Belgium returns Patrice Lumumba’s tooth to family after 61 years | Patrice Lumumba

Belgian authorities have given the tooth of a slain Congolese freedom fighter Patrice Lumumba For his children, the former colony is in a new move to recognize the atrocities associated with the country’s brutal exploitation.

This monument is the only remnant of Lumumba, the country’s first prime minister Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), formerly known as the Republic of the Congo, and symbol of the struggle against colonialism in Africa, was assassinated in 1961 by separatists and Belgian mercenaries. His killers dissolved his remains in acid, although some kept his teeth cruel. Monuments.

The gold-covered tooth was handed over in a light blue box To a group of family members Monday morning at the Ekmond Palace in Brussels. It was placed in a casket, which would be taken to the DRC’s embassy as a first step before returning home.

Lumumba’s son Roland said his family could “end the grief” as he returned to the dentist last week.

By returning the tooth, Belgium Hopes to draw a line under one of the most horrific and shameful episodes in the bloody exploitation of Central Africa.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Crore acknowledged its “moral responsibility” for Lumumba’s assassination. “This is a painful and unacceptable fact, but it needs to be talked about,” De Crowe said. “A person is killed for his political beliefs, his words, his ambitions.”

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Groo spoke at an official ceremony at the Ekmond Palace on Monday. Photo: Rex / Shutterstock

Earlier this month, the King of Belgium made his first visit to the DRC, although he stopped giving a formal apology. King Philip expressed “deep sorrow for the wounds of the past”, a “rule … marked by unequal relations, unjustified, patriarchal, discriminatory and racist” which “led to acts of violence and humiliation”.

An attractive but tumultuous Pan-African who played a key role in the freedom struggle, Lumumba became his country’s first democratically elected leader in 1960. Within a year, he had fallen victim to Cold War politics and internal power struggles. Order collapsed in the new state and rebel groups sought to secede in the mineral-rich province of Katanga.

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Western officials were concerned that Lumumba would support the Soviet Union as a defender and allow Moscow access to strategically important resources such as uranium.

Following the military coup, Lumumba was imprisoned, tortured, and shot dead by a group of hastily assembled gunmen. 40 years later, Belgium accepted it Accepted “moral responsibility” for his death. The CIA also planned to assassinate a 35-year-old politician.

However, it took decades for the truth about the circumstances of Lumumba’s murder to emerge.

In 2000, Belgian Police Commissioner Gerard Sட்d confessed to dismembering Lumumba’s body and dissolving the remains in acid. In a documentary aired on German television, Soete showed two teeth that claimed to belong to Lumumba.

In 2016, a Belgian educator, Ludo de Vitte, complained to Chot’s daughter after she showed him a gold tooth belonging to Lumumba during an interview with a newspaper. The tooth was later seized by Belgian authorities.

Lumumba is for many Democratic Republic of the Congo Symbol of what the country will be like after independence. On the contrary, it has been mired in dictatorship and conflict for decades, draining its vast mineral resources.

Two years ago, the 60th anniversary of Congo’s independence sparked new calls for Lumumba to “calm the soul.” Protesters gathered outside the Belgian embassy in Kinshasa to demand the recovery of his remains, along with cultural artifacts taken during colonial rule.

This was followed by an international struggle against racism in Belgium Death of George Floyd It gave new impetus to activists fighting for the removal of King Leopold II monuments in the United States.

The DRC government has announced three days of official mourning ahead of the dental burial in Kinshasa later this month.

Belgium has only recently begun to address the Congolese tradition of exploiting rubber, ivory and trees. In the first 23 years of Belgian rule from 1885, 10 million people died of starvation and disease. Others were murdered or deliberately disabled, in order to encourage others to work harder to accomplish the impossible allocation of lucrative resources.

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