Remembering 130 years of European Imperialism
Africa Shall Rise:
Time for Europe to apologize! Time for Africa to Forgive!
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, the Final Treaty Act of the Berlin Conference for Africa was officially signed on February 26, 1885. As we approach the anniversary of that historic day, it is important to consider and evaluate its disastrous consequences for the African peoples. There were 14 world powers present at Berlin – eleven major European ones along with the United States, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire. The fate of millions of Africans was decided by others while they were never given a voice in the matter; there was not even one African representative at this major event that shaped world history, and especially the histories of both Africa and Europe.
The Berlin Conference did accomplish several important things:
1. It gave possession of the Congo, a territory of over one million square miles, to one man – King Leopold II of Belgium.
2. It determined the rules of trade in the Congo and Niger basins.
3. It set the rules for the European annexation of the African interior.
The following colonization period was in many ways disastrous to the African peoples and cultures. Prior to Berlin 80% of Africa’s land belonged to its natives. The Conference set off the criminal period known as The Scramble for Africa (1885-1914) – one of the biggest land grabs in world history.
In the Congo Free State, which King Leopold II founded a few months after Berlin, an African Holocaust took place over the next two decades, accompanied by massacres, rapes, atrocities, burnt villages, and mutilations.
Over 10 million Congolese people met unnatural deaths there under the Belgian King’s orders in order to make the infamous monarch wealthy during the global rubber boom, which began in 1890. In 1908 under international pressure Belgium bought the Congo away from Leopold II and changed its name to Belgian Congo. Belgium continued to plunder Congo’s minerals and wealth for another 52 years and then brutally assassinated the leader of Congolese Independence Patrice Lumumba in 1961.
All of the other six European powers, which, inspired by Leopold’s maneuvers, participated in the African occupation – Great Britain, France, Portugal, Germany, Italy, and Spain, violated Article 6 of the Berlin Treaty Act, which called for humane treatment of the native populations of the continent. They committed crimes there through their colonial administrations till the times of the independence struggles, and even in the post-colonial period.
The time has come to demand apologies from the European nations, which colonized Africa and committed crimes against the African peoples. The time has come for the international community to denounce the Congo Free State regime as one of the worst crimes against humanity and demand admission and apology from Belgium for the African Holocaust committed by Leopold II, who is celebrated in Belgium as a national hero while in fact he was one of the greatest criminals in history. This act of moral admission will bring about the healing of wounds in Africa and bring catharsis to Europe from this heavy moral historical burden. The time has also come for Africa to forgive Europe of the crimes committed and experience healing of past wounds.
For these reasons we are conducting a campaign in Washington, DC, USA, under the title:
Africa Shall Rise: Remembering 130 years of European Imperialism
The campaign will consist of the following public events:
1. A Christian Conference in Silver Springs, Maryland, titled “Gospel Celebration” with the African Community will take place on February 20-22, 2015. The main organizer of the conference is Bishop Elise Mulumba. A lecture on that sad history will be given at that conference.
2. A press conference will be given for the media at the National Press Club in DC on February 23, 2015.
3. There will be a rally-march to the seven embassies of the European countries, which colonized Africa, on February 24 2015. The march will begin at the Embassy of Germany (4645 Reservoir Road Northwest ) at 10:30 AM. At each embassy a declaration will be read demanding apologies from the respective European nations to its former African colonies. The grand finale of the march will be at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium (3330 Garfield Street Northwest) around 3:00 PM; Belgium was indirectly responsible for the African Holocaust committed under Leopold II, directly responsible for the crimes committed in the Belgian Congo, and also responsible for currently denying the true history and crimes of the Congo Free State.
4. On February 25 and 26, 2015, we will continue protesting in front of Belgium’s Embassy and a petition to the US Congress will be deposited demanding a firm declaration denouncing the Congo Free State regime as a mass crime against humanity. By such a declaration the United States will take its historical responsibility for being the first country to accord diplomatic recognition to Leopold’s Congo territory on April 22, 1884 and also as one of the powers present at Berlin.
5. Representatives of the campaign organizers will be available for interviews and answer questions relevant to the campaign.
We welcome your participation at these events this month!
You can get in touch with us at: [email protected]
Thank you for your attention!