Congo: White King
Red Rubber, Black Death
A Belgium Kings Sins Revealed in Film
Who were the most brutal wielders of machetes in African history responsible for the amputation of thousands of human hands?
Under-age black combatants looking for revenge and survival by joining militia groups in unstable economies?
No. They were greedy Europeans who wanted easy fortunes derived from the sale of rubber for tires for the new auto factories that sprang up at the turn of the twentieth century.
By the time the Europeans were finished with the economic subjugation of the part of Africa called the Congo, an estimated 13 million Africans had been killedmore than twice the deaths attributed to Adolph Hitler during the World War II era.
This little known and often concealed genocidal fury is brilliantly explored in the film, Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death, which will have its first major theatrical screening in the New York City area from October 21-28 at the Quad Cinema at 34 West 13th St. Five showings are scheduled each day, starting at 1 p.m. to 10:55 p.m. to accommodate varied audiences.
Frederick Hudson, marketing consultant for the distributor, Artmattan Productions, noted that the distributors view this film not as a commercial enterprise, but as a mission, a calling for the exploration of the genesis of the African continents current woes. Previous screenings of the film in small venues were extremely well received and the community called for the messages to be shared with all sectors of the community. Schools, churches, human rights groups are encouraged to take advantage of group rates to see this historical expose.
Leopold of Belgium was considered to be one f the first genocidal rulers of Africa. His devastation set into motion a shadow of colonialism which still casts darkness on the richest continent in the world in terms of natural resources. Audience members in the past saw many current parallel with the global crises that challenge our world today.
By the same token, there is a message of redemption of the human spirit in the movie when the human rights movement began in Belgium in response to journalists dogged determination to tell of the horrors that came from one mans desire to degrade mankind.
Ticket information and travel information can be obtained at 212-255-8800. For group sales reservations, call 877-378-7109.
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Read also Esther Iverem’s Revealing Africas Hidden Genocide
posted 21 October 2005
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Film Review by Kam Williams
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By Adam Hochschild
King Leopold of Belgium, writes historian Adam Hochschild in this grim history, did not much care for his native land or his subjects, all of which he dismissed as “small country, small people.” Even so, he searched the globe to find a colony for Belgium, frantic that the scramble of other European powers for overseas dominions in Africa and Asia would leave nothing for himself or his people. When he eventually found a suitable location in what would become the Belgian Congo, later known as Zaire and now simply as Congo, Leopold set about establishing a rule of terror that would culminate in the deaths of 4 to 8 million indigenous people, “a death toll,” Hochschild writes, “of Holocaust dimensions.”
Those who survived went to work mining ore or harvesting rubber, yielding a fortune for the Belgian king, who salted away billions of dollars in hidden bank accounts throughout the world. Hochschild’s fine book of historical inquiry, which draws heavily on eyewitness accounts of the colonialists’ savagery, brings this little-studied episode in European and African history into new light.Gregory McNamee
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Rape Crisis in Congo Tied to Mining ActivityWashington Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, helped launch an international awareness raising campaign called V-Day in 2007 to end sexual violence in eastern Congo. UNICEF estimates that hundreds of thousands of girls have been raped in the last decade in the two eastern provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu. “Corporate greed, fueled by capitalist consumption, and the rape of women have merged into a single nightmare,” Eve Ensler said at U.S. Senate hearings on May 13. “Women’s bodies are the battleground of an economic war.” Ensler said that international mining companies with significant investments in eastern Congo value economic interest over the bodies of women by trading with rebels who use rape as a tactic of war in areas rich in coltan, gold and tin.
“Military solutions are no longer an option,” she said. “All they do is bring about the rape of more women.” The United States has invested more than $700 million in humanitarian aid and peacekeeping to Congo, according to the U.S. Department of State.
Prendergast said this money will do nothing to root out the economic causes of eastern Congo’s conflict and sexual violence.
He said a comprehensive long-term strategy to combat rape needs to change the economic calculus of armed groups. Prendergast asked senators to support the Congo Conflict Minerals Act, which was introduced by Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold in April of this year.
The bill aims to break the link between resource exploitation and armed conflict in eastern Congo by requiring companies trading minerals with Congo or neighboring states to disclose mine locations and monitor the financing of armed groups in eastern Congo’s mineral-rich areas.
“The sooner the illicit conflict minerals trade is eliminated, the sooner the people of Congo will benefit from their own resources,” said Prendergrast. U.S. consumers, Prendergrast said, can also help by pressuring major electronic companies – from Apple to Sony – to certify that cell phones, computers and other products contain “conflict-free minerals,” a campaign tactic popularized by the Sierra Leone-based film Blood Diamonds. Such a process would use a tracking system for components, similar to that developed in 2007 under the Kimberly Process. This international certification scheme ensures that trade in rough diamonds doesn’t fuel war, as it did in Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone during the 1990s.
Germany has already developed a pilot fingerprinting system for tin that could be expanded to other minerals and help establish certified trading chains, linking legitimate mining sites to the international market. Truthout
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Congo has attracted attention in the media [as a place that is suffering] systematic rape in war. One statistic quoted is 200,000 rapes since the beginning of the war 14 years ago, and it is certainly an underestimate. When in Congo, I met government representatives and particularly women who had been raped and violated. It was interesting but also disappointing – nothing is getting better and more and more civilians are committing rapes. But I should be fair and say that there has been progress, the government has introduced laws against rape, it has a national plan and there is political will. There is a lot to do to implement the legislation, but now there is an ambitious legal ground to stand on to be implemented by the police, judiciary and health care. Margot Wallstrom – “There Is Almost Total Impunity for Rape in Congo”
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Missing words have been restored and the entire novel has been repunctuated in accordance with Conrads style. The result is the first published version of Heart of Darkness that allows readers to hear Marlows voice as Conrad heard it when he wrote the story. “Backgrounds and Contexts” provides readers with a generous collection of maps and photographs that bring the Belgian Congo to life. Textual materials, topically arranged, address nineteenth-century views of imperialism and racism and include autobiographical writings by Conrad on his life in the Congo.
New to the Fourth Edition is an excerpt from Adam Hochschilds recent book, King Leopolds Ghost, as well as writings on race by Hegel, Darwin, and Galton. “Criticism” includes a wealth of new materials, including nine contemporary reviews and assessments of Conrad and Heart of Darkness [Contents] and twelve recent essays by Chinua Achebe, Peter Brooks, Daphne Erdinast-Vulcan, Edward Said, and Paul B. Armstrong, among others. Also new to this edition is a section of writings on the connections between Heart of Darkness and the film Apocalypse Now by Louis K. Greiff, Margot Norris, and Lynda J. Dryden. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.
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B.B. King is the greatest living exponent of the blues and considered by many to be the most influential guitarist of the latter part of the 20th century. His career dates back to the late forties and despite now being in his eighties he remains a vibrant and charismatic live performer. B.B. King has been a frequent visitor to the Montreux festival, appearing nearly 20 times, so choosing one performance was no easy task. This 1993 concert will surely rank as one of his finest at any venue. With a superb backing band and a great set list its a must for any blues fan.
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The Thrill is Gone
The thrill is gone The thrill is gone away The thrill is gone baby The thrill is gone away You know you done me wrong baby And you’ll be sorry someday The thrill is gone It’s gone away from me The thrill is gone baby The thrill is gone away from me Although I’ll still live on But so lonely I’ll be The thrill is gone It’s gone away for good Oh, the thrill is gone baby Baby its gone away for good Someday I know I’ll be over it all baby Just like I know a good man should You know I’m free, free now baby I’m free from your spell I’m free, free now I’m free from your spell And now that it’s all over All I can do is wish you well
update 8 January 2012