The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.61/No.10           March 10, 1997 
Malcolm X Exposed Imperialist Slaughter In Congo  
Printed below is an excerpt from a speech by Malcolm X on events in the Congo (now called Zaire). The talk was given in Rochester, New York, on February 16, 1965, five days before his death. The speech is taken from the Pathfinder book February 1965: The Final Speeches by Malcolm X.

A section of the Congolese army led by Col. Mobutu Sese Seko seized power in a coup in September 1960, at the instigation of the U.S. government. Five months later, Patrice Lumumba, the country's first prime minister and central leader of Congo's anticolonial movement, was killed by the forces of Moise Tshombe, a wealthy plantation owner who was supported by 10,000 Belgian troops. The government of Belgium was the Congo's colonial master until June 30, 1960, when the country won independence.

An antigovernment rebellion by Tshombe's forces broke out in Katanga province, after Lumumba won the presidency in a general election. Lumumba invited the United Nations to send "peacekeepers" to counter the Belgium-backed uprising. But instead of fighting the rebellion, UN troops disarmed Lumumba's forces, thus aiding Belgian troops. Following Mobutu's coup, Lumumba was arrested and handed over to Tshombe, who had him murdered.

After Lumumba's death, anti-imperialist forces continued the fight to liberate their country. By early 1964 these young rebels known as simbas (lions) - often armed with spears, bows, and arrows - had chased Mobutu's troops out of large parts of the Congo.

Facing this critical situation, Mobutu brought back Tshombe, who was in exile for a brief period of time, and named him prime minister. Tshombe recruited an army of mercenaries from South Africa, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Europe, and the United States. Of the latter, many were CIA- trained Cuban counterrevolutionaries from Miami.

On Nov. 24, 1964, U.S. Air Force "escorts" ferried 600 Belgian paratroopers in an attack on Stanleyville, allegedly on a "humanitarian rescue mission" to save "white hostages." Thousands of Congolese died in the attack. So many bodies were left lying in the street that a typhoid epidemic broke out.

Tshombe's mercenaries and their imperialist backers eventually crushed the anti-imperialist rebels. In 1965, Mobutu ousted Tshombe and proclaimed himself president. He has remained in power ever since with the backing of Washington, Paris, and other imperialist powers who are today vying over a new intervention in Zaire.

February 1965: The Final Speeches is copyright 1992 by Betty Shabazz and Pathfinder Press. Excerpts are reprinted by permission.

The best recent example at the international level to bear witness to what I'm saying is what happened in the Congo.

Look at what happened. We had a situation where a plane was dropping bombs on African villages. An African village has no defense against the bombs. And an African village is not a sufficient threat that it has to be bombed. But planes were dropping bombs on African villages. When these bombs strike, they don't distinguish between enemy and friend. They don't distinguish between male and female. When these bombs are dropped on African villages in the Congo, they are dropped on Black women, Black children, Black babies. These human beings were blown to bits. I heard no outcry, no voice of compassion for these thousands of Black people who were slaughtered by planes. [Applause]

Why was there no outcry? Why was there no concern? Because, again, the press very skillfully made the victims look like they were the criminals, and the criminals look like they were the victims. [Applause] They refer to the villages as "rebel held," you know. As if to say, because they are rebel-held villages, you can destroy the population, and it's okay. They also refer to the merchants of death as "American"-trained, "anti-Castro Cuban pilots." This made it okay....

So these mercenaries, dropping bombs on African villages, caring nothing as to whether or not there are innocent, defenseless women and children and babies being destroyed by their bombs. But because they're called mercenaries, given a glorified name, it doesn't excite you. Because they are referred to as "American-trained" pilots, because they are American-trained, that makes them okay. "Anti-Castro Cuban," that makes them okay. Castro's a monster, so anybody who's against Castro is all right with us, and anything that they do from there, that's all right with us. You see how they trick up your mind? They put your mind right in a bag, and take it wherever they want as well. [Applause]

But it's something that you have to look at and answer for. Because they are American planes, American bombs escorted by American paratroopers, armed with machine guns. But, you know, they say they're not soldiers, they're just there as escorts, like they started out with some advisers in South Vietnam. Twenty thousand of them - just advisers. These are just "escorts." They're able to do all of this mass murder and get away with it by labeling it "humanitarian," "an act of humanitarianism." Or "in the name of freedom," "in the name of liberty." All kinds of high-sounding slogans, but it's cold-blooded murder, mass murder. And it's done so skillfully, until you and I, who call ourselves sophisticated in this twentieth century, are able to watch it, and put the stamp of approval upon it. Simply because it's being done to people with black skin, by people with white skin.

They take a man who is a cold-blooded murderer, named [Moise] Tshombe. You've heard of him, Uncle Tom Tshombe. [Laughter and applause] He murdered the prime minister, the rightful prime minister, Lumumba. He murdered him. [Applause] Now here's a man who's an international murderer, selected by the State Department and placed over the Congo and propped into position by your tax dollars. He's a killer. He's hired by our government. He's a hired killer. And, to show the type of hired killer he is, as soon as he's in office he hires more killers from South Africa to shoot down his own people. And you wonder why your American image abroad is so bankrupt.  
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