DRC: Congolese react to 'deep regrets' of King of Belgium
Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi with the King of the Belgians, King Philippe, at the Royal Palace in Brussels, September 17, 2019. REUTERS / Francois Lenoir
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King Philippe wrote to Felix Tshisekedi on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He presented for "his deepest regrets" for the violence and cruelties when the country was the personal property of his great-great-grandfather. A historic first. How do we react on the Congolese side?
In a statement, the Congolese Minister of Foreign Affairs first welcomed the recognition that " the Congolese has not been treated with respect for human dignity " she explains. For Marie-Ntumba Nzeza, these are the best wishes that the DRC and its population could receive.
“ It is balm on the hearts of the Congolese people. It is an advance that will boost the friendly relations between our two nations. It is also a powerful socio-psychological foundation that will gradually change our outlook on ourselves. Belgium, by King Philippe, laid the foundations for a profound change. "
For Carbone Beni of the Filimbi citizen movement, it is also " a historic position " , but we must not stop there. He pleads for this common history to be taught in the two countries.
This is also the opinion of Bienvenu Matumo de la Lucha, but for him, Belgium still has a few steps to take. " There have been many economic crimes but also human rights violations which have been committed in the DRC by Léopold and the Belgian colonization. A repair mechanism must be set in motion, which can be a founding element of our new relations with Belgium. Welcome Matumo demands more than regret, but real apologies.
Someone who admits mistakes and apologizes is already something fundamental. Especially that it is not him! We are a generation several decades after this colonization, it is encouraging.
[Reportage] Reactions in the streets of Kinshasa to the "deep regrets" of the King of the Belgians
► To listen: "Regrets" from the King of the Belgians on colonization: "A very significant first"
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Colonization of the Belgian Congo: the "deep regrets" of King Philippe of Belgium