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‘For King, for Freedom and for Justice’? Comments regarding Belgium’s Congo Commission

Stefaan Marysse

No 42, IOB Analyses & Policy Briefs from Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB)

Abstract: In the wake of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, outrage in Belgium also flares up about the country’s role in its former colonies. It would indeed be good if Belgium could come to terms with its colonial past and face up to its own blind spots of discrimination. Hence the question mark in the reference to our national anthem in the title... In this slipstream of world-wide indignation, the African diaspora is also denouncing discrimination in our society today. In order to bridge the gap between word and deed, following the expressions of regret by King Philippe, the Belgian Parliament has now also taken the initiative and set up a Congo committee to investigate how this can be done . Are expressions of regret from the Belgian government, or from the King about the role of his ancestor, enough? Who should they be addressed to? To the authorities of today’s Congo, that are not working convincingly on the present? To the population, then? But is this not too vague and non-committal? How is reparation for injustice done even possible? Is there, then, a need for reparations? Has only damage been done, and how do you account for this? If so, how much and who should be compensated?

Keywords: DR Congo; DRC; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Belgium; colonialism; decolonisation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 6 pages
Date: 2020-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his
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