In the late 19th century, Henry Morton Stanley (of Stanley and Livingston fame),(above) was the "king's man" --more accurately, a hired colonist conqueror -- working for Belgium's King Leopold II.
Stanley's assignment: Seize and conquer for Belgium, the vast and unexplored territory surrounding Africa's Congo River, a territory that stretched from Stanley Falls in the north to the mouth of the river, where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean.
Stanley and King Leopold worked with the conqueror's template, one which the 19th and 20th century Zionist movement also utilized to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
The formula used by Leopold and the Zionists is a well-worn conquerors' formula of deceit, deception, destruction and seizure.
In his book, King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa, Adam Hochschild tells the sordid and sad, but still illuminating story, of Stanley's successful conquest of Central Africa in the 19th century.
One description of the book offers a dark description of King Leopold:
"Carrying out a genocidal plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed its population by ten million -- all the while shrewdly cultivating his reputation as a great humanitarian."
Hochschild's book focuses on King Leopold, but the modern reader should see the historical parallel of Belgium's African empire with the Zionist movement's (still on-going) seizure of Palestinian land.
During his reign on Belgium's throne, King Leopold never visited what was then commonly referred to as the "dark continent." But as king of a tiny nation, he desperately wanted an empire of his own to rival those of his neighbors, England and France.
Hollywood's version of the meeting between Stanley and Dr. David Livingston was a highly romanticized portrait of journalist and explorer Charles Morton Stanley. Livingston's actual role in this drama is described by Hochschild:
"All those European impulses toward Africa -- antislavery zeal, the search for raw materials, Christian evangelism, and sheer curiosity -- were embodied in one man, David Livingston (left).
"Physician, prospector, missionary, explorer and at one point even a British consul, he wandered across Africa for three decades, starting in the early 1840s. He searched for the source of the Nile, denounced slavery, found Victoria Falls, looked for minerals and preached the gospel. As the first white man to cross from coast to coast he became a national hero in England."
While on another long expedition inside Africa, Livingston disappeared. Sensing a major story, New York Herald publisher James Gordon Bennett hired Henry Stanley to "find Livingston." He succeeded, though actual details of his meeting with Livingston are unclear. Stanley was a self-promoter who shaped the narrative of his exploits, including the meeting of the two men...
Stanley's reputation soared. Now an expert on Africa, as well as master of deceit and deception, Stanley was courted, and then hired, by King Leopold to prepare the way for a Belgian colonial kingdom in Africa. Greed and personal aggrandizement hidden behind the elevated rhetoric of Christian zeal, were combined in a story which the media of the day embraced daily.
Again, Stanley controlled the narrative, appropriately enough for a man serving a king determined to build a colonial empire while keeping his enemies oblivious to his intentions. Stanley and Leopold were true soulmates.
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