Patrice Lumumba

Purple

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Today's Irish Times has an article about the return of a tooth to the family of the former Prime Minister of The Congo, Patrice Lumumba, murdered at the behest of Belgian authorities in 1962 in order to protect Belgian mining interests in their former colony. His body was dissolved in acid with the tooth taken as a trophy by a Belgian Colonial police officer who later want public about the event.
It's possible that no single event since the Second World War led to more bloodshed. His removal led to the installation by Belgium and its Western Allies of the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, decades of war and instability in the region and the Congolese Civil War of the late 1990's and 2000's. The total deaths caused by that war was well over 5 million. It was the biggest war since the Second World War and was the direct result of the actions of the Belgians (with the active support of the American's, French and British) in the 1960's which overthrew a democratically elected government and plunged tens of millions of people into poverty and hopelessness.
Belgium, and their king Leopold II, were already responsible for the deaths of upwards of 10 million people in the Congo region so they had a track record in mass murder.

What's remarkable about the Irish Times article is that it makes no mention of Roger Casement, a key player in the eventual removal of Leopold from the ownership of the Congo. Yes, he owned it. The Belgian State bought it from him after the international revulsion felt after his crimes were made public.
My personal political hero is Edmund Dean Morel, the man who took on Leopold and won.

Their mismanagement of the region, including Rwanda contributed significantly to the Rwandan Genocide. Without the murder of Lumumba there's a strong possibility that not have happened either.

So, Belgian ownership of the Congo up to 1960's = around 10 million deaths.
Belgian murder of Patrice Lumumba = around another 7-8 million deaths.

 

cremeegg

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The Russians named a University after him.

 

Purple

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The Russians named a University after him.

I presume the irony is lost on most Russians; a university founded with the stated aim “to give an education to people who had liberated themselves from colonialist oppression”, as Russia attempts to re-conquer it's own former imperial colonies, since most of Ukraine was conquered by Potemkin for Catherine the Great in 1793.

It's a case of History repeating itself as Russia annexed Crimea 10 years previously in 1783 on the pretext of bringing peace to the area and protecting local Russians who had been planted there. The Russians and Ottomans were fighting over whose stooge was going to be in charge in a nominally independent Crimea.

Putin is copying from her Imperial Playbook but he's no Catherine the Great and he certainly doesn't have a Potemkin.
 
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