During King Leopold II of Belgium, the

During the months of November, 15 1884 to February, 26 1885 the Berlin conference was held to discuss imperialistic expansion. Lines were drawn by leaders who had most likely not stepped foot in Africa let alone knew anything of the vast array of cultures, languages, and history that existed there. As spoken about by Jessica Achberger “Among these territories, the Congo was a unique case. Granted to King Leopold II of Belgium, the Congo was a “personal” concession for the King, rather than a colony. The King, not the Belgian government, effectively owned and controlled the Congo. Leopold administered the Congo in a notoriously brutal manner, using it to augment his own personal wealth. The Congo’s wealth, which included its numerous rubber trees, was brutally extracted using what was basically slave labor. This rubber was then exported to fuel the industrial growth of both nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Europe and America.” (Jessica Achberger). At the time most african colonies were created primarily for the economic exploitation of natural resources as well as labor. From 1885 to 1908 King Leopold II forced the congolese natives to work as porters, miners, rubber-tappers, woodcutters, and railway builders. There were no laws or restrictions enforced that protected the native congolese or their lands. King Leopold II is known for his brutal exploitation of the native congolese populations and the large amount of death that occured when he was in control of the Congo, as an example of the brutality that the congolese were forced to endure “Each day he would instruct the natives of the Congo to collect a certain quota of rubber each day and those who did not follow the quota of rubber each day were punished, often times having their hand severed off. The men of the Congo who would refuse to go into the forest to collect rubber had their wives captured and held hostage at gunpoint until the men went into the Jungle to collect rubber for the Anglo-Belgian India Rubber Company or A.B.I.R.” (Kieran McKinley). There was an absence of proper school and hospitals, if a child did go to school they were often only taught up to a fifth grade education. There was the mistreatment of women, embezzling, murder, starvation, exhaustion to the point of death, exposure of the native congolese people, displacement, disease, and reduced birth rates. During the 23 years Leopold was in control of the Congo half of the congolese populations had died, whether it was murder or death due to the terrible standards in which the congolese people were forced to live under. In 1908 the Belgium government took the Congo from King Leopold and renamed it the “Belgian Congo”. Once the Belgian Congo was under control of Belgium, things did not improve for the Congolese people. They were still submitted to forced labor, and brutal punishments. Only in 1960 did the Congo become independent. The years in which the Congo was under colonial rule were years in which humanitarian laws were broken and that resulted in the subjugation, exploitation, murder, and dehumanization of an entire group of people. Early on the Congo was incorporated into the global political system in a cohesive and extractive way. The Congo became open and vulnerable to the global system. As Malcolm X puts it “I think that white people should be ashamed of the deplorable situation that has been existing in the congo which is not the fault of Congolese but which is the result of instigation by European powers who are fighting each other over mineral wealth of the Congo and now to make it appear that the Congolese themselves are criminals, are brutes because they are reacting to these injustices that they have been victimized by.” (Malcolm X). As a direct result of 80 long terrible years of colonialism, once the congo was granted independence, the men and women of the congo were not ready or properly prepared to run a country. There were little to no college graduates, no one had the skills to run a military, or create an effective government, and there were no educational or leadership opportunities that were offered to the congolese people when they were under colonialism. After the decolonization of the Congo, the region in many ways was not prepared to take on the control of becoming an independent state, the legs were broken and the people were expected to stand on their own two feet. The new leaders of the congo were sorely unprepared to run a country, and there were barely any trained experts in any fields. From 1960 to 1965 the government of the Congo was in ruin and the country was not improving. In 1965 a former journalist and former army sergeant named Mobutu Sese Seko staged a military coup and seized control of the government renaming the Republic of Congo, Zaire. From 1965 to 1975 Mobutu was able to built the economy up based off of the massive copper boom. Which he then destroyed by appropriating local businesses and granting favours to his friends, and clients. Mobutu raided the national treasury many times, stymied development in order to gain more foreign aid which he then proceeded to use as a lucrative form of income. Following the Vietnam war which ended in 1975 there was a huge crash of commodity prices including copper, which resulted in Zaire, going into debt. As previously mentioned in 1976 the IMF (International monetary fund)  launched its first stabilization plan for Zaire, by giving the country a loan of $47 million. In exchange Mobutu would cut public spending, devalue the currency, raise taxes, and put the countries financial house in order. None of which he did. The country was in mass debt by the 1990’s. This debt just further plunged the country into economic instability. Mobutu was running Zaire under a dictatorship. Opposition of political power would often result in arrest, torture, exile, and murder. The Rwandan genocide between the years 1990-1994 resulted in the death of 1 million people, as well as the displacement of 1.5 million people. The genocide was the result of the Hutu president of Rwanda dying in a plane crash. A french judge then blamed current Rwandan president Paul kagame, who was at the time the leader of a rebel Tutsi group for the attack. This accusation and ruling sparked the Rwandan Hutus to commit mass genocide on the Rwandan Tutsis killing 800,000 Tutsis in just three months. Mass quantities of Rwandan Tutsi as well as Hutu refugees fled to eastern Zaire, more specifically the city of Goma for safety. Paul Kagame managed to take over Rwanda after the increased attacks on its borders. At that point 2 million refugees fled to eastern Zaire, almost 850,000 people were scattered around Goma in refugee camps. Kagame blamed the Hutus for the massacre of the Tutsis, so he created the AFDL (Alliance des forces democratique pour la liberation) which was a group made up of Syrians who would go out and murder the Hutu people that were seeking refuge in Goma. To the outsiders, the AFDL would appear as a domestic uprising against Mobutu. Mobutu abandoned office in 1997 and was replaced by the leader of the AFDL, Laurent Kabila. Zaire was renamed the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Between 1997 and 2000 everything started going down hill in the DRC. The Rwandan genocide, Mobutu fleeing office, and the new appointment of president to Laurent Kabila is what many refer to as the first Congo War. The second Congo War in the years of 1998-2002 was a mass uprising against Kabila. During that time Rwanda invaded the DRC and almost took Kinasha. Kabila managed to create a coalition of Angola, Namibia and the DRC. The coalition was created in order to protect against the common enemies, which in this case were Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. This coalition stopped the Rwandan fighting advances, and resulted in the Lusaka peace agreement. The peace agreement, or ceasefire agreement did not last very long however. The conflict shifted to the east of the DRC, mainly focussing on the rich mining regions of Kivu and Katansa. The cause of the war changed from politics to profit. Kabila’s government supported local militias who fought Uganda’s, and Rwandans. After a short time the malititas turned their attention to each other and began fighting over valuable resources such as gold, and diamonds. The fighting over resources gave a sense of purpose to the people and was the only way to make a living in a failed economy. On January 2001 Laurent Kabila was assassinated by his own guards. In that same year African diplomats negotiated a ceasefire agreement, this resulted in a peace accord that required 2 years of surveillance by the largest peacekeeping team ever assembled. By then the government of the DRC had fallen to ruins, there was no infrastructure, no stable economy, and no tax system. However things started slowly shaping up. On July 30th 2006 the DRC held their first democratic elections since the 1960’s and elected Joseph Kabila, Laurent Kabila’s son as president. Kibala ruled similarly to his father, he had very little control over his soldiers, and used violence against his rivals. Parliament increased salary for themselves and ignored all other parliamentary duties. In 2005, 5 countries scored lower than the DRC in the human development index. This poorly reflects on the country and currently 30% of the population is illiterate, while 54% have no access to clean water. When the Congo was under rule of Colonialism the congolese natives were treated worse than animals. The people were given no proper education, no one was taught how to run an independent country. Once independence was granted no one truly understood what was next. This resulted in years of political and social turmoil, the mass killings of thousands of people, and wars that disrupted the economy. Currently, all of the past history has caused the current economic system, specifically the taxation system to become corrupt. The past has caused the present day situation to become unfair, corrupt, and a system solely used to fill the pockets of the rich and powerful. The populus is suffering because the resources that they should be earning money from are geared towards the global system. The western market, and western corporations are taking the money away from the congolese people. All that leaves is a congo that is suffering, that has been denied of human rights, and a place that is in ruin from underdevelopment as a country. All as a result of years and years of a colonial system that denied the congolese people even a shred of decency.