Windy City Dreamer

Crystal over at Windy City Dreamer's post this week discusses Barbara Kingsolver's novel The Poisonwood Bible and how it presents a haunting tale of an American missionary family that moves to the Congo, and how their life in Africa changes them forever.

She then goes on to discuss the brutal murder of the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba. He was assasinated in January 1961 and was replaced by Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Wa Za Banga ("The all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, will go from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake"). Mobutu - aside from having the longest name ever - turned out to be not so much a great leader. The Poisonwood Bible also makes many references to Mobutu.

Anyway, so here's what happened to Lumumba. Read the whole Wikipedia entry to find out the horiffic things this man went through at the hands of Mobutu and the Belgian government. I'm not going to pretend I'm an expert on African history and politics, but I urge you: Know this happened.

In February of 2002, the Belgian government apologized to the Congonese people, and admitted to a "moral responsibility" and "an irrefutable portion of responsibility in the events that led to the death of Lumumba." In July of the same year documents released by the United States government revealed that the while the CIA had been kept informed of Belgium's plans, they had no direct role in Lumumba's eventual death.

However, this same disclosure showed that US perception at the time was that Lumumba was a
crypto-Communist. The same documents also record that US President Eisenhower directly called for Lumumba's murder in one meeting, and a CIA effort was initiated, involving an infamous CIA hit man codenamed QJ/WIN. [Emphasis mine.]

Interesting, eh? You mean Pat Robertson isn't the only one calling for assassination of international leaders?

Technorati Tag: politics

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