Most people have no idea of who is pictured above, but you should. The sight of this man should cause a similar revulsion to that of seeing Mussolini, Mao, Stalin or Hitler, as he committed an African genocide that resulted in the killing of over 10 million people in the Congo.
His name is King Leopold II of Belgium.
Most of people never learned about him in school, and have also most likely never heard about him in the media either. This is because he’s not included in the popular narrative of oppression (which includes things like U.S. slavery and the Holocaust).
King Leopold II is part of an ongoing history of colonialism, imperialism, slavery, and genocide in Africa that would clash with the popular social narratives taught in our school system today. It doesn’t fit neatly into school curriculums where, paradoxically, it is looked down upon to make overtly racist statements. However, it’s quite fine not to talk about a genocide perpetrated by European capitalist monarchs that killed over 10 million Congolese.
Belgium’s King Leopold II ran a personal empire so vast and cruel, it rivaled – and even exceeded – the crimes of even some of the worst dictators of the 20th century.
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