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La décolonisation du Congo Belge

La gestion politique des vingt-quatre derniers mois avant l'indépendance Juillet 1958-juin 1960

ISBN: 9789492669728 (PB - F)

The speeches delivered on 30 June 1960 in Leopoldville during the independence proclamation ceremony - one by the Belgian monarch Baudouin I and the other by Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba - are the dominant image of the decolonization of Belgian Congo. On that day, each of the two men defended their version of colonization, an exercise that revealed diametrically opposed views. But the relevance of the speeches lies in the arguments for decolonization that were advanced by Belgians and Congolese. The echoes of those speeches can still be heard to this day, as the present grapples with a past that taints it. Changes in the political situation of Belgian Congo began picking up speed in July 1958 and never let up speed. At the initiative of the minister Léon Pétillon, a commission of seven Belgian dignitaries were tasked by the government to put together the aspirations and viewpoints of 'the white and black population of Congo'. Not a single Congolese was on the commission, an absence felt sharply by the colonized. In early November?1958, Pétillon left the Belgian government against the king's wishes. The former governor-general, promoted to Minister of the Colonies, observed that change no longer seemed possible. His successor Maurice Hemelrijck, initially seen as a skilled diplomat, sparked controversy because he demanded an improvement in the social relations between Blacks and Whites. Feeling powerless in the face of the impasse that Belgium found itself in, he resigned in early September 1959. In Congo, differences had become irreconcilable and a cornered Belgium granted independence without clearly defining the form it would take. Everything was up for discussion and bargaining, under the anger of some and the anxieties of others. It all had to be decided upon between July 1958 and June 1960. The rapidity and proliferation of political interventions punctuated a delayed decolonization that mirrored the rejection of a hand extended by the colonizers to the colonized, for whom 'the days of colonialism were past'. Independence was borne of chaos. This book provides a chronological account, based on precise events and illustrated by relevant images. Rather than interpreting, the author draws on the attitudes and testimonials of the key individuals in the independence of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which will celebrate its sixtieth anniversary in 2020. The Author Jean Omasombo Tshonda is a researcher at the History and Politics service of the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Tervuren) and professor at the Université de Kinshasa.

Jean Omasombo Tshonda est chercheur au service Histoire et Politique du Musée royal de l'Afrique centrale (Tervuren) et professeur à l'Université de Kinshasa. Jean Omasombo Tshonda is onderzoeker aan de dienst Geschiedenis en Politiek van het Koninklijk Museum voor Midden-Afrika (Tervuren) en professor aan de Université de Kinshasa.

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