Posts Tagged ‘racial insensitivity’

Foreign Minister Salutes Belgium’s African Past — in Blackface

March 20, 2015

Foreign Minister Salutes Belgium's African Past -- in Blackface
Last week Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders participated in a local Brussels festival. He was in blackface. Ah, the subtitles of diplomacy ….

Les Noirauds (blacks) festival, known as Zwarte in Dutch has aided a childcare charity named Conservatoire Africain since 1876, but the children in question live in Brussels. 1876 is also when King Leopold II started maneuvering with other European powers for a piece of the African Continent. That’s why the Belgian paraders first blacked up: colonial fever.

King Leopold got a piece of Africa in 1885, not for Belgium but as his personal possession. He called it the Congo Free State (État Indépendant du Congo) and ruthlessly exploited its resources and people for his personal enrichment. His mercenaries forced inhabitants into the jungle to harvest wild rubber, and those who refused or missed quotas were killed or tortured. Millions died.

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