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The King deeply regretted the mistreatment

The King deeply regretted the mistreatment

“Here before the people, I will deeply regret what happened,” said King Philip of Belgium during his visit to Kinshasa, the capital of the Congo.

The speech outside the Congolese parliament is called historical. The country was a colony under “Uncle Philip” and later under Belgium until 1960.

Colonialism was based on exploitation. It was based on a relationship of imbalance, domination and racism. There was abuse and humiliation.

After this part of the speech, the king was met with applause.

The visit of Queen Mathilde and King Philip is the royal couple’s first visit to the Congo, and the first from the Belgian royal family in 12 years. It hurts, but the intention is that the visit will also symbolize a new beginning in the relationship between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Belgium.

It was a personal colony

Few countries have such a bloody history as the Congo. In 1885, the Congo Free State was created with King Leopold II of Belgium as sole owner. After that, the brutal exploitation of the land that was the king’s personal property began. Leopold is the “uncle of tippolde” for today’s king.

The numbers are uncertain, but it is estimated that at least ten million people lost their lives as a result of King Leopold’s rule. After some atrocities were revealed, the king was forced to relinquish control. Then Belgium seized the colony and renamed it the Belgian Congo. The country did not gain its independence until 1960.

Return: King Philip and Queen Mathilde visited the National Museum in Kinshasa on Wednesday. The king returned a mask from the Congo that had been brought to Belgium many years ago. Photo: Justin Makangara/Reuters

Two years ago, King Philip wrote a letter to the President of the Congo expressing his deep regret for the “wounds, suffering and humiliations inflicted on the country by both the former King and the Belgian State. He regretted the violence and atrocities committed by his relatives and the Belgian State. This was the first time he had endured A representative of the royal family is responsible for what happened during the colonial era.

Congo is one of the largest countries in the world with more than 84 million people. It is four times larger than France and 80 times larger than Belgium. The country has significant natural resources and minerals, including diamonds and gold. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has the potential to be one of the richest countries in the world, but it has been ravaged by war and economic mismanagement for many years.

hand back mask

Before the king made his apology, he returned a mask that originally came from the Congo. The mask was one of many in the Museum of Africa, located in Tervuren outside central Brussels. The museum had an African stuffed animal on display for many years, before it was removed. The mask represents the first of many that will be returned from Belgium to the Congo.

Written letter: Two years ago, King Philip wrote a letter to the President of the Congo apologizing for the behavior of his relative and the country of Belgium when the Congo was a colony.  Photo: Thierry Charlier/AFP

Written letter: Two years ago, King Philip wrote a letter to the President of the Congo apologizing for the behavior of his relative and the country of Belgium when the Congo was a colony. Photo: Thierry Charlier/AFP

In addition to Queen Mathilde, Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo and a number of ministers will also attend the state visit.

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