Fri. Jul 3rd, 2020

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The Apology that the DRC has Been Waiting For

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The King of Belgium has sent his “deepest regrets” to the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for the “suffering and humiliation” his nation inflicted while it colonized the region — but stopped short of apologizing for his ancestor Leopold II’s atrocities. On the 60th anniversary of the DRC’s independence, King Philippe of Belgium wrote a letter to President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo in which he admitted that “to further strengthen our ties and develop an even more fruitful friendship, we must be able to talk about our long common history in all truth and serenity.” The acknowledgment is a watershed moment in Belgium’s post-colonial history, and a rare admission of imperialist sins from the royal family — even if Philippe did not go as far as formally apologizing. Philippe is a distant nephew of Leopold II, who owned what was then called Congo Free State between 1885 and 1908 and ruled its people brutally, exploiting their labor and committing atrocities against them. Historians estimate that under Leopold’s misrule, as many as 10 million people died.

SOURCE: CNN

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