants to the US to supply the economy. Colonizing nations should give an apology and acknowledge what they have done. Teaching the history objectively to citizens/people of colonizing nations about colonialism and the nation's impact it had on colonial subjects is another way to take responsibility.



What is something that you learned while reading some pages of King Leopold's Ghost?
redemmed2021
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 26

Originally posted by pseudonym on February 07, 2022 18:16

Colonialism cannot be justified especially when talking about a massive oppression on a certain group of people as a result of it. When I think of a way I could justify colonialism,not many things come to mind but one. Although this does not justify the tourture and affects groups of people have had due to colonialism, it has been proved all throughout history that human interactions bring people new ideas, culture, food, languages, social benefits, economic benefits and religion (to name a few). Take our country for example, a melting pot of all cultures. When you think of the world as a place to exchange knowledge it is a beautiful thing. However the thing that makes my argument quite debatable is how the benefit from these exchanges only benefited one side instead of both sides. The economic growth of America due to the cotton industry was carrying America to be successful,but it also meant that millions of african americans were being stripped of their rights. Inhumane conditions they were placed in. So does this really make colonialism justifiable?


Specifically with the people of congo, they were forced into labor unwillingly as well as put in conditions that were inhumane. One of the worst parts of it was that they were in their homeland being forced into working land by intruders. This abundance of power was so large that there was hardly anything they could do to fight for justice. After Europeans started to settle down in Congo they fully had no problem making their resources (of the Congo) without feeling any remorse. They had chained their slaves togther to then later send them off in horrible conditions of work long hours under the heat. All of this hard work from the slaves labor would only benit the king (white). In return for all the damange and misrable life, the slaves recieved nothing. However it is nothing different from other encounters we have learned about white europeans taking over african land, resources and most importantly the rights of citizens. Unfortunately there are/were many many encounters like this one.


I think of long and short term Effects that colonization had on Africa. I mostly think about how their original culture was stripped away from many countries in Africa. Instead they still live based on the more European culture which includes religion. Catholicism was one of the main reasons that Europeans wanted to invade other lands and convert people who weren't Catholic. There are also many languages still to this day spoken in Africa such as Italian and French to name a few which shows the influence that Still Remains on these countries from colonization in the past. It's sad to think that many Africans will never know their true culture or practice anything that has to do with their true culture because of the multiple Generations before them that were forced to forget about it and adapt to this new culture that the Europeans were implementing.


QUESTION: Do you think it is realistic and could be seen in the future that countries who still to this day live their life with influences of European culture go back to their original culture before it was taken from them?




No, I do not think that it is realistic that countries with European influence will go back to their original culture. Influence of culture I don't thin is always a bad thing. And cultures are always changing as well.

hotchocolate
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 24

Leopold used his authority to make revenue so it could be seen as utilizing this land and these people to make more production and a profit, which would otherwise be left “un-industrialized”. Colonizers have used the idea of civilizing and spreading Catholicism to make the “savage” people into more respectable ones. Maybe in some cases, a certain country is war torn and in need of a central ruler to unify or create peace and colonization is the only answer (the only justification is really the way the colonizers see their actions). Or colonial control could be said that it’s a way to involve everyone in serving the benefit of the people at large and everyone will have a role that is overseen by a higher authority. This way, the economy and relations will be facilitated more easily? I feel like there are definitely economical benefits sometimes but their culture is taken away and the people are exploited by force, which can never be justified unless it’s choosing between colonization or death in an extreme case. From what I remember, the Columbian Exchange was the exchange of goods, diseases, and animals so it encouraged the spread of new ideas and things to change people’s lifestyles and diets. Obviously the native people suffered mass death from being overworked and disease ridden, but maybe a benefit was not being so isolated anymore and making worldly connections. With connections, there are alliances to be made and countries can support each other which a place might not have without colonization.


In King Leopold’s Ghost, there are violent actions like the case of Father Achte where colonization causes more conflict because of the clear inhumane treatment of rebels at the hands of the Belgium officers who shot them easily. Sheppard reported that the people of the Congo would get their hands cut off if they refused to submit their rubber to Leopold’s system, and were often paid with cheap objects otherwise. He exploited the rubber tree resource as a way to pay back investments and he saw competition as a way to personally gain. These naive young men would basically come to the Congo seeking adventure and not pay notice to how their arrival impacted the lives of the native people and they would parade around like Rom saying that they created peace when they really had the power to write their own history. I think the colonizers seek out colonization for a sense of accomplishment because they measure it in how much territory they can acquire and how much they can spend while exploiting other people for cheap labor. There was freedom to be found where they ignored morals and the critiques of society but were even able to gain more status and glory. For colonizers, I think it gives many lost men the opportunity to explore an unfamiliar culture and find independence and grow their status. In one section, Kibalanga, an honored officer, came to the village. People gave hard earned offerings of food to avoid violence and they could tolerate thievery as long as it wasn’t violence. This is really sad that they had to fear for their lives and were the target of trickery, thievery, and violence that the white officers would inflict to feel secure and powerful.


After such a long time of mistreatment, people begin to internalize it and believe that they did something to deserve it. These events of our ancestors cause generational trauma and it’s not like this fear dies out when the people who experienced it do. The colonization of Africa definitely increased an interconnected economic system in terms of African colonies producing raw materials. I read in another article that today, any corruption in African states can be traced back to the effects of colonization. “The work concludes and recommends that for African states to overcome their present social, economic, political, health, education woes, etc., there is the urgent need for the people and the leadership to create their own indigenous identity, culture, technology, economy, education, religion, craft, etc. that would be interwoven in good governance.” There was and is so much lost culture and identity that it does create anger and hopelessness. I feel like the responsibility colonizing nations would have is to make sure to tell the truth and spread the truth because we know that in areas where they have wronged, it can easily be covered up and this continues the line of misinformation. Maybe there could be ways to acknowledge the interactions and colonization of the past and swear it won’t happen again as well as find a way to come together and be friendly. I’m not sure what the relationships are currently between the colonizers and colonized states, but just listening to what the African states need to feel supported is important.


Q: Have you ever suffered from loss of identity and how did you work through it?


hotchocolate
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 24

Originally posted by redemmed2021 on February 07, 2022 19:51

  1. What possible justification can there be for colonial control over any nation?

I really don’t think that there is any justification for colonial control over any nation. If I have to give an answer, the only way I would see colonization justified is whether there is a mutual agreement established between the colonized people and colonizers. This is never lived out. The colonizers often manipulate and go back on the promise. They mislead the colonized people. Whether its colonization taken place in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin or South America, colonial subjects receive the similar horrible realities that colonial control .In King Leopald’s Ghost the colonizers attempted to justify the atrocities they perpetrated by selfish desires. Colonization provided Leopold's regime with a labor force. The slaves were used in order to help bring glory to the colonizers and soldiers. The resources they slaves were forced to work arduously to retrieve brought money to many soldiers and colonizers.


  1. Are there benefits to colonialism? What does the colonialist nation in charge get from the “arrangement”? What does the colonized nation get from the arrangement?

Yes, there are benefits to colonialism, but these benefits are only experienced by the colonial nation, not the colonized nation. In King Leopold’s Ghost, Leopold explains how he had to attract soldiers by using a get-rich-quick incentive. Ivory was a lucrative commodity that would be retrieved by Congo colonial subjects that would then be given to colonial leaders to use in trade. Rubber also became a very prominent commodity that Leopold's regime utilized to get money through trade. Again, it is not the colonizers that are doing this labor but the colonial subjects. Colonial subjects faced gruesome treatment by the colonial nation that was totally unmerited. The colonial nation receives money and power why the colonial subjects receive death and severe mistreatment.

One of the testimonies recorded in this book was told by “ a woman of great intelligence, named Ilanga”. It is recorded how her village, Waniendo, was attacked by Kibalanga, who was a Force Publique in Leopold's regime. Kibalanga and his men attacked the Niendo people with guns, dragged them in the roads, and beat them. Her village were forced to carry baskets of food and… smoked human flesh. Where did they even get this human flesh? Ilanga mentions how her sister lost her baby because soldiers took the baby from her and tossed it in the field.


  1. And is what is described in the reading from Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost indicative of the extremes of colonialism, the perils of colonialism, or the norm? (The more you are detailed here in your response, the more it’s clear that you got something meaningful out of this reading.)

The events described in King Leopold’s Ghost are indicative of the colonialism norms. The way colonial subjects were treated doesn’t change much in history. Colonial subjects were always abused, manipulated, dehumanized, and exploited to benefit the colonizers. Hochischild addresses some things that I didn't quite know that took place during colonialism.

One of the testimonies recorded in this book was told by “ a woman of great intelligence, named Ilanga”. It is recorded how her village, Waniendo, was attacked by Kibalanga, who was a Force Publique in Leopold's regime. Kibalanga and his men attacked the Niendo people with guns, dragged them in the roads, and beat them. Her village were forced to carry baskets of food and… smoked human flesh. Where did they even get this human flesh? Ilanga mentions how her sister lost her baby because soldiers took the baby from her and tossed it in the field.

A tactic that was used to coerce men to take place in the arduous labor of gathering rubber was to threaten the mens wife’s with death. If a village refused to submit to the rubber regime, troops sometimes shot everyone in sight. This in turn would strike fear among nearby villages as a type of message. Collect rubber or your next. In order to prove that officers were killing these people it was required to cut off the right hand of every corpse and bring it to their authority as proof.

To finish off this question, on the last page we had to read it talked about a myth that was benign spread among Africans. “The cans of corned beef seen in white men; houses, was said, did not contain meat from the animals shown on the label; they contained chopped-up hands.” When I read this sentence I was in utter shock.

Colonialism always brought violence to colonized people. Colonialism always tore apart the families of the colonized people. Colonialism always struck fear within colonized peoples mind. Colonialism always involved catastrophe.



4. Finally, the broadest questions: In your view, what short- and long-term effects did the colonization of Africa have on the development of nations on the continent and their status today? And what responsibility, if any, do the colonizing nations have for their former colonial subjects and the nations that emerged after colonialism ended?


In my view the one example of a short term effect of colonization of Africa is the loss of natural resources. Colonialism ripped Africa of the natural resources that belonged to the native people and took it for their own nations. They did this without thinking about the impact this would have one the colonized people. Many native populations also faced significant drops within their population which in turn affected their economy. Colonialism inhibited the growth of Africa.

Long term effects can be seen in things like racism and stereotypes. Colonialism promoted the idea of racial inferiority and superiority. Colonialism promoted a structure where one party benefits due to the exploitation of another party. A connection that can be drawn from this is the encouragement of bringing immigrants to the US to supply the economy. Colonizing nations should give an apology and acknowledge what they have done. Teaching the history objectively to citizens/people of colonizing nations about colonialism and the nation's impact it had on colonial subjects is another way to take responsibility.



What is something that you learned while reading some pages of King Leopold's Ghost?

I learned really specific cases of people under Leopold's authority taking advantage of their power and these events reaffirmed my thoughts about the severely damaging impact colonization has. I think looking at the benefits in terms of economics and exposure was different because I had only considered the negative aspects but nothing justified colonizing the Congo and the native people were almost living like ghosts who suffered endlessly and lacked autonomy.

saucymango
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 25

There should not be any justification for colonial control over any nation. Even if the colonizer argues that they intervened in another country with good intentions and to help them, that has always failed miserably. The US essentially colonized Latin America time and time again to “protect them from European intervention,” but the US took away their sovereignty, did not make their lives better, in fact, worse in many circumstances. How is that any different than if Great Britain or Spain colonizing Latin America?


At the end of the day, the benefits of colonialism all return to the colonizer. As mentioned in the King Leopold reading, any normal person could become a district commissioner and collect taxes, implement policies, impose punishments, and govern without any oversight. Not only do individuals profit from colonization, governments and the entire colonizing nation benefits from the resources, labor and money that is taken from its colonies. The colonized nation experiences a loss of their freedom, rights and oftentimes, life. Hochschild explains that in Congo after Belgium came, they allied with slave traders to enslave local peoples, children were separated from their parents to be sent to missionaries, and throughout both of these processes, too many died. What’s worse is that the Belgian political and religious officials felt no remorse. They believed that Despite the fact that “Several of the little girls were so sickly when they arrived that…our good sisters couldn’t save them, but all had the happiness of receiving Holy Baptism; they are now happy little angels in Heaven who are praying for our great king.” (pg. 135).


I believe that Hochschild’s recount of Belgian colonialism in Belgium describes the norm of colonization across Africa and other continents. While it is the norm, that doesn’t mean it should be the standard. We should not accept the separation of children and families, the attack on personal and governmental autonomy, and ultimately, the persistent denial of an entire nation’s humanity. There is no way you can hold conversations on using lighter chains because the Congo people that you kidnapped fell off the bridges due to the heaviness of their chains, beat your servants to death for five hundred francs, and be willing to abandon the Ten Commandments while treating a group of people, unless you didn’t believe that they were equal human beings.


We often only focus on the short term impacts of colonization, such as death and physical harms to individuals, but that allows us to ignore the implications today and ignore the long term consequences. The complete control over their governments, economies and social structures continues to affect African countries today as much younger countries try to establish stable governments, but due to years of corrupt rule and unequal distributions of wealth, it has become significantly more difficult. Their colonizers are responsible for this phenomenon, and should step in to provide resources to help them improve their governments and economy, but not to interfere directly, as we’ve seen that fail time and time again.


QUESTION: If it is never justified to colonize another nation, is it ever justified to intervene? Where do we draw that line and who determines where that line is drawn?

saucymango
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 25

Originally posted by hotchocolate on February 07, 2022 21:51

Q: Have you ever suffered from loss of identity and how did you work through it?


Post your response here.

I think when I first came to BLS, I felt a strong desire to reject my Asian identity to prevent being just another "Asian nerd." I despised the fact that every time I received a good grade after working and studying hard for it, people would comment that "oh yea it's because you're Asian." This affected pretty significantly until freshman year when I sort of realized that I should be proud of my accomplishments, regardless of how other people perceived them. If they want to belittle me to make themselves feel better or made these comments out of ignorance, then it was their loss if I didn't let them affect me.

Stuart_05
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

1)There is no possible justification. All free nations should be able to govern themselves. Based on the history of the U.S. and around the world, colonization has led to the death of the indigenous population, internal fighting and rivalries among the colonized people, and political instability.

2)The only benefits to colonialism are the economic benefits gained by the colonialist \nation. This includes economic gains by exploiting the natural resources of a country. In the case of Africa, King Leopold confiscated and sold the ivory and rubber. The benefits also gained is free labor, by forcing the indigenous population, including children, to work in inhumane conditions. The colonialist nation essentially controls the economy, political systems and religious institutions. The colonized nation suffers from illnesses, death, loss of identity, and economic dependency.

3)Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost is indicative of the norms of colonialism. At the root of colonialism is racism, the belief that the European race (white) is dominant of the African race (black). In the reading Africans are described as “a race composed of cannibals.” Africans were viewed as essentially as animals that needed to be controlled and christianized. This control also extended to economic control in the form of forced labor. King Leopold essentially claimed most of the land of the Congo and therefore justified his imperialist control by forcing the Africans to work the plantations, kill elephants for ivory, enforce rubber production quotas, and mandating military in the Force Publique. King Leopold also exerted his colonial control by pitting different tribes against one another. This resulted in the deaths of millions of men, women and children by the chicotte whip.

4)The 40 years of colonial rule of the Congo has had a devastating long-term impact. In the short term, millions of people died as a result of illness, beatings, and forced labor. Raw materials such as ivory and rubber were extracted for economic gain. In addition, ethnic rivalries among the African tribes were exploited by King Leopold to secure his political dominance in the Congo. The long term impact has been devastating to the Congo. Presently, it is one of the poorest countries in the world. Millions have died of starvation and thousands have fled to neighboring countries resulting in both economic and political instability. It is also a country with extreme violence and humanitarian abuses. To help address these issues, colonizing nations should help support democratic processes in the Congo and provide economic and humanitarian assistance.

Question: Would you categorize King Leopold as evil as Adolf Hitler?
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