White King, Red Rubber, Black Death

White King, Red Rubber, Black Death “White King, Red Rubber, Black Death,” illustrated how King Leopold II of Belgium acquired the Congo as a free state and exploited it by reign of terror. King Leopold II took over leadership of Belgium from his father, hoping to gain power and wealth, as well as assuming control of overseas territories like most other European nations of the time did. Leopold created, through political lobbying and military force, the Belgian Free State.
The Belgian Free State gave Leopold power over the African territory of the Congo, which he soon exploited for its large supplies of ivory and rubber. Leopold and his soldiers used the Congolese natives as forced labor, and those who refused to work for the Belgians or who violated their newly established laws were punished by mutilation, torture, or death. Nearly ten million people were either slaughtered or worked to death in the Congo under Leopold’s rule.
In the end, Leopold’s reign of terror in the Congo became a scandal during the last years of his rule, and he destroyed most of the documents pertaining to the Belgian Free State prior to his death. Before this History class, I would have never had known about the documentary “White King, Red Rubber, Black Death” and about the many issues that were present in the Congo of Africa in the past. This documentary had left me speechless and astonished in the end. It had truly opened my eyes to the many tragedies that the Africans of the Congo endured under the reign of King Leopold II.

Furthermore, I wondered, why throughout the entire reign of King Leopold II didn’t anyone even try bringing him down and making him pay for his cruel punishments depicted upon the Congo popularity? It amazes me that, during the thirty years that Leopold committed acts of violence and cruelty amongst the Congo, Leopold was still worshiped after by the Belgium’s as the man who colonized the Congo and made the Belgium city wealthy. This is a man who depicted the ignorance and greediness of Belgium.
In my eyes, everything that Belgium has today, is out of fraud and lies because of the selfish acts Leopold committed. All of this cruelty, because of the exportation of rubber? I couldn’t believe it with my own eyes and ears, the amount of damage Leopold had caused amongst the Congo and its people just because of his obsession with power and wealth. Yet, if this was an issue that was being presented in today’s society of a specific area many would jump to fight and defend this area.
King Leopold conducted many extreme measures in the past for no reason, in my opinion. If I was alive during this period and was one of the many people of the Congo who were enduring this cruelty and pain, I would stand up for what I believe in, save my people, and make a change. I do believe that if such person in today’s society, conducted these acts of punishment they would immediately get the death penalty because of the well improved justice system we have today, but why not back then?

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