Belgian king regrets Congo colonial past but doesn’t apologise

belgian king regrets congo colonial past but doesn't apologise
belgian king regrets congo colonial past but doesn’t apologise

On Wednesday, King Philippe of Belgium repeated his profound regrets for the exploitation, bigotry, and acts of brutality committed during Belgium’s colonisation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but again refrained from issuing an official apology.

Philippe was the first Belgian official to express remorse for colonisation two years ago, and the Congolese thought he would deliver an official apology during his first visit to Congo since ascending to the throne in 2013.

The colonial government was founded on exploitation and dominance, he told a joint session of parliament in Kinshasa.

“This government was characterised by paternalism, bigotry, and racism,” he explained.

“It led to acts of violence and humiliation. On the occasion of my first journey to Congo, I desire to reiterate my profound remorse for these historical wounds before the Congolese people and those who continue to suffer today.”

Numerous lawmakers and the president of the Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, have enthusiastically welcomed Philippe’s visit. A large number of supporters of the ruling party waved Belgian flags, while a banner hung from the parliament said, “A shared history.”

Others, though, were dismayed by the absence of an apology.

During the first 23 years of Belgian sovereignty, from 1885 to 1960, when King Leopold II ruled the Congo Free State as a personal domain, it is estimated that as many as 10 million Congolese perished due to violence, famine, and illness.

Villages that failed to meet their rubber collection goals were infamously required to offer severed hands as compensation.

“I applaud the remarks of the Belgian king. However, regrets are insufficient in the face of the crimes done by Belgium “Senator of the Congolese opposition, Francine Muyumba Nkanga, stated on Twitter.

“We expect him to offer an apology and a promise of restitution. That is the price for turning the page definitively “She stated,

Nadia Nsayi, a Congo-specialized political scientist, stated that she detected “a great deal of anxiety in Belgium surrounding a formal apology, as Congo could exploit it to demand monetary reparations.”

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