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The Two Faces of Belgium in the Congo: Perpetrator and Rescuer

Valérie Rosoux



What roles have been played by Belgium in the crises that have devastated the Congo? The purpose of this paper is to depict the tensions and potential contradictions between these roles. To do so, the analysis is divided into three parts. The first underlines the specific elements of the context. The second examines the variety of postures adopted by Belgium towards Congo since its independence. It shows a broad spectrum of ambiguous attitudes, from direct interference – and even destabilisation ‒ to military and political support, as well as withdrawals and silences. The third part highlights the divergent – and sometimes incompatible - strategies launched by two Belgian Foreign Ministers towards Congo, namely Louis Michel and Karel De Gucht. These two approaches have been selected because they reveal the extent of the internal tensions undermining the whole of politics in Belgium.

Keywords: Belgium – Congo – Mediation – Memory – Paternalism


Bibliography: Rosoux, Valérie: The Two Faces of Belgium in the Congo: Perpetrator and Rescuer, ERIS, 3-2014, pp. 16-38.


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