Friday, January 30, 2009

Dem. Rep. of the Congo (continued)

Force Publique soldiers in the Belgian Congo in 1918.

During World War II the small Congolese army achieved several victories against the Italians in North Africa. The Belgian Congo which was also rich in Uranium deposits, supplied the uranium that was used to build the American atom bombs which destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in Japan.

Belgian colonialism was utterly paternalistic and geared primarily towards the extraction of natural resources. Belgium exerted tight control over the colony till 1955 and it was seen as an "empire of silence"and model of prosperity.
Belgian Govt. prohibited "political participation" by the natives and denied equal rights. For example, secondary and post-secondary education were discouraged amongst the natives to creat them a middle class citizen. However the publication of a thirty year "decolonisation" plan by a Belgian academic in 1956 stirred controversy among them and political awakening began to grow among the natives.

Since 1959, indigenous political activisim acted as a catalyst to think the Belgium Govt. to recognise political among ifferent ethnicgroups of the natives. Lumamba's Movement National Congolese (MNC), recruited mainly among ethnic members with the ideology of nationalism and ethnic broad mindedness.

A year later, Belgium drafted the constitution of the future sovereign country and five months before inependence they arranged first national elections .

Patrice Lumumba

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