King Leopold II of Belgium was the ruler and owner of the Congo Free State from 1885 to 1908. The enormity of his rule in Africa is ranked among the Holocaust, Holodomor, and killing fields of Cambodia in terms of human atrocities and suffering.
Among the horrors that occurred in the Congo during his rule was a policy of severed hands. Leopold II demanded quotas of rubber from Congolese rubber plantations. If a village failed to meet the impossible quota, several slaves (that’s what they were) were executed. A hand was to be severed from the body and shipped to Belgium to show the execution took place. Severed hands became an acceptable alternative to rubber for quotas. This created a perverse incentive where villages raided each other, severing hands, and sending the hands back to Belgium.
Some 15 million Africans were killed or worked to death in the Congo, and many more were maimed, all for the natural resource of rubber.
Fast forward to now.
France and Britain are banning petroleum powered vehicles in 2040.
The demand for cobalt for electric and hybrid car batteries has resulted in the enslavement of countless children in heavy metal mines in … you guessed it… the Congo. It is described as “hell on earth.”
Picking through a mountain of huge rocks with his tiny bare hands, the exhausted little boy makes a pitiful sight.
His name is Dorsen and he is one of an army of children, some just four years old, working in the vast polluted mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where toxic red dust burns their eyes, and they run the risk of skin disease and a deadly lung condition. Here, for a wage of just 8p a day, the children are made to check the rocks for the tell-tale chocolate-brown streaks of cobalt – the prized ingredient essential for the batteries that power electric cars.
And it’s feared that thousands more children could be about to be dragged into this hellish daily existence – after the historic pledge made by Britain to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040 and switch to electric vehicles.
Once again, fancy Europeans show that there is no natural resource that they want that they aren’t willing to engage in the enslavement and mass murder of Congolese to obtain it.