Democratic Republic of Congo
Patrice Lumumba was the Congolese version of Malcolm X and Barack Hussein Obama.
In June 1960, the Democratic Republic of Congo was granted independence from Belgium. Patrice Lumumba became Prime Minister and ruled the Congo for six months as the country collapsed into total chaos.
After stirring up a Cold War proxy war in Central Africa between the United States and the Soviet Union, Lumumba was assassinated by a CIA and Belgian backed execution squad. President Dwight Eisenhower had personally ordered his execution and Allen Dulles funneled money to Lumumba’s political rivals to have it arranged.
Raoul Peck’s 2000 film Lumumba explores the short and eventful reign of Patrice Lumumba as Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the beginning of the six year period of anarchy that would come to be known as the “Congo Crisis.” The chaos of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the British and French abandonment of White colonials in Kenya and Algeria played a major role in instigating the secession of Rhodesia from the British Empire.
Within days of Lumumba’s rise to power, the Force Publique mutinied against its White officer corps and began to rape, torture, and murder European civilians, especially the Flemish who were particularly resented by the Congolese. Lumumba responded to the crisis by dismissing General Émile Janssens, insulting the Belgian ambassador, and by Africanizing the Force Publique which was renamed the Congolese National Army.
Belgium responded by dispatching paratroopers without Lumumba’s authorization to evacuate the Belgian and European civilians who were under attack by the Black Undertow. 26,000 of the 29,000 Europeans that were present in Congo’s three largest cities when the experiment in multiracial liberal democracy began fled the country within a month of independence.
More eventful than the rape and massacre of European civilians was the secession of Moise Tshombe’s Katanga and Albert Kalonji’s South Kasai as chaos swept across the new country under Lumumba’s erratic leadership. Katanga and South Kasai were the two richest provinces of the Congo and the epicenter of the Belgian owned mining industry which contained most of its copper, gold, uranium, and diamonds.
In 1959, Congo was producing (mostly in Katanga and South Kasai) 10 percent of the world’s copper, 50 percent of the world’s cobalt, and 70 percent of the world’s industrial diamonds. Congolese uranium was used in the Manhattan Project. The mineral wealth of the country was harnessed by Belgian corporations which produced the revenue stream which allowed the Belgian colonial government to pacify the cannibalistic savages in the country and bring peace, prosperity, and civilization to Central Africa.
The prosperity brought to Katanga was appreciated by Moise Tshombe whose region was close to the Belgians and seceded from Lumumba’s government to escape from the chaos, incompetence, and White flight brought down upon the country by this communist sympathizer. Lumumba made an ultimately fatal mistake when he requested Soviet intervention in the Congo to suppress the secessionists in Katanga and South Kasai.
Coming in the aftermath of Fidel Castro’s seizure of power in Cuba in 1959, the American government was infuriated when a Soviet airlift assisted Lumumba’s Congolese National Army in its brutal conquest of South Kasai and invasion of Katanga. Thousands of Baluba tribesmen were massacred in South Kasai and the Congolese National Army raped, murdered, and pillaged its way through Northern Katanga before it was repulsed by the Belgian-led Katangan gendarmerie.
Under American pressure, President Joseph Kasu-Vubu removed Lumumba as Prime Minister for his arbitrary and destructive leadership and for plunging the country into a civil war. In response, Lumumba denounced Kasu-Vubu before the Congolese parliament and announced he was removing him as president. The United States and Belgium sided with Kasu-Vubu while the Soviet Union sided with Lumumba and his supporters.
The Democratic Republic of Congo fractured into four disputed regions with South Kasai and Katanga in the south maintaining their independence and the supporters of Kasu-Vubu and Lumumba splitting the country into the west and the east. It was at this point that Joseph Mobutu, who Lumumba had made Chief of Staff of the Congolese National Army, stepped forward and announced that he was neutralizing all politicians and taking over the country for the rest of the year.
Mobutu placed Lumumba under house arrest for his own protection. The United Nations warned him to stay there for his own protection. Determined to reach his own Marxist supporters in Stanleyville in the Eastern Congo, Lumumba left Léopoldville hidden in the back of a Chevrolet taking his house servants home for the night. He was captured halfway there in Kasai by Mobutu’s government troops.
As Lumumba’s supporters consolidated their power in Stanleyville and the Eastern Congo, Mobutu and his American and Belgian supporters refused to release him out of the fear that he would escape to the east and set up a communist regime that would be totally dependent upon the Soviet Union and China for its survival. Ultimately, they decided to send Lumumba to Moishe Tshombe’s Katanga where like “delivering Satan to the Jews” he would be quickly executed.
After his arrival in Elisabethville, Lumumba was tortured and forced to eat his own speeches in public. He was physically beaten by Tshombe and taken out into the Katangan woods and shot by a Belgian-controlled firing squad for being a communist and an enemy of the state.
“Lumumba” closes with a scene of Mobutu Sese Seko in power as the “Great Helmsman” of Zaire. A devout and lifelong student of Machiavelli and a CIA asset for decades, Mobutu claims the memory of Lumumba and describes him as “a hero of the Congo” before the international press after ordering his execution.
While “Lumumba” falsely portrays Patrice Lumumba as a Congolese martyr and a hero, I found it to be fairly historically accurate and worth reviewing for Black History Month 2012. It can be seen as a cinematic illustration of the Iron Law of Race Relations and another instructive example of the stupidity of trying to combine the free negro with civilization and liberal democracy.
If Belgium had been encouraged to maintain white supremacy and colonialism for another fifty years by Britain and the United States, the world’s largest pocket of barbarism would still be a prosperous and civilized country, millions of people would still be alive, and the Congolese in particular would be far richer and better off.
As a result of the “Winds of Change,” +100,000 Congolese died in the “Congo Crisis” which Patrice Lumumba started by Africanizing the Force Publique and suppressing the secessionists in South Kasai and Katanga.