Torn from their Congolese mothers

Another horror from the recent past:

Belgium’s prime minister, Charles Michel, is to apologise on behalf of the state for the kidnapping of mixed-race children, who were torn from their Congolese mothers at the end of the colonial period.

The “métis” children, the product of relationships between settlers and local women, were forcibly taken to Belgium and fostered by Catholic orders, among other institutions, between 1959 and 1962.

The children, born in the 1940s and 50s, did not automatically receive Belgian nationality and often remained stateless. A majority of the fathers refused to acknowledge paternity of their children.

What? What on earth even for? If most of the fathers pretended they weren’t the fathers, why steal them from their mothers? Talk about crimes against humanity…That’s a hideous crime against the mothers and another hideous crime against the children. (The fathers were apparently unscathed.)

It’s very like the system behind the Irish industrial “schools,” as a matter of fact. Steal the children of poor / sexually disobedient mothers and hand them over to the Catholic church to torment and punish.

Two years ago, the Catholic church apologised for its role in the scandal, which affected about 20,000 children in the Belgian Congo, along with Burundi and Rwanda, which were governed by Belgium under a mandate from the League of Nations and the UN.

20,000 children and their mothers.

Belgium’s particularly bloody colonial rule in the Congo continues to be a subject of debate in the country. The Congo Free State was run by King Leopold II as his private domain from 1885 to 1908, looting the country of its rich resources until he bequeathed it to the Belgian state under pressure from the international community. Estimates of deaths in that period range from 10 million to 15 million Africans.

Looting the country of its rich resources via horrific torture of the population, such as cutting their hands off if they didn’t produce enough rubber. The Heart of Darkness was not a fantasy.

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