Congo: Belgian King 'Regrets' Colonization

    Photo: Photonews via Getty Images [via NBC News]

    The Facts

    • Belgium's King Philippe stated his "deepest regrets" on Wed. for the exploitation, racism, and acts of violence that occurred during his country's colonization of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He stopped short, however, of formally apologizing.

    • The king's remarks were made during his first visit to the central African country since he took the throne in 2013. He returned a wooden ceremonial mask that was taken to Belgium during the colonial period as part of the trip.

    The Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Kind words aren't enough to erase the horrors Belgium inflicted upon the Congo, especially considering Belgium and the West's intervention in Congolese affairs and exploitation of the country's resources following the colonial period into the modern-day. The only way forward is reparations.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    King Philippe's trip is a historic moment for both Belgium and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Though the horrors of European colonialism will never be erased, the king's warm welcome indicates that the Congo's economic and political situation may be able to improve in the future.

    Conservative narrative

    Though the horrors of European colonialism in Africa are, of course, terrible, there is an intellectual trend that conquest and exploitation are unique to Europe. Colonialism has been a facet of history across cultures since the beginning of civilization, and most of the continent's current woes stem from corruption and other internal issues.

    Establishment split



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