PM Wilmès unveils Ixelles plaque on 60th anniversary of Congo’s independence
Share article:
Share article:

PM Wilmès unveils Ixelles plaque on 60th anniversary of Congo’s independence

© The Brussels Times

Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès marked the 60th anniversary of Congo’s independence from Belgium with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in Ixelles on Tuesday.

Speaking before members of Brussels’ Congolese community, Wilmès expressed support for a recently launched parliamentary commission on Belgium’s colonial past in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Related News:

 

“The time has come for Belgium to embark on a journey of research, truth and remembrance,” Wilmès said. “In 2020, we must be capable of looking back on that past with lucidity and discernment.”

Representatives of Congolese non-profits, artists and owners of businesses in Ixelles’ bustling Matongé neighbourhood were invited to the event, which was also attended by Brussels’ Minister-President Rudi Vervoort and hosted by Ixelles Mayor Christos Doulkeridis.

© The Brussels Times

The event featured live music as well as two a capella performances from Congolese artists, including a slam from Belgo-Congolese artists Pitcho Womba Konga, who made candid references to the ongoing debate about statues, memorials and reconciliation.

Wilmès statements on Tuesday coincided with a letter King Philippe sent to Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi expressing his “deepest regrets” for the colonial crimes committed during Belgium’s colonial rule.

The king’s letter stopped short of an apology but marked the first time a Belgian king openly condemned Belgium’s crimes and exactions in the Congo, departing from the monarchy’s long-held view of Belgium’s colonial exploits as having brought civilisation to the DRC.

Wilmès said that the Belgian government was “perfectly aligned” with Philippe’s statements, even as she stressed that he had spoken in a personal capacity.

Sixty years after the end of Belgium’s rule over the Congo, Wilmès said it was important to “give enough time” to the parliamentary commission and declined to say whether its work would lead to official apologies from Belgium, which could open the door for Congo to demand reparations.

“The objective is not to rewrite history, but to better understand it,” she said. “We must not make any anticipations on the conclusions of the [commmission’s] work.”

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...
Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...
Proximus pushes for high-speed internet in Brussels and Wallonia
Fifteen municipalities in Wallonia should soon have access to high-speed internet through the rollout of fibre optics in the region, telecoms giant ...
Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...
World’s largest chocolate warehouse opens in Flanders
On Thursday, Barry Callebaut – the largest global chocolate processor and manufacturer – opened the world's largest chocolate warehouse in Lokeren, ...
Belgium in Brief: Equal Opportunity To Dance
There's a phrase where I'm from, more often said in jest nowadays, but it came to my mind this morning: "Ye dancin'?" (Are you dancing?), one ...
Farmer discovers cocaine in banana boxes bought in Brussels
A Flemish farmer who purchased boxes of bananas at the market in Brussels on Tuesday came home to discover large amounts of cocaine packed among the ...
Changes to speed cameras increase likelihood of a ticket
Changes to the way speed cameras work in Flanders and Wallonia will increase the likelihood of receiving a ticket when cars pass them above the ...