This true, astonishing story of what King Leopold II did in the Congo was forgotten for over 50 years. “ Congo:White King, Red Rubber, Black Death” describes how King Leopold II of Belgium turned Congo into its private colony between 1885 and 1908. Under his control, Congo became a gulag labor camp of shocking brutality. Leopold posed as the protector of Africans fleeing Arab slave-traders but, in reality, he carved out an empire based on terror to harvest rubber. Families were held as hostages, starving to death if the men failed to produce enough wild rubber. Children’s hands were chopped off as punishment for late deliveries. The Belgian government has denounced this documentary as a “tendentious diatribe” for depicting King Leopold II as the moral forebear of Adolf Hitler, responsible for the death of 10 million people in his rapacious exploitation of the Congo. Yet, it is agreed today that the first Human Rights movement was spurred by what happened in the Congo.
“Nick Fraser’s commanding narration lends real punch to Bate’s tough-minded text [in this] stunning indictment of Belgium’s brutal colonization of the Congo in the late 19th century.” Robert Koehler, Variety