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This review is from: King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa (Kindle Edition)
This is a beautiful book that uncovers one of gravest pillage, rape and injustices of recent human history. The negligence of what I call "Africa injustices" in editors of the global system is staggering.
One problem i have with the book is that the collection of stories and accounts that makes up this volume are told almost exclusively from the "benevolent White man's view". Missionaries. Good Europeans. Good Americans, there is something old about that. This is a serious problem because it cuts across all spheres of relations - western international aid and so-called international development organizations are created to help the "poor and voiceless Africans. Bono, World Bank and IMF. And it is not true that local accounts are inaccessible on the Leopold pillage - there was a book published 1909 by a Congo native (I will provide the name if i remember) on this subject AND more local account if you dig deeper. This idea that the suffering Africans have to be rescued by the benevolent European either in lost history or the present economic problems is problematic and deeply rooted in a nameless idea that renders Africans passive and unable to tell their own stories. The problem is that, if this book was written by Africans none of you guys would have paid for it. There is something rotten about that. The effort to do it for them is actually denying them the space to act.
But to stay on the book, well researched and almost perfectly written. Hochschild is a good writer and i like the way he tackles Stanley who is almost a cult in British exploration history. I would have liked him to focus a little more on the role of Catholic Church and the pope in providing the moral backup needed for the atrocities Leopold committed.