King Leopold's Ghost; We Charge Genocide

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Thu Sep 10 09:44:11 PDT 1998

The estimate of those killed in the rubber trade range from 9 to 17 million people; those tortured and maimed far exceeds that. I reviewed Jacques Depelchin's history, From the Belgian Congo to Zaire: Towards a Demystification of Economic and Political History (CODESRIA Books) for the journal Race and Class in 1994. I have not read Hochschild's book (or a review of it) but it seems to focus on the efforts of E Morel whose Black Man's Burden was reprinted by Monthly Review in the early 1970s (Morel however was less humane at home; from what I understand he shared the outrage of the Germans that the French would use African troops in the Rhineland after victory in WWI--one person who writes perceptively about fears of loss of white prestige is Frank Furedi).

Also worth reading is Mark Twain's King Leopold's Soliloquy. At home I have a book which was published inititally in Russian in the 30s and then translated and republished in the 70s; the author was a black South African who developed Lenin's theory of imperialism to explain the atrocities of European domination of Africa. I can't remember the author's name (he died from pneumonia in Russia in the 30s, so the story goes)nor the title--which I fear says something about my own concession to the value put on African lives. I believe the title is Forced Labor in Colonial Africa.


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