[act-ma] Thursday 6/21: "King Leopold's Ghost" - Free UPandOUT film screening
salmamilia at gmail.com
Wed Jun 20 21:07:14 PDT 2012
*King Leopold's Ghost*
Thursday, June 21st, in Cambridge [please download & distribute
A two-hour journey into the real-life heart of darkness.
*The Congo is a place where some of the worst atrocities known to man have
been occurring for well over a century - with the US, Belgium and other
western imperialist regimes playing key roles.
It's a terrifying story of appalling brutality. Beginning with King Leopold
II of Belgium's avaricious rape of the country and tracing the impact of
this horrifying and often-forgotten crime through to the modern day, this
immensely shocking doc is a heart-rending tale of a rich country destroyed
by rapacious hands. Imperialist conquerors were determined to plunder this
country of its natural resources, in the process making slaves of the
The term "*crimes against humanity*" was coined by American minister,
lawyer and journalist George Washington Williams in 1890 after he traveled
to the Congo and witnessed first-hand the widespread torture, abuse and
murder that was taking place. Most of the world didn't know about the
corruption and heinous acts that were being committed by the order of King
Leopold, but the majority of those who did were either involved and
profiting from the Congo in some way, while the rest chose to ignore and
deny. Leopold's regime slaughtered an estimated *10 - 15 million
Congolese*(1885 - 1908). Many millions more have died since then.
Filmmakers Pippa Scott and Oreet Rees explore the reprehensible legacy of
King Leopold II in this adaptation of Adam Hochschild's best-selling book. The
story chronicles Leopold's complex scheme of political intrigue, corruption
and propaganda to lay claim to the Congo Basin. In April 1884, seven months
before the Berlin Congress, the US became the first country in the world to
give Leopold a stamp of approval. The title of the book, and movie, is
adopted from the 1914 poem "*The Congo*", by Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay.
Condemning Leopold's actions, Lindsay wrote:
*Listen to the yell of Leopold's ghost, / Burning in Hell for his
*Hear how the demons chuckle and yell / Cutting his hands off, down in Hell.
"*The right hands, I counted 81 in all*", said Rev William Henry Sheppard,
an African American missionary, after seeing the hands of Africans that had
been severed for not meeting rubber quotas. This government-sanctioned
violence was all carried out with one aim, to make profit. Joseph Conrad
described what he saw in the Congo as, "*the vilest scramble for loot that
ever disfigured the history of human conscience*".
Narrated by a series of experts and actors who include Don Cheadle, James
Cromwell, and Alfie Woodard, Scott and Rees' film eventually turns its
attentions towards contemporary events that chillingly recall Leopold's
In June 1960, Patrice Lumumba became the first legally elected prime
minister, vowing to bring true independence to the Congo - a direct threat
to colonial interests. By January 17, 1961, Lumumba had been tortured and
assassinated in a joint CIA-Belgium venture. The CIA's front man, despot
Mobuto Sese Seko carried out the CIA-inspired coup and then began a brutal
and corrupt dictatorship that lasted for the next 38 years - for which he
was richly rewarded with vast wealth.
Mobutu was finally deposed but King Leopold's ghost continues to ravage the
rich Congo lands as various foreign-sponsored *"ragtag armies marauded the
countryside*". This vivid documentary offers an engrossing insight into
the grim colonial legacy that still haunts the Congo; the extraction of
wealth continues today. [See, for example, American Companies Exploit the
[Adam Hochschild's book was refused by nine of the ten U.S. publishing
houses to which an outline was submitted. It went on to become an
"*Lumumba's assassination is the most important assassination of the 20th
century*" ~ Ludo De Witte, the Belgian author of *The Assassination of
*"It is the function of the CIA to keep the world unstable, and to
propagandize and teach the American people to hate, so we will let the
Establishment spend any amount of money on arms.*" ~John Stockwell, former
CIA official and author
243 Broadway, Cambridge - corner of Broadway and Windsor,
entrance on Windsor
Please join us for a stimulating night out; bring your friends!
free film, free refreshments, & free door prizes.
[donations are accepted]
"You can't legislate good will - that comes through education.*" ~ Malcolm X
*UPandOUT film series* - see rule19.org/videos
Why should YOU care? It's YOUR money that pays for US/Israeli wars - on
Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Palestine, Libya. Syria, Iran, So America, etc etc
- for billionaire bailouts, for ever more ubiquitous US prisons, for the
loss of liberty and civil rights...
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