King Leopolds Ghost

2093 Words9 Pages
King Leopolds Ghost King Leopold's Ghost tells a story of the Belgian King Leopold II and his misrule of an African colony, named (at the time) the Congo Free State. It is a wild and unpleasant story of a man's capacity for evil and the peculiar manifestation of it. In telling this story, Hochschild does a wonderful job of giving detailed descriptions, especially of the colorful individuals involved, both good and bad. His analysis of the situation is very solid, starting with the movement when the Congolese hero (Morel) finds out a very terrible fact and moving on through his (Morel) analysis and actions, all the while telling the story of a treacherous monster. Set in the palaces and boardrooms of Europe and in the villages of central Africa, it tells the story of the tragedy that took place during Leopold's so called rule, a tragedy that is so familiar to African-Americans, being told of our African brothers residing in the homeland. This "horror" story is just in fact that, a horror story, giving and revealing the utter most secrets of the respected King Leopold. Allow me to take you on a journey, pointing out the King's determination and, reasoning for what he'd done and the scars he left deep within the heart of the Congo. In the introduction I stated that Morel was the character that I considered to be the hero of this story, now the main question behind that would be, why? Along with, Who is Morel? His complete name was Edmund Dene Morel; he was a young clerk who worked for a Liverpool based firm where his duties were to supervise the unloading and reloading of the ships arriving in Antwerp, Belgium. As Morel watched the shipments arrive he noticed something, a great amount of ivory and rubber were being transported into Belgium but nothing was being taken out, as the book states: "There is no trade going on here. Little or nothing is being exchanged for the rubber and ivory…with almost no goods being sent to Africa to pay for them, he realizes that there can be only one explanation for their source: slave labor." (p.2) With his newfound revelation at hand Morel does not sit still. Demonstrating that he refused to turn a blind eye to what fortune had allowed him to see, he soon becomes active with his newfound knowledge. Soon afterward Morel devoted his life to stopping slavery in the Congo. From the early 1900's until afte... ... middle of paper ... ... their own, getting educated, and even going to the lengths of forming Greek organizations, that their fellow brother in Africa were being brutally mutilated and stripped of their humanity. Hochschild has done an exemplary job of writing this book by gathering details and evidence not to mention the wonderful writing skills that he's displayed throughout the entire book. In my opinion, the account of shocking and brutal nature of Belgian colonial rule, is worth reading on it's own, if only to remind us of the horror of the colonialism from which the US has recently escaped. And anyone with an interest in the way we car for or mistreat other humanbeings may find a great deal of food for thought here as well. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Hochschild, a renowned journalist has taken on Stalin and Russian psyche in previous books. He has been criticized the almost exclusive focus of the CRA movement on Belgium, citing comparable brutality by the US in the Philippines, the British in Australia, the Germans in what is now Namibia. Bibliography: Hochschild, Adam "King Leopold's Ghost:a story of greed, terror, and heroism in colonial Africa. First Mariner Books 1998. New York
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