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Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death
CONGO: WHITE KING, RED RUBBER, BLACK DEA
From the Studio
CONGO: WHITE KING, RED RUBBER, BLACK DEATH describes how King Leopold II of Belgium turned Congo into its private colony between 1885 and 1908. Under his control, Congo became a gulag labor camp of shocking brutality. Leopold posed as the protector of Africans fleeing Arab slave-traders but, in reality, he carved out an empire based on terror to harvest rubber. Families were held as hostages, starving to death if the men failed to produce enough wild rubber. Children's hands were chopped off as punishment for late deliveries. The Belgian government has denounced this documentary as a "tendentious diatribe" for depicting King Leopold II as the moral forebear of Adolf Hitler, responsible for the death of 10 million people in his rapacious exploitation of the Congo. Yet, it is agreed today that the first Human Rights movement was spurred by what happened in the Congo. .
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This moving documentary tells in a microcosm the story of modern Africa - which can only be truly understood by looking at each country - and exposes the roots of its current pains.
If the United States thrives because it was built on the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; it can be no accident that a country founded on the undescribable principles instituted by King Leopald II and perpetuated by the Belgian State, remains steeped in violence, poverty and human deprivity.
(Don't let the goofy cartoon intro stuff fool you)
Having read Heart of Darkness many times over the past 10 years, I am aware of the famous scene along the river -- Congolese of all ages standing on the banks missing hands, arms, and/or legs. As a reader and teacher I had always accepted that scene, knew its meaning, and how it contributed to overall theme. BUT seeing the video was too much for me. The archival photos of real people missing limbs proved so difficult for me. I watched for a few more minutes, but could not continue when the narration described horrendous torture.
The powerful images and archival footage will change the viewer forever, but I feel it is too graphic for a high school classroom.