The protests, anti-racism work after the death of George Floyd in the hands of the police in the United States have resulted in the world déboulonnage or to the degradation of several statues of personalities controversial.
The statue of the ex-Belgian king Leopold II in Antwerp, with his long beard, and jacket with shoulder pads, was vandalized last week, as several other in Belgium. It was partially burned and covered with red paint, symbolizing the blood shed by the people of the congo, colonized by the Belgians.
Tuesday, it was pulled out of a square to be transported into the reserves of a museum, where its status should be " reviewed ". And another statue has been déboulonnée by activists in the night from Thursday to Friday in the brussels commune of Auderghem.
For the perpetrators of these acts, Leopold II embodies the violence of the colonial system in the Congo (where the sovereign has never set foot) : forced labour, corporal punishment, severed hands. "He has killed over 10 million Congolese people ", has accused the belgian group Repair History.
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Belgium more than the DRC in the face of its colonial past
Nothing of this in Kinshasa, at the approach of the 60th anniversary of the independence of the former belgian Congo, on June 30. On the heights of Kinshasa, in a haven of greenery and peace, a statue of the late king of the Belgians Leopold II overlooks the Congo river, far from the wave of destruction of symbols of colonial in the West, that leaves the Congolese marble.
The monument to the memory of the belgian monarch, who made the Congo his personal property between 1885 and 1908, a throne next to that of his successor, Albert I, and the founding of Leopoldville (now Kinshasa), the british explorer Henry Stanley.
The figures in this trio of colonial history is located away from the urban hustle and bustle, behind the high gates of the parc presidential du Mont-Ngaliema, natural belvedere with panoramic views of the river, between " Kin " and Brazzaville, the capital of the current Congo.
Open to the public, under guard of the military, the park is also home to the national museum of ethnography and the stelae of the abandonment of a cemetery " pioneer builders of the belgian Congo ".
The museum is closed due to sars coronavirus. Its a few agents present this Wednesday, have barely heard about the protests against the effigies of Leopold II in Belgium.
" The statue of Leopold II, for us, it reflects a story, a memory. This is in reference to our children, " says José Batekele, director of collection at the national museum.
" If, in Belgium, they believe that they must destroy the monuments, because there is a strong african diaspora, we have taken note of. It is a case of the belgo-belgian, which does not concern us directly, " says the historian Isidore Ndaywel. "In Congo, we have our priorities, which are other for the moment," added the respected voice of the civil society, which cites the killings in the East and corruption.
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The Congolese concerned with other emergencies
"compared to Leopold II, we will say that it is in the past, a past that was traumatizing," says Moses Tangamo, a banker cross in Gombe, the economic centre of the capital. The young man, questioned by AFP, calls for the teaching of " what really happened during slavery and the colonisation of Africa in general ".
High six meters, the statue of the bronze green of Leopold II has not always quietly toisé the vicinity of the Congo river from the hills of mont Ngaliema. Inaugurated in 1928 by Albert I, the work was first installed in front of the palace of the Nation, the current building of the presidency.
The monument was removed in 1967 on the orders of the dictator marshal Mobutu Sese Seko, at the height of his policy of "return to authenticity" of africa.
Forgotten for nearly forty years, the statue has reappeared in the city centre, on the boulevard du 30-Juin, a beautiful morning in February 2005. This statue " is part of our heritage. I decided to rehabilitate, as I do for others, " said the minister of Culture of the time, Christophe Muzungu.
A year ago, before the belgian Senate, the young congolese president, Joseph Kabila, had made a surprising tribute to the missionaries, and belgian civil servants " who believed in the dream of king Leopold II of building, in the centre of Africa, a State ".
But the rehabilitation of the statue has been very brief : for obscure reasons, she had been redéboulonnée at the end of 24 hours.
" Frankly, we have more urgent problems to settle in the Congo than to ask whether or not the statue of Leopold has its place here ", ironisait then a young lawyer, questioned by the AFP. The statue has finally joined the heights of the park, renovated in 2010 with the support of the united Nations Mission in Congo (Monusco).
The three statues of Leopold II, Albert I and Stanley y are placed side by side with a sculpture in memory of the congolese soldiers of the colonial army. "The idea was to make an open-air museum," sums up the historian Isidore Ndaywel.
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