« Il pleut des mains sur le Congo » : l’ethnocide colonial belge oublié

La mise en esclavage et le massacre des Congolais sous le règne de Léopold II, de 1885 à 1908.



L’ouvrage « Il pleut des mains sur le Congo » retrace un massacre de masse oublié dans les limbes de l’histoire, celui perpétré par l’administration belge du roi Léopolod II entre 1885 et 1908. Entretien avec l’auteur et éditeur Marc Wiltz.

C’est un pan terrifiant de l’histoire souvent occulté. Probablement 10 millions de morts, un sacrifice humain inouï de cruauté, une véritable mécanique de mort mise en place pour permettre à un modeste royaume européen de satisfaire ses appétits économiques, tout cela sous la pression d’un monarque prêt à tout pour avoir sa part du « gâteau africain ».

Léopold II (1865-1909) est au cœur de l’ouvrage « Il pleut des mains sur le Congo », qui retrace les 23 années d’enfer « démocidaire » au Congo. L’enjeu ? L’exploitation de l’ivoire et du caoutchouc par l’administration belge.
Le titre de l’ouvrage fait référence à la pratique de cette même administration qui demandait de couper une main de chaque indigène tué, afin de justifier l’usage de chaque balle des fusils de ses fonctionnaires.

Le récit de cette monstruosité coloniale évoquée par Marc Wiltz — monstruosité qui a décimé un tiers de la population du Congo de l’époque — s’appuie sur les textes des explorateurs et écrivains de l’époque, tels Joseph Conrad, Conan Doyle ou Marc Twain.
La « mission civilisatrice » de l’Europe, d’une Belgique justifiant et occultant les crimes commis sur les populations indigènes du Congo,  exterminées sans aucun d’état d’âme par l’homme blanc, est omniprésente dans ces pages sincères, et comme poreuses  d’une abjection glaciale. Tout cela au nom d’un roi « humaniste » et « philanthrope », comme était alors  perçu le  roi des Belges.

Marc Wiltz offre  avec cet ouvrage la compréhension d’un pan d’histoire oublié, voire renié et qui replace la part de ténèbres d’une Europe se revendiquant pourtant déjà des lumières, une Europe convaincue de sa supériorité sur les populations africaines, tant d’un point de vue politique, économique que moral. Une Europe qui n’a pourtant jamais voulu reconnaître ou réparer ce meurtre de masse, le premier de son histoire.

Entretien avec l’auteur d' »Il pleut des mains sur le Congo ».

Pourquoi écrire et publier aujourd’hui « Il pleut des mains sur le Congo » ? Quels ont été les éléments déclencheurs ?




Marc Wiltz : La découverte de cette histoire, au fur et à mesure de mes lectures, m’a stupéfaite. J’ai travaillé en Afrique il y a longtemps, et j’ai une certaine sensibilité à ce monde là, à ces gens là, à la façon dont on les regarde. Et il y a d’ailleurs encore beaucoup de progrès, à faire, si je puis dire, sur ce regard porté. J’ai publié une biographie de Stanley (explorateur représentant officiel de Leopold II au Congo, ndlr) il y a une dizaine d’années, et c’est un personnage tout à fait intéressant.

J’étais médiocre en math et en physique mais bon en français, en philosophie et en histoire, et l’année 1885 était quelque chose dont on ne m’avait jamais parlé . Il y a en France, cette année là,  à la chambre des Députés, le discours de politique coloniale de la France de Jules Ferry, qui explique que « l’homme blanc est bien supérieur à tous les autres », et la réponse, cinglante, de Clémenceau, qui est magistrale. Mais cette même année, il y a la conférence de Berlin, avec le partage de l’Afrique, et plus on tire le fil de la pelote, à partir de ces événements, plus on est stupéfait.

Au delà des descriptions terrifiantes de ce génocide oublié de l’histoire, il y a une réflexion sur une forme de révisionnisme historique, ou en tout cas, d’oubli. En Belgique, particulièrement, comment parle-t-on de cette période, celle du Roi Léopold II ?

L’écrivain et éditeur Marc Wiltz

M.W : En premier lieu, je tiens à dire que je suis d’accord avec ceux qui disent que ce n’est pas un génocide. J’essaye de donner une autre définition, qui serait celle du « démocide » (une tuerie démographique, ndlr), parce que le génocide c’est une volonté de tuer des gens spécifiques. Il n’y avait pas une volonté de tuer en particulier ces gens là. Ça aurait pu être d’autres gens, 500 km plus loin. C’était de l’esclavage déguisé. Le résultat est le même que pour un génocide, mais d’un point de vue vocabulaire c’est un meurtre de masse, pas un génocide, mais c’est le premier commis par des Européens. Concernant le révisionnisme, ce n’en est pas non plus : le révisionnisme c’est falsifier des faits avérés. Là, on les cache, on les tord, mais on ne les réécrit pas, on les met sous le tapis et on fait comme si ça n’avait pas existé.

Le résultat, c’est que Léopold II a réussi ça. Il y a  des statues partout de Léopold II en Belgique, des noms de rue, d’hôtels, tout est Léopold. Parce que Léopold a amené à la Belgique, une richesse à laquelle elle ne s’attendait pas.

C’est un pan d’histoire terrible, glaçant, et monstrueux, et l’on pense au Rwanda. Y a t il des liens entre ces deux massacres, un traumatisme commun à cette région du monde qui pourrait mener à ces répétitions de crimes de masse ?

M.W : C’est exactement ça, et j’essaye de le dire dans ma conclusion. On ne peut pas attendre autre chose de l’ensemble de ces populations, sur un aussi vaste territoire, tellement hallucinées par ce qu’on leur a fait subir, que de conserver ça dans la conscience collective. Cette ultra-violence s’est transmise, bien évidemment.

Votre ouvrage parle du développement industriel de l’Europe, pas seulement celui de la Belgique. La France a pris le relais au Congo, dès le début du XXème siècle, et les exactions coloniales sont là aussi importantes, avec des assassinats de masse de plusieurs milliers de personnes, pour la collecte de l’impôt par exemple. Quelles leçons tirer de cette partie de l’histoire de France et européenne ?      


M.W : Pour les Français c’est à bien moins grande échelle, mais les massacres sont bien réels. Je pense qu’il faut étudier l’histoire à une autre aune. Ce que je ne voudrais pas, c’est que ce livre s’inscrive dans la repentance anti-coloniale. Je ne veux pas de ça parce que ce n’est pas le sujet. Le sujet c’est celui de poser la question du crime de masse. Ce n’est pas la colonisation le sujet. C’est un crime incroyable. Vraiment incroyable.

Comment au Congo, et en Afrique noire plus généralement, cette histoire coloniale est-elle perçue aujourd’hui ? Votre livre sera-t-il diffusé là-bas ? Commenté ? Il y a un intérêt, localement, pour cette part de l’histoire du Congo ?

Cette partie de l’histoire est assez peu connue en réalité. J’ai débattu avec des historiens congolais, et eux la connaissent, parce qu’ils sont historiens, mais la population n’a pas connaissance de cette histoire. Elle a vaguement quelque chose à l’esprit, mais il n’y a pas le même système d’éducation qu’ici. Ce qu’il s’est passé avec Léopold II, qui est mort en 1909, c’est que la famille royale de Belgique a pris la suite jusqu’aux années 60. Puis il y a eu l’épisode Lumumba à l’indépendance, pendant 3 mois, et puis après, Mobutu pendant 30 ans. Et Mobutu a continué le travail (de la famille royale, ndlr), si je puis dire…

Mon livre sera certainement diffusé au Congo et ailleurs. Je suis certain qu’il y aura un intérêt. Ce n’est pas un livre politique. Ce qui m’a surpris, lorsque j’ai discuté avec les historiens congolais, c’est que l’un d’eux m’a fait remarquer que j’étais le premier Français à parler de ça, dans le détail. Il y avait eu un Belge, des Anglais, mais aucun Français !

J’aimerais rendre hommage à quelques personnages importants, au delà des écrivains connus. Il y a bien entendu Morel, qui est une figure incroyable, qui a consacré sa vie à dénoncer ce crime. L’autre, c’est l’ambassadeur belge Jules Marchal, qui n’a pas pu s’empêcher d’aller jusqu’au bout du fil qu’il avait trouvé.

Pour finir, j’ai lancé une pétition, puisque que j’ai découvert à la toute fin de cette histoire qu’il y avait une avenue Léopold II à Paris. Je l’ai adressée à Monsieur Hollande, président de la République, Madame Hidalgo, Maire de Paris et Monsieur Goasguen, maire du 16ème arrondissement. Cette demande vise à  débaptiser cette avenue.

Pétition Débaptisez l’Avenue Léopold II ! 

Il pleut des mains sur le Congo, éditeur Magellan @ Cie : http://www.editions-magellan.com/livre/327-il-pleut-des-mains-sur-le-congo



Via: TV5 Monde

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