Patrice Lumumba

Congolese Prime Minister, executed by belgian, phostumous national hero (1925-1961)

Patrice Émery Lumumba (2 July 192517 January 1961) was a Congolese independence leader and the first democratically elected leader of the Congo. As founder and leader of the mainstream Mouvement National Congolais (MNC) party, Lumumba played an important role in campaigning for independence from Belgium.

Official portrait of Prime Minister Lumumba, 1960
Patrice Lumumba in Brussels, 26 January 1960
Statue of Lumumba in Kinshasa.
Patrice Lumumba signs the document granting independence to the Congo next to Belgian Prime Minister Gaston Eyskens
LumumbaBrussel1960
Lumumba monument in Leipzig, Germany
Patrice Lumumba in Brussel
Lumumba in Brussels, 1960.

QuotesEdit

  • No Congolese worthy of the name will ever to be able to forget that this independence has been won through a struggle in which we did not spare our energy and our blood... We have known ironies, insults, and blows which we had to undergo morning, noon and night because we were Negroes. We have seen our lands spoiled in the name of laws which only recognized the right of the strongest. We have known laws which differed according to whether it dealt with a black man or a white. We have known the atrocious sufferings of those who were imprisoned for their political opinions or religious beliefs, and of those exiled in their own country. Their fate was worse than death itself. Who will forget the rifle-fire from which so many of our brothers perished, or the jails in to which were brutally thrown those who did not want to submit to a regime of justice, oppression and exploitation which were the means the colonialists employed to dominate us?
    • The new leaders of Africa Rolf Italiaander, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall 1690, p 159. Patrice Lumumba at the Ceremony of the Proclamation of the Congo's Independence in Leopoldville on June 30, 1960.
  • No one is perfect in this imperfect world.
    • Congo, My Country
  • A minimum of comfort is necessary for the practice of virtue.
    • Congo, My Country
  • Days after death
    • No brutality, abuse or torture has bent me because I prefer to die with my head held high, with unwavering faith and a deep confidence in the future of my country, to live subdued and trampling sacred principles. One day history will judge us, but it will not be history according to Brussels, Paris, Washington or the UN, but that of the emancipated countries of colonialism and its puppets.
  • The Soviet Union is the only great power whose position has reflected the will and wishes of our people. Therefore the Soviet Union proves to be the only great power that has supported the Congolese people in their struggle from the beginning.
  • I took the money not for myself, but for my political activities, I hurt no private individual, only the Belgian state, which at the time was my worst enemy, it had plunderd us, now i plunderd it.
    • The new leaders of Africa Rolf Italiaander, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall 1690, p 152. Patrice Lumumba explains why he stole 126.000 Belgian Colonial Franks from the post office where he worked as a clerck.
  • While our brothers in Kenya, Nyasa-land, Rhodesia, South Africa and Angola are still fighting for their freedom, look at the wonderful future that smiles at us.
    • The new leaders of Africa Rolf Italiaander, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall 1690, p 155. Patrice Lumumba at the round table conference in Brussels.
  • We are no longer your monkeys.
    • The new leaders of Africa Rolf Italiaander, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall 1690, p 158. Patrice Lumumba shouted during the Speech of King Baudouin at the Ceremony of the Proclamation of the Congo's Independence in Leopoldville on June 30, 1960.
  • At the moment when Congo reaches independence, the whole government wishes to pay solemn homage to the King of the Belgians, and to the noble people he represents for the work done here over three quarters of a century. I would not wish my feelings to be wrongly interpreted... Long live King Baudouin, Long live Belgium, Long live the independent Congo.
    • The new leaders of Africa Rolf Italiaander, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall 1690, p 159. Patrice Lumumba in a speech at a luncheon following the Independence Ceremony on June 30, 1960 in Leopoldville. (In the book it is described that this moment had shown that Patrice Lumumba had two faces, he was anti-European when he had to win votes, but quickly became pro-European when it could help his party, the MNC.)
  • Our dearest wish perhaps, some may find it utopian is to found in the Congo a Nation in which differences of race and religion will melt away, a homogeneous society composed of Belgians and Congolese who with a single impulse will link their hearts to the destinies of the country.
  • The aspirations of the peoples of colonial countries, are identical, their destinies are similar and the goals they pursue in their national development are the same: liberation of Africa from the yoke of colonialism. Africa will never be free and independent if any part of it remains under foreign domination.
  • All together, dear brothers and sisters, workers and government employees, workers by brain and by hand, rich and poor, Africans and Europeans, Catholics and Protestants, Kimbanguists and Kitawalists, let us unite and create a great nation.
  • The European powers, want to enlist the sympathies of those African leaders who follow their lead and deceive their own people. Some of these powers see the meaning of their presence in the Congo and in Africa in exploiting their riches as much as possible, availing themselves of the services of the corrupt leaders.
  • I know that an overwhelming majority of the Belgian people are against the oppression of Africans. They disapprove of a colonial status for the Congo under which 14 million Congolese are exposed to the diktat of a tiny economic oligarchy. If the Belgian people were to have their say, the Congo would never have experienced the misfortunes which are affecting it now.
  • Tensions in the relations between the Congo and Belgium are being exacerbated only by the groups interested in exploiting the Congo’s wealth and who egg the authorities on to extend the colonial regime, as well as by some officials who are pursuing their private interests.
  • History attests, that independence is never brought to you on a silver platter. It must be won. To that end we must organise ourselves and mobilise all the healthy forces in the country. The Congolese have responded to our appeal and thanks to this united strength we have dealt a mortal blow to rotten colonialism.
  • We became the target of attacks because we no longer want to submit ... and reject corruption. They tried to bribe us and millions were promised to me, but I refused, I did not take a single centime.
  • My dear countrymen! In joy and in sorrow I will always be with you. It is together with you that I fought to free my country from foreign rule. Together with you I am fighting to strengthen our national independence. Together with you, I will fight to preserve the integrity and national unity of the Republic of the Congo.
  • Neither cruelty, nor violence, nor torture will make me beg for mercy, because I prefer to die with my head raised high, with unshakeable faith... In my country’s predestination rather than live in submission forsaking my sacred principles.
  • Our wounds are too fresh and too smarting for us to be able to have known ironies, insults, and blows which we had to undergo morning, noon and night because we were Negroes. We have seen our lands spoiled in the name of laws which only recognised the right of the strongest. We have known laws which differed according to whether it dealt with a black man or a white.
  • We have known the atrocious sufferings of those who were imprisoned for their political opinions or religious beliefs and of those exiled in their own country. Their fate was worse than death itself. Who will forget the rifle-fire from which so many of our brothers perished, or the gaols in to which were brutally thrown those who did not want to submit to a regime of justice, oppression and exploitation which were the means the colonialists employed to dominate us?

Quotes about Patrice LumumbaEdit

  • Those who expect from it an exposition of the dynamic nationalism for which he is now the symbol will be disappointed. Lumumba at that time was a self-conscious évolué and an exponent of gradualism, much more concerned to mediate between the Belgian colonial system and the mass of Congolese peasants than to demand immediate independence.
  • What we’ve been hearing from the panelists is how the global food system works right now... It’s based on large multinational companies, private profits, and very low international transfers to help poor people (sometimes no transfers at all). It’s based on the extreme irresponsibility of powerful countries with regard to the environment. And it’s based on a radical denial of the economic rights of poor people... We’ve just heard from the Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Many point a finger of blame at the DRC and other poor countries for their poverty. Yet we don’t seem to remember, or want to remember, that starting around 1870, King Leopold of Belgium created a slave colony in the Congo that lasted for around 40 years; and then the government of Belgium ran the colony for another 50 years. In 1961, after independence of the DRC, the CIA then assassinated the DRC’s first popular leader, Patrice Lumumba, and installed a US-backed dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, for roughly the next 30 years. And in recent years, Glencore and other multinational companies suck out the DRC’s cobalt without paying a level of royalties and taxes. We simply don’t reflect on the real history of the DRC and other poor countries struggling to escape from poverty. Instead, we point fingers at these countries and say, “What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you govern yourselves properly?”

External linksEdit

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