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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:More Than Red Rubber and Figures Alone: A Critical Appraisal of the Memory of the Congo Exhibition at the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium
Author:Gewald, Jan-BartISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic terms:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
Congo Free State
Subjects:colonial conquest
offences against human rights
History and Exploration
Ethnic and Race Relations
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Law, Human Rights and Violence
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/40034827
Abstract:Recently, the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium, housed an exhibition, 'Memory of the Congo: the colonial era'. A visitor to the exhibition could develop the impression that the only abuse that occurred in the Congo was that associated with Red Rubber, the period when concessionary companies operating in the Congo perpetrated extensive campaigns of looting, pillaging, and abuse in their quest for rubber. And furthermore, that these abuses were stopped by the intervention of the Belgian King Leopold II, and that the population decreases that occurred in the Congo were due to disease and migration. The present author argues that the exhibition, through situating all abuse in the era of Red Rubber, which encompasses but a small section of the exhibition space, effectively downplays the immensity of what occurred in the Congo between 1880 and 1960. Focusing on events that took place during the formation of the Congo Free State, the author demonstrates that the abuses associated with Red Rubber were predicated upon, and followed from, extensive violence associated with the establishment of the Congo Free State. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]