For our Humanities class (Argument), we had a “global conference” based in 1914, on whether European colonization in Africa was beneficial for both sides. My group was defending Congo, one of the most brutally colonized countries of all time. At the same time as learning about European colonization and European history in general, we were learning about the art of deduction in an argument.
Rule: European colonization in Africa brutally exploits the people.
Case: Belgium wants to colonize in Africa.
Result: It would not benefit the people of Congo.
The Congo was one of the most violent colonizations in our earth’s history and set the country back for the future.
In a nation that has been ravished of it’s resources and people for over a century now, we have to look at the root source of this. 8 million Africans are estimated to have been killed during King Leopold’s rape of the country. That King didn’t even set foot in the Congo to look at what he was doing. Rubber “Quotas” were put into place, and the heads of operations in Congo were paid on a commision basis, they had to produce materials or they would be replaced. This triggered a culture of violence and brutal demands of the people who were enslaved in their own country. Soldiers who enforced the work had modern day weapons and whips, but maybe most disgustingly of all, cut off people’s hands as trophies, or punishment for not working properly. The silent genocide of Congo was silenced even more when King Leopold ordered all official documents of the country to be burned in a furnace, leaving little official evidence behind.
In modern day Congo, over 5.4 million people have died in what is called “The Great African War” since 1998, the deadliest battle since World War 2. The number is made even more morbid when you consider that 47% of those deaths were children. The essential reason for this war isn’t necessarily because of what Belgium did to us, however our problems have stemmed from their colonization and we believe we deserve some help from the West to stop our war, especially from Belgium. Our country, the size of Western Europe, had more resources than most in the world, but when Belgium took some of them, it made what we did have more precious. Instead of being able to prosper and develop with other first world countries, we were left behind fending for ourselves as our neighbors do. Although the Berlin conference has something to do with the poor dividing of Africa, this war is a power struggle of minerals which we wouldn’t have needed to fight over if the colonization didn’t occur.
Results – As humans, colonization was completely inhumane. The process of our country and people being colonized was not only brutal and torturous but left most of us dead. The issues colonization began for us are deeply rooted and continue to have a major affect on us today, making us unable to successfully and constructively operate and resolve conflict.
Long lasting affects of colonization:
A major IRC survey found that 5,400,000 people have died from war-related causes in Congo since 1998 – the world’s deadliest documented conflict since WW II. The vast majority died from non-violent causes such as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition—easily preventable and treatable conditions when people have access to health care and nutritious food.