Home Civil Liberty What Do You Mean We're Independent Now So It's Our Own Problem?

What Do You Mean We’re Independent Now So It’s Our Own Problem?



As Lenin pointed out that Imperialism was just the last gasp of capitalism looking for somewhere to make profits. So, we did away with that, all those colonies, because capitalism is a bad thing. Independence swept, as a changing wind, across much of the world.


Congolese people have been brutalised since 1996. Why isn’t the west helping?
Vava Tampa

Sorry? What?

Belgium left. You’re independent, that means you get to do the stuff you want. And, equally, it means that the problems are yours to deal with.

However, I cannot shake the feeling that nothing will change, that the Congolese people have been abandoned. The death and destruction we have suffered – the more than 5.4 million killed between 1998 and 2008 – half of whom were children under 5, the wholesale wasting of villages, towns and communities, the relentless use of rape and machetes and axes in Beni and elsewhere in DRC seem not to matter.

But this is not a humanitarian appeal: it is a call for solidarity and compassion. I believe what is happening in Beni in eastern DRC is genocidal – and the UK, US and EU stance on the impunity fuelling these killings is shameful. Even complicit.

The demand here is all rather Kipling, isn’t it?

Take up the White Man’s burden—
The savage wars of peace—
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch Sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Does it stop being colonialism when it’s well meant intervention? Non-capitalist? Are we really that far down the rathole of believing Lenin?



  1. Must admit when I read the original article I thought the same – how is it our problem. I don’t want any of our troops dying to pull a bunch of ignorant african arses out of the fire. Perhaps the Guardian can send a crack troop of it’s “journalists” over there to sought things out as they love black people so much. – as long as Owen Jones, Sarkar and Freeland are in the first wave.- and we can call them the Kamikaze squad. That should scare them.

  2. – Today: Britain stands idly by, letting murderers and rapists brutalise the innocent people of the Congo! It is a shameful disgrace that they are doing nothing to prevent this! We demand action to force Britain to intervene!

    Agreed that by any objective test, this is a bad outcome. So, we send a couple of battalions of MACA-trained (Military Aid to the Civil Authority) troops in, to sort out the machete-wielding kiddy-rapists.

    – Tomorrow: British troops are beating, murdering and imprisoning Congolese citizens in an attempt at neo-imperialist conquest! It is a shameful disgrace that Britain has sent its soldiers to invade the Congo! We demand action to end the cruel British intervention!

    If we intervene, we’re vicious oppressive colonialsts, if we don’t intervene, we’re complicit in allowing the Congo to… be a free and independent nation. Whatever we do, it’s going to be wrong; so why suffer cost and casualties in order to be denounced as empire-building criminals?

  3. So, Tampa has fled to London and now wishes to drag the UK, among other Westerners, into the Congolese shithole. No doubt when we’ve ground the locals under our tank tracks and restored order with the noose and the lash, he’ll be the first to scream war-crime and stab our soldiers in the back.

    Though I did love his suggestion that a solution is for the UN to send in the lawyers.

    Freedom necessarily includes the freedom to go to hell after your own fashion. Or as Dr Johnson put it a couple of centuries ago, it includes the freedom to starve.

  4. When I think about it, I actually disagree with Lenin. Surprise, surprise!!

    I’d argue that at least the late 19th century surge of colonisation in Africa was simply the fashion of the day, as climate change or BLM is these days. The sentiments expressed by Kipling make that quite clear.

    For example, Leopold’s problem in the Congo was that it simply wasn’t profitable. The conquest of such a place, and the organisation and infrastructure building necessary to make it pay were not a particularly efficient use of capital. This was obvious to the Brits, who already had plenty of colonies. So Salisbury proposed that everyone have open slather in Africa, and leave the problem of law and order, and the introduction of modern 19th century technology, to the locals.

    Naturally this was held by the rest of the world to be a sinister plot by the Brits to stop them getting their fair share of the loot.

    Fortunately the locals hated this influx of awful white immigrants. So the left, having dragged the Europeans into the mess, promptly blamed everything on the evil white racists and pointed out that they whole-heartedly supported black independence from the wicked white Westerners.

    But naturally, now we’ve finally got rid of these encumbrances, the left blames we revolting racists for dumping the places, and demands we should long since have sorted out everything.

    Needless to say, I believe we should keep well away from the mess. The locals are perfectly capable of running their affairs if they can be bothered to put the effort in, but of course they’d much rather foist the problems on us.

  5. King Leopold of Belgium was indeed a greedy and stupid man – he did not personally kill anyone or order their deaths, but he DID NOT CARE, he ruled the Congo from thousands of miles away and just demanded money without caring to find out how the money was got. It is also true that the people who killed black Africans were themselves black Africans – but that is no excuse, King Leopold claimed to be in charge so the-buck-stops-with-him. This is why the Congo was taken away from him in 1908.


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in British English
expunct (ɪkˈspʌŋkt)
VERB (transitive)
1. to delete or erase; blot out; obliterate
2. to wipe out or destroy

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