I just finished reading an article by Michael Barrett in the New Statesman, Letter from Kinshasa: on the trail of Henry Morton Stanley. Barrett wrote about the statue restoration of a well-known tyrant, Stanley. Where does the statue reside? It resides in the Congo.
Do you find it odd, or difficult, perhaps the idea of citizens going about their lives and walking past a statue which represents a bloody, violent past? In 1879, Stanley was hired by the Congo Free State, a ruthless enterprise which destroyed the land and dehumanized its people. Those who opposed Stanley were killed, as nothing was left after King Leopold of Belgium had his way. Sadly, the violence continued in the Congo long after their departure.
Kisangani, formerly known as Stanleyville, is where the debate ensues on whether to restore the statute of Stanley or leave it to waste. History and reflection have always been important to me. It reminds us of our achievements, as well as our failures. I will be very curious to see what becomes of the statue, if it should find its place of rest in the city or continue to be discussed over and over, without end.