After 61 years, Belgium finally gives Patrice Lumumba's family his tooth

posted by vicky684 about 14 days ago
After 61 years, Belgium finally gives Patrice Lumumba's family his tooth
BELGIAN AUTHORITIES have finally given back a tooth that belonged to the freedom fighter Patrice Lumumba, who was killed 61 years ago.

The Congolese independence leader was killed and his body was dissolved in acid in January 1961 as part of a plot led by Belgium, Britain, and the United States. The tooth is all that is left of him.

Reports say that in a private ceremony this morning at the Egmont Palace in Brussels, a Belgian official gave a gold-capped tooth in a light blue box to members of Mr. Lumumba's family.

The relic was then put in a box that will be taken to the embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is the first step before the relic is sent back to its original home.

Alexander De Croo, the prime minister of Belgium, told Congolese officials and Mr. Lumumba's family that it had taken too long to return the tooth.

"It is not normal that Belgium kept the body of one of the Congolese nation's founders for 60 years," said De Croo.

Congo, now called the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), got its independence from Belgium in 1960. Patrice Lumumba was the first democratically elected prime minister of the country.

He also became a hero and the face of the fight against colonization in Africa.

Lord Lea, who was quoted in the London Review of Books as saying that former security chief Daphne Park told him about Britain's involvement, said that the assassination of Lumumba was planned by Britain's MI6.

The West was afraid that Lumumba would give Soviets mining contracts. Even though there are CIA records that prove the US was involved in the murder, Britain's secret service records will never be opened. A source in the UK government said that talk of Britain's involvement was "speculative."

The remains were supposed to be handed over on June 21, 2021, to mark the 60th anniversary of the DRC's independence. However, DRC President Tshisekedi said that the number of Covid-19 cases has been rising "exponentially," which has caused a delay. The plan was then moved to January 2022, but the pandemic again put a stop to the plans.

Mr. Lumumba's children have worked hard to get their father's body back.

In 2020, Juliana Lumumba, the daughter of the pan-African leader, asked for her father's tooth to be sent back to her family and country so he could be buried properly.

In the letter, she said, "If anthropologists say that caring about death and the funeral ritual are essential human traits, then every year the DRC, Africa, and the rest of the world pay tribute to Patrice Emery Lumumba as an unburied hero." The years go by, and our father is still dead without a funeral speech and a body without bones.

"In our culture, like yours, respect for the human person goes beyond physical death. This is shown by how well the bodies of the dead are cared for and how important the funeral ritual, the last goodbye, is.

"But why, after his horrible death, is Lumumba's soul doomed to wander forever, without a grave to let it rest for all time?"

Ms. Lumumba added, "Our mother spent fifty-three years of her life in mourning clothes, fighting to give her loving husband a final resting place. On December 23, 2014, she herself left us, a broken-hearted woman who had not been able to do her job as a widow. The worst part of our sadness is that we know our mother is not at peace.

"As children, my brothers and I have a duty to honor our father, our ancestor, by giving him a grave worthy of the precious blood that runs through our veins and connects us to him. This is our duty as descendants, now that we are mothers and fathers ourselves."

"We, the children of Patrice Emery Lumumba, do not want to leave this painful job to our children, who never met their grandfather," she said.

The relic was given back after King Philippe of Belgium said he had "deepest regrets" for the bad things Belgium did to its former African colony in the past.

In the year 2000, a Belgian police commissioner named Gérard Soete said that he had taken Mr. Lumumba's tooth by force and then dissolved it in sulfuric acid.

Soete also said that two of Lumumba's closest friends, Maurice Mpolo and Joseph Okito, who died at the same time as the Congolese hero, were cut up and dissolved.

In 2000, Soete showed the tooth, which he had kept for almost 40 years, in a documentary on the German TV channel ARD.

In September 2020, the Belgian justice system said that they had agreed to give the tooth back to Mr. Lumumba's family and that it had been taken from Soete's daughter.
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