Professor Michelle Gawerc
March 20, 2012
Social Forces Underlying Global Interaction: Colonialism, Division of Labor & Globalization
2) Summarize the impact colonialism had in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (referencing Kloby and/or Ferrante) and reflect on whether poverty and/or internal wars can be understood as a consequence of colonialism.
In the words of Jerry Kloby, "generally, colonies fall into two categories." There are those that are established as a new homeland for settlers from the mother country. The second is for the pure benefit enrichment of the mother country resulting in the enrichment of the parent country and the exploitation of the colony (Kloby, 99-100, 1). Kloby defines colonization as " the formal political domination of one country by another in which the relationship between the two nations is always one of economic exploitation, although the dominant nation may pretend otherwise," (Kloby, 100, 2). This all peaked during the scramble from Africa in the late 1800s. This effects of this period were extremely detrimental to the colony itself even after granted independence and has left us today with over 150 third world countries whose economic and political development was immensely hindered by colonialism. The perfect example of a country unrightfully and barbarically exploited during this scramble was the Congo, now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As I learned from reading Joan Ferrante and Jerry Kloby's books, the Congo was literally stripped of all control by King Leopold of Belgium's selfish and inconsiderate greed. It all began in 1885 after Sir Henry Morton Stanley found the Congo River and Belgium's military successfully took over the natives and defeated the Anglo-Portuguese, who also were looking to colonize the Congo. The Congo had a lot to offer these dominant powers as far as labor and resources went. The Congo was rich in ivory, tin, palm oil and most importantly, rubber (Kloby, 100, 4-5). Rubber had become an increasingly important commercial good during this time, so Leopold claimed over 90% of the land and bound all natives to their villages and towns where they lived (Kloby, 101, 1). Within the 90% of that land was their hunting ground and main source food. As a result, villages deteriorated, food supply diminished and starvation took full effect (Kloby, 101, 4). And that was only one effect of the terror Leopold put the natives of the Congo through. Leopold cut off the Congo natives from trading with any other European nations and then used the natives for labor to produce the resources needed for Belgium to export. The exploitation was enforced by Leopold's own military soldiers and another military of natives that followed under Leopold's rule. The enforcement was night in anyway congenial; it was barbaric and devastating. Women and children were taken to "hostage houses" to ensure cooperation of the men and those who still did not agree were killed and/or their hands and sex organs were dismembered. Villages were raided, people were held captive, women were raped and them and children were crucified (Kloby, 101, 2). Diseases also spread rapidly. In 1980, the first known HIV infected blood sample was found in a Congolese blood bank. The blood was stored in 1959 and sociologist and scientist have deducted that HIV was transferred in the 1930s from a diseased chimpanzee to a human (Ferrante, 105, 2). As Ferrante stated, sociologists study interactions, they seek to understand larger social forces that bring people together in interaction with one another and how it shapes the content and direction of that interaction. (Ferrante, 106, 1) This gives credit to why it is legitimate to look to colonialism as a major cause of this disease. By the Belgium savage enforcement and exploitation and the famine that was rapidly increasing, the natives were forced into unfamiliar jungles in hopes of survival. In class