The Belgian Congo has a controversial and violent history. In 1960, the delusion of a “managed” decolonization (that would have left all substantial power in the hands of the white settlers) was quickly shattered by increasingly violent conflicts. A large part of the white population had to be evacuated in a hurry while colonialism quickly disappeared from the metropole public discourse. For long time the memories of the settlers remained confined to their private lives, while their public image, albeit minimal, preserved a positive, civilizing, interpretation of their historical role. The situation changed radically at the end of the ’90s, when a wave of controversies challenged such positive view. While previously the private memories of the settlers had been complex and sometimes critical, many settlers —and their associations —reacted to these controversies claiming a heightened public role. They even tried to write their own “authentic” history of Belgian colonialism.

Beyond the “Trauma”: Legitimization and Revenge of the “Anciens du Congo” (Belgian Congo 1908–1960)

Rosario Giordano
2020

Abstract

The Belgian Congo has a controversial and violent history. In 1960, the delusion of a “managed” decolonization (that would have left all substantial power in the hands of the white settlers) was quickly shattered by increasingly violent conflicts. A large part of the white population had to be evacuated in a hurry while colonialism quickly disappeared from the metropole public discourse. For long time the memories of the settlers remained confined to their private lives, while their public image, albeit minimal, preserved a positive, civilizing, interpretation of their historical role. The situation changed radically at the end of the ’90s, when a wave of controversies challenged such positive view. While previously the private memories of the settlers had been complex and sometimes critical, many settlers —and their associations —reacted to these controversies claiming a heightened public role. They even tried to write their own “authentic” history of Belgian colonialism.
978-3-030-27024-7
de-colonization
European empire
collective memory
collective consciousness
cultural trauma
colonial returnees
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/311144
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