Congo-Kinshasa: The Assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the Ghosts of History and the Policing of Remembrance


January 17 marked the 55th anniversary of the US- and Belgian-orchestrated assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Lumumba's body was hacked to pieces and dissolved in sulphuric acid by two Belgian police officials. This week the Belgian magazine, Humo, published an interview with Godelieve Soete, daughter of Gerard Soete, one of the officials who disposed of Lumumba's body and during which she produced one of Lumumba's teeth that her late father had kept as a macabre souvenir.

Now author Ludo De Witte, who in 1999 exposed the Western forces behind plot to murder Lumumba, has lodged a charge with Belgian police calling for Lumumba's mortal remains be returned to his family. The story reminds us that history never sleeps. By MARIANNE THAMM.

The West and particularly Western Europe is big on remembrance. Every year, on this genocidal continent, citizens and politicians pin little red poppies to their clothing in memory of the 38 million who died in "The Great War". In solemn ceremonies politicians lean wreaths at ornate memorials across the continent in remembrance of the dead - "we must never forget" they urge citizens of the North.

The irony,...

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