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King Leopold

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From the beginning of time genocide has taken place and likely is not to end anytime soon. The atrocity from King Leopold s regime is one of the most unheard of cases of genocide but also one of the most gruesome. The killing and atrocities going on in Congo were full-blown genocide. The King was greedy, did not have any care or respect for his people, and also allowed and had the practice of slavery.

The main motivating factor for King Leopold to commit this mass genocide was greed. All that the King cared about was money and power. To fully understand the extent of genocide that was committed by the King you need to know the exact meaning of genocide. According to Webster Dictionary genocide means the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group. An example of the King s greed was a decree he made that by which all the land, all the rubber, and all the ivory was to be the property of the State which was himself. This made it illegal for natives to sell ivory are rubber to Europeans, and for the Europeans to buy it from the natives. The King than sent a letter to all of his officials telling them of a bonus they would receive for collecting rubber and ivory from natives at bargain prices. The officials would buy ivory and rubber that was worth a dollar for thirty cents from the natives and receive a fifteen-cent bonus. The act of doing this is illegal under article 23 section 2 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This article says Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. This article means that the natives should receive fair payment of one dollar for selling their ivory and rubber not the thirty cents that the Kings people where only willing to pay. Men who threatened disclosures were bought off, or, if that proved impossible, disappeared mysteriously.

Another way that King Leopold s regime committed genocide was through cruel and unusual punishment. This is illegal according to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment

Michael Wakefield


of the Crime of Genocide. According to article two sections a, b, c killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm, and deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction in whole or in part is illegal. Also according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights article five No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. There is numerous evidence that these atrocities were taking place. In one incidence 25 eight year old children were lined up and whipped 25 times each. The children kicked so frightfully that the soldiers were ordered to hold them by the hands and feet and lift them off the ground. The reason for this cruel punishment the children the night before laughed in the presence of a white man. In order not to waste cartridges of ammo for every shot native troops used they were required to bring in a right hand of a human. If they missed or killed game with their ammo the troops would just cut a right hand off a living person and use that to make up the necessary numbers. Native troops also where sent into towns and villages to strike fear into its residents. Most of these natives where cannibals and where ordered to terrorize people and if necessary kill men and women. The result was, according to the estimate of Sir H. Johnston, that in fifteen years the native population was reduced from about twenty million to scarcely nine million.

Another thing that King Leopold s people did to



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