… and the automobile made the price of rubber, essential for tires, skyrocket.
A rubber tree takes 15 years tomature before it can be tappedfor its sap. Rubber trees onlygrow naturally in a few spots,including Congo.Leopold knew if he gainedcontrol over the natural rubberforests of Congo, he’d have adecade and a half to corner themarket before he’d face anycompetition.
He hired agents to gain control of Congo – an area80 times larger than Belgium which he claimed ashis privately owned lands. When he did, otherEuropean powers followed his lead. They met inBerlin and carved up the map of Africa.
By the eve of theFirst World War, allof Africa (exceptEthiopia) had beenconquered and itsresources werebeing exported tothe industrialfactories of Europe.
Stage 3:Leopold II’s menIn Congo, Dehumanizationexported a steady flow ofrubber by enslaving itspeople and forcing them toharvest this resource.
Stage 3: DehumanizationLeopold’s soldiers weregiven a rifle and ten bullets.Bullets were expensive. Toprove soldiers didn’t wastethem, they had to bring backa severed hand from avictim for each shot fired.Of course, no one hits theirtarget 100% of the time somany innocents had theirhands cut off to cover forthe soldiers’ missed shots.
A 20-year genocideclaimed 10 millionlives before Leopold IIwas eventually forcedto turn control ofCongo over to theBelgian government.Afterwards, littlechanged. Congo, richin resources, stillsuffers an eerilysimilar fate today.
Today, 90% of coltan,a rare metal essentialfor cell phones,laptops, and otherelectronics is foundin Congo and dug byhand in pits like thisone run by some of SCRAMBLING FOR HIDDEN WEALTH A hunter discovered tin ore in eastern Congo in 2002, andthe people who miners arrived almost overnight. In the battle for control of the mine in Bisie, a militia allied withconducted the 1994 the government won out.Rwandan genocide.
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/11/15/world/africa/20081115-congo/index.html?ref=africa Click on these links to read more about this terrible aspect of today’s global economy. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/16/world/a frica/16imani.html?ref=africa&pagewanted=all