During the period of the African scramble, the colonial states, concession companies, and missionary groups destroyed not only the local communities, but also the traditions and sacred bonds of the families. Under the guise of “taxation”, state-backed concession companies, like ABIR, ravaged through villages destroying structure and people in its path. In his book, “Red Rubber,” E.D. Morel conveyed that the people were “entitled to nothing” for the use of the land and abuse of the natives. State-armed militia brutally beat the laborers and forced them to work in chains and in extremely harsh weather (Morel). Furthermore, the spiritual decimation that many years of tyranny reigned on the people by a callous King was extreme, and, as J. Stengers writes in his essay, “King Leopold’s Imperialism, it “stamped out their very manhood” (Stengers).
Moreover, these combined inflictions not only destroyed the will and the spirit of the collective, but it destroyed the most intimate and sacred of their familial bonds. The most shocking reports came from those conveying extreme brutality against women and children, which the family-unit based African cultures, held most sacred. The gang-rape of women, the willful violation of her sacred places-by person and hard matter, and the flesh-ripping whips of the flogger on her back, enraged men to rebel -and to fight to their own deaths (Harms).
Yet, the most atrocious of crimes were imposed upon the most-innocent, as witnessed by the rapes, murders, and the dismembering of the hands and the feet of the children. The crimes against the children were so numbered, egregious, and terrorizing, that it traumatized nations of women and, thus, in subsequent years dramatically halted the birth rate (Hochschild). Ultimately, the multiple factions raging through Africa during the “scramble” left the fabric of the communities shredded, the spirit of the people shattered, and despite their many attempts to revolt and oust the foreign forces by force or destroying the systems of trade, the failure of the African’s rebellion was complete.
Harms, Robert. “The End of Red Rubber: A reassessment.” Ed. The Journal of African History. Great Britain : Cambridge University press, 1975. 73-88. JSTOR. January 2017.
Hochschild, Adam. “King Leopold’s Ghost .” Houghton Mifflin, 1999. Book. January 2017.
Morel, E.D. “Red Rubber.” New York: Negro University Press, 1905. 91-103.
Stengers, J. “King Leopold’s Imperialism.” The Journal of Modern History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008. 250-276. JSTOR DOI: 10.1086/591110.