This address was delivered during a panel discussion at the United National Antiwar Coalition Conference held in Secaucus, New Jersey on May 9, 2015. The panel was chaired by Margaret Kimberley of Black Agenda Report and also featured Maurice Carney of Friends of the Congo.
On June 30, 1960, the former Belgian Congo gained its independence from Belgium. Patrice Lumumba of the Congolese National Movement (MNC-Lumumba) became the dominant political party within the newly-created parliament in Leopoldville, now known as Kinshasa.
Several days later the Force Publique (the paramilitary force trained by Belgium) revolted plunging the country into uncertainty. Later Belgium along with the United States engineered the secession of the mineral-rich region of Katanga.
Lumumba requested the intervention of the United Nations in an effort to maintain some semblance of an international balance of forces in Congo. Nonetheless, the UN would act to isolate Lumumba leading to a coup and the subsequent capture and brutal execution of the revolutionary leader and his close comrades in January 1961.
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