I first got into this interesting topic back when I was a child growing up
I was very ‘aqua-phobic’ as a child and was unable to swim until I
was a teenager.
What got me interested in seeing women swim clothed is, during my
younger days I used to watch movies with scenes of people clothed falling
off a boat.
I remember very well a holiday camp when I was young.
The last day everyone got thrown in the swimming pool wearing everything.
I still remember one of the girls who kept getting thrown in wearing a
very long silky dress seeing it blow up into a balloon from air getting
trapped in the material. Hence the “billowing” thing I love which seems
to be of no interest to anyone else but myself.
I really do consider myself VERY different!!!
I myself enjoy the feeling of taking a bath wearing a pair of baggy
jeans and baggy shirt.
My girlfriend and I used to go in to the hot tub with everything on.
I don’t see her anymore.
Most of the photos I’ve posted are real. Yes it’s true, some are
adjusted with Photoshop.
I would call mine “Wetlook”: and “Billowing”….
I do NOT like feet, yes I know all guys are supposed to like it!!
I do NOT like S and M although I like to see women wear leather
dresses as seen in my photos.
Several years ago I couldn’t think up a name for my account, so I
named it Safezone…
I like jaccuzzi’s because the air jets blow clothing up.
It’s a really nice feeling when this happens…. :)
Saartje Baartman and the contemporary female fetishized body...
Saartje ‘Sara’ Baartman or better known through her colonial nickname the ‘Hottentot Venus’. (Hottentot was a phonetic description of the Khoi-San people – Now considered derogatory. Hottentot was used because when spoken quickly it imitates the sound of the (now largely extinct KhoiKhoi Language) at the time and Venus eludes to the name of the Goddess of love , however Baartman experienced nothing but abuse throughout her life.) became one of the most famous women of her day in europe from the years 1810 to 1815. During Baartman’s short life her body was fetished to the point of sadism even after her death.
Born in 1789 she was taken from her native South Africa to London as a slave where she became the objects of a humiliating freak show for no other reason than the dimensions of her body. There is no doubt that Baartman’s body was unusual in its exaggeration of her buttocks and it has also been documented that she had an elongated labia. Put on display as an objective of curiosity she was presented like an animal to paying visitors with the price of the show including the opportunity to touch her if they weren’t ‘too afraid’ to.
After this period of her life she was moved to Paris where she became the subject of biological paintings where scientists tried to prove that her body was that of a prehistoric form. To extend the already unbearable humiliation to Baartman’s existence her genitialia which was meant to have been of a larger scale was repeatedly offered money if she would display it to an academic audience.
Towards the end of her life she was finally subjected to prostitution in private parties at first, then developing alcoholism she worked in a brothel and died of an unknown disease however it has been speculated that it was either from syphilis or from alcoholism.
However the objectification of her body didn’t end after her death, it was then dissected and placed into formalin by a French anatomist and zoologist that used his research to attempt to demonstrate in front of the French National Academy of Medicine a racist theory of evolution for which black bodies were considered as pre-humans.
A mold created of her corpse was then exhibited by the prestigious Musée de l’Homme in Paris until 1974, and it was only in 2002 that the demands from the Khoïkhoï (racistly called “Hottentot” by the Afrikaners), supported by the post-Apartheid South African government, were met by the French government in order to send back Baartman’s remains to be buried on her native land. Nelson Mandela requested her remains be brought home in 1994. It took eight years for the French to pass a bill to have their “scientific curiosity” return to South Africa. It is truly disgusting that it took a total of 187 years for her body to put to rest for the show to end of Baartman her pain is over.
The variations of colonised subjectivity that Baartman experienced was heartbreakingly varied, obviously there is the formation which took place through her being a slave which is more obvious but then this is also miser with the capitalized spectacle of her body which combines racist objectification with the display of her body as a commodity, and then the academic interest for her body’s morphology to serve colonial ideologies through the simulacrum of scientist evolutionary demonstrations even after her actual death.
The slave master, the capitalist entertainer, the pimp and the racist scientist are the four aspects of the same figure of the colonialist. This dominating figure wants to simultaneously have access to free or under-payed (wo)manpower, to develop an economy of spectacle to its bourgeois audience, to subjugate the colonized body to his desire eventually to justify the system of rationality he uses to legitimatize his acts through the fallacious construction of an ideology that excludes the colonized body from the realms of human beings entitled to rights. (source)
It is interesting looking at Baartman’s life not only as a lesson to the extremity of colonised society but how currently women’s bodies are fetishised for having exaggerated African features. The Kardashianation of our contemporary society over the last few years has seen a boom in women amplifying and distorting the natural dimensions of their bodies to maintain some kind of current ideal of what is now deemed as sexy. It is of course unusual for women who are not from the decent of South American or African genetics to create the shape of this kind of body without the aid of either intensive exercise or surgery. But even then many women who naturally emulate this shape are going through surgical procedures to extend this physical shape. There is a kind of extremity in how rapidly this trend in body shape has escalated which brings up ideas of curiosity in how these women’s bodies will appear once this trend falls out of fashion.
How one kind of body was deemed with such colonial venom and disgust 160 years later we now seem an amalgamation of this kind of shape come into the most sexually fetishized and generally unrealistic formation for many women emulating this look to acheive. It is difficult to say whether there is anything empowering about this transformation as its main purpose it to entice male sexual interest which seems rather backwards in terms of what someone like Baartman’s body went through (or basic feminism?). But then again there is the argument that this shape celebrates a figure which has almost always been ‘out of fashion’ which is no bad thing. The issue here is more about the artificiality and painful procedures that women are experiencing to attract other men.
We now see women creating whole careers for themselves simply for the shape of their bodies with women such as Blac Chyna or Kim Kardashian flaunting a kind of impossibility which sits so uneasily and quite surreally on their small frames. Especially when their fame stems from very little other than previous sex work or being the partner of a more famous man. Only a few years ago this kind of body would have been considered unattractive to both sexes but what does it say about our society that women are being fetishsized in this way and men from all over the world are spectating and enjoying it? Many women are looking up to these examples and mimicking this look as something desirable. As the availability of more and more extreme pornography becomes common place and even more mundane but totally unrealistic sexual acts become so easily streamed into the majority of the growing worlds minds the physical components of the over exercised porn stars bodies is also seeming to trickle down to more and more women.
Modifying your own physicality is always a personal choice and people must always create something that they believe will endorse self confidence or an aesthetic of decision, but I can’t help but feel that men are still not enduing as much pain for the sake of attracting other females and this type of body shape unless natural creates some difficult issues in how we still see women as objects of sex and how so many women are happy to be subjected like that…
Camille Vivier Interviewed by Susan Bright for SHOWstudio...
Susan Bright: Why did you call the piece Monument!? Camille Vivier: The title I finally chose was ‘Monument’ because it refers to a celebration and I like the gap between what a monument is supposed to be and the intimacy of a candle, which is more related to still life paintings and the Vanitas tradition. It was also a way to break with the over-romanticised aspect. I was doing work about candles at the time and more specifically about rituals and magic candles. (This one is a Santeria candle - a Brazilian cult mixing catholic and African animalist belief, something like voodoo. People use it to celebrate a union and make it more fruitful).
How did you choose the music to accompany the film!? A friend composed the music to whom I gave complete ‘carte blanche’. I liked the idea that it told a story and that it accompanies the film. I did not want either something too conceptual or something that would have been more important than the image. I hope that we have found a good balance and a true compliment.
The two figures become one - is this a symbolic representation of love!? My initial idea was centred round time and transformation or alteration. It’s true that the couple brings a symbolic dimension, but I liked the idea that these two distinct bodies just became one in an abstract block. They do not suddenly become one, but with time they become consumed with love and their future is as one. It is a history of love from its start to its end and with all its tests along the way. I like the idea of sharing and find reassuring the idea that they face the fire together.
A flame is an ancient symbol associated with love and desire used throughout art and literature. Are there any specific works that were an inspiration!? The flame of course leads us back to passion. I was rather thinking of 'Wild at Heart' by David Lynch where the fire becomes a recurrent motif; through the fire, the sound of a struck match, a cigarette lit after love. Fire recalls above all time that passes and the fatality of life, through their love they are linked in their destiny. I also saw, a little after I finished my film, Fritz Lang’s 'The Three Lights', where each candle represents a life and where death is represented by each extinguished flame. In my film it is the double death. The flame becomes symbolic through what the candle represents, but I could have found another process of degradation. I wanted the action of the fire to act progressively in real time, knowing that I was then going to accelerate it.
What did you want to say with the film!? To sum up, what makes a happy life (and therefore a happy end) is love and poetry, the acceptance of our fragility, and our ability to absorb things. In spite of our individuality, we only live through others and are part of a whole…
“It is an interesting dynamic, with the young designer and youth..
..They weren’t curios, everything is so immediate. So you just have to type it into the computer and it immediatly pops up, but things that go furter than that, they are not researching. You can’t arrive at abstraction, without the basic form…”—Edward Buchanan
"It is an interesting dynamic, with the young designer and youth..
..They weren’t curios, everything is so immediate. So you just have to type it into the computer and it immediatly pops up, but things that go furter than that, they are not researching. You can’t arrive at abstraction, without the basic form…”
Open Letter from George Washington to Leopold II, King of Belgium...
Good and Great Friend,
I have the honour to submit for your Majesty’s consideration some reflections respecting the Independent State of Congo, based upon a careful study and inspection of the country and character of the personal Government you have established upon the African Continent.
It afforded me great pleasure to avail myself of the opportunity afforded me last year, of visiting your State in Africa; and how thoroughly I have been disenchanted, disappointed and disheartened, it is now my painful duty to make known to your Majesty in plain but respectful language. Every charge which I am about to bring against your Majesty’s personal Government in the Congo has been carefully investigated; a list of competent and veracious witnesses, documents, letters, official records and data has been faithfully prepared, which will be deposited with Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, until such time as an International Commission can be created with power to send for persons and papers, to administer oaths, and attest the truth or falsity of these charges.
There were instances in which Mr. HENRY M. STANLEY sent one white man, with four or five Zanzibar soldiers, to make treaties with native chiefs. The staple argument was that the white man’s heart had grown sick of the wars and rumours of war between one chief and another, between one village and another; that the white man was at peace with his black brother, and desired to “confederate all African tribes” for the general defense and public welfare. All the sleight-of- hand tricks had been carefully rehearsed, and he was now ready for his work. A number of electric batteries had been purchased in London, and when attached to the arm under the coat, communicated with a band of ribbon which passed over the palm of the white brother’s hand, and when he gave the black brother a cordial grasp of the hand the black brother was greatly surprised to find his white brother so strong, that he nearly knocked him off his feet in giving him the hand of fellowship. When the native inquired about the disparity of strength between himself and his white brother, he was told that the white man could pull up trees and perform the most prodigious feats of strength. Next came the lens act. The white brother took from his pocket a cigar, carelessly bit off the end, held up his glass to the sun and complaisantly smoked his cigar to the great amazement and terror of his black brother. The white man explained his intimate relation to the sun, and declared that if he were to request him to burn up his black brother’s village it would be done. The third act was the gun trick. The white man took a percussion cap gun, tore the end of the paper which held the powder to the bullet, and poured the powder and paper into the gun, at the same time slipping the bullet into the sleeve of the left arm. A cap was placed upon the nipple of the gun, and the black brother was implored to step off ten yards and shoot at his white brother to demonstrate his statement that he was a spirit, and, therefore, could not be killed. After much begging the black brother aims the gun at his white brother, pulls the trigger, the gun is discharged, the white man stoops … and takes the bullet from his shoe!
By such means as these, too silly and disgusting to mention, and a few boxes of gin, whole villages have been signed away to your Majesty.
When I arrived in the Congo, I naturally sought for the results of the brilliant programme: “fostering care”, “benevolent enterprise”, an “honest and practical effort” to increase the knowledge of the natives “and secure their welfare”. 1 had never been able to conceive of Europeans, establishing a government in a tropical country, without building a hospital; and yet from the mouth of the Congo River to its head-waters, here at the seventh cataract, a distance of 1,448 miles, there is not a solitary hospital for Europeans, and only three sheds for sick Africans in the service of the State, not fit to be occupied by a horse. Sick sailors frequently die on board their vessels at Banana Point; and if it were not for the humanity of the Dutch Trading Company at that place—who have often opened their private hospital to the sick of other countries—many more might die. There is not a single chaplain in the employ of your Majesty’s Government to console the sick or bury the dead. Your white men sicken and die in their quarters or on the caravan road, and seldom have Christian burial. With few exceptions, the surgeons of your Majesty’s Government have been gentlemen of professional ability, devoted to duty, but usually left with few medical stores and no quarters in which to treat their patients. The African soldiers and labourers of your Majesty’s Government fare worse than the whites, because they have poorer quarters, quite as bad as those of the natives; and in the sheds, called hospitals, they languish upon a bed of bamboo poles without blankets, pillows or any food different from that served to them when well, rice and fish.
I was anxious to see to what extent the natives had “adopted the fostering care” of your Majesty’s “benevolent enterprise” (?), and I was doomed to bitter disappointment. Instead of the natives of the Congo “adopting the fostering care” of your Majesty’s Government, they everywhere complain that their land has been taken from them by force; that the Government is cruel and arbitrary, and declare that they neither love nor respect the Government and its flag. Your Majesty’s Government has sequestered their land, burned their towns, stolen their property, enslaved their women and children, and committed other crimes too numerous to mention in detail. It is natural that they everywhere shrink from “the fostering care” your Majesty’s Government so eagerly proffers them.
There has been, to my absolute knowledge, no “honest and practical effort made to increase their knowledge and secure their welfare.” Your Majesty’s Government has never spent one franc for educational purposes, nor instituted any practical system of industrialism. Indeed the most unpractical measures have been adopted against the natives in nearly every respect; and in the capital of your Majesty’s Government at Boma there is not a native employed. The labour system is radically unpractical; the soldiers and labourers of your Majesty’s Government are very largely imported from Zanzibar at a cost of £10 per capita, and from Sierra Leone, Liberia, Accra and Lagos at from £1 to £1/10 per capita. These recruits are transported under circumstances more cruel than cattle in European countries. They eat their rice twice a day by the use of their fingers; they often thirst for water when the season is dry; they are exposed to the heat and rain, and sleep upon the damp and filthy decks of the vessels often so closely crowded as to lie in human ordure. And, of course, many die.
Upon the arrival of the survivors in the Congo they are set to work as labourers at one shilling a day; as soldiers they are promised sixteen shillings per month, in English money, but are usually paid off in cheap handkerchiefs and poisonous gin. The cruel and unjust treatment to which these people are subjected breaks the spirits of many of them, makes them distrust and despise your Majesty’s Government. They are enemies, not patriots.
There are from sixty to seventy officers of the Belgian army in the service of your Majesty’s Government in the Congo of whom only about thirty are at their post; the other half are in Belgium on furlough. These officers draw double pay—as soldiers and as civilians. It is not my duty to criticise the unlawful and unconstitutional use of these officers coming into the service of this African State. Such criticism will come with more grace from some Belgian statesman, who may remember that there is no constitutional or organic relation subsisting between his Government and the purely personal and absolute monarchy your Majesty has established in Africa. But I take the liberty to say that many of these officers are too young and inexperienced to be entrusted with the difficult work of dealing with native races. They are ignorant of native character, lack wisdom, justice, fortitude and patience. They have estranged the natives from your Majesty’s Government, have sown the seed of discord between tribes and villages, and some of them have stained the uniform of the Belgian officer with murder, arson and robbery. Other officers have served the State faithfully, and deserve well of their Royal Master.
From these general observations I wish now to pass to specific charges against your Majesty’s Government.
FIRST.—Your Majesty’s Government is deficient in the moral military and financial strength, necessary to govern a territory o 1,508,000 square miles, 7,251 miles of navigation, and 31,694 square miles of lake surface. In the Lower Congo River there is but One post, in the cataract region one. From Leopoldville to N’Gombe, a distance of more than 300 miles, there is not a single soldier or civilian. Not one out of every twenty State-officials know the language of the natives, although they are constantly issuing laws, difficult even for Europeans, and expect the natives to comprehend and obey them. Cruelties of the most astounding character are practised by the natives, such as burying slaves alive in the grave of a dead chief, cutting off the heads of captured warriors in native combats, and no effort is put forth by your Majesty’s Government to prevent them. Between 800 and 1,000 slaves are sold to be eaten by the natives of the Congo State annually; and slave raids, accomplished by the most cruel and murderous agencies, are carried on within the territorial limits of your Majesty’s Government which is impotent. There are only 2,300 soldiers in the Congo.
SECOND.—Your Majesty’s Government has established nearly fifty posts, consisting of from two to eight mercenary slave-soldiers from the East Coast. There is no white commissioned officer at these posts; they are in charge of the black Zanzibar soldiers, and the State expects them not only to sustain themselves, but to raid enough to feed the garrisons where the white men are stationed. These piratical, buccaneering posts compel the natives to furnish them with fish, goats, fowls, and vegetables at the mouths of their muskets; and whenever the natives refuse to feed these vampires, they report to the main station and white officers come with an expeditionary force and burn away the homes of the natives. These black soldiers, many of whom are slaves, exercise the power of life and death. They are ignorant and cruel, because they do not comprehend the natives; they are imposed upon them by the State. They make no report as to the number of robberies they commit, or the number of lives they take; they are only required to subsist upon the natives and thus relieve your Majesty’s Government of the cost of feeding them. They are the greatest curse the country suffers now.
THIRD.—Your Majesty’s Government is guilty of violating its contracts made with its soldiers, mechanics and workmen, many of whom are subjects of other Governments. Their letters never reach home.
FOURTH.—The Courts of your Majesty’s Government are abortive, unjust, partial and delinquent. I have personally witnessed and examined their clumsy operations. The laws printed and circulated in Europe “for the Protection of the blacks” in the Congo, are a dead letter and a fraud. T have heard an officer of the Belgian Army pleading the cause of a white man of low degree who had been guilty of beating and stabbing a black man, and urging race distinctions and prejudices as good and sufficient reasons why his client should be adjudged innocent. I know of prisoners remaining in custody for six and ten months because they were not judged. T saw the white servant of the Governor-General, CAMILLE JANSSEN, detected in stealing a bottle of wine from a hotel table. A few hours later the Procurer-General searched his room and found many more stolen bottles of wine and other things, not the property of servants. No one can be prosecuted in the State of Congo without an order of the Governor-General, and as he refused to allow his servant to be arrested, nothing could be done. The black servants in the hotel, where the wine had been stolen, had been often accused and beaten for these thefts, and now they were glad to be vindicated. But to the surprise of every honest man, the thief was sheltered by the Governor General of your Majesty’s Government.
FIFTH—Your Majesty’s Government is excessively cruel to its prisoners, condemning them, for the slightest offences, to the chain gang, the like of which can not be seen in any other Government in the civilized or uncivilized world. Often these ox-chains eat into the necks of the prisoners and produce sores about which the flies circle, aggravating the running wound; so the prisoner is constantly worried. These poor creatures are frequently beaten with a dried piece of hippopotamus skin, called a “chicote”, and usually the blood flows at every stroke when well laid on. But the cruelties visited upon soldiers and workmen are not to be compared with the sufferings of the poor natives who, upon the slightest pretext, are thrust into the wretched prisons here in the Upper River. I cannot deal with the dimensions of these prisons in this letter, but will do so in my report to my Government.
SIXTH.—Women are imported into your Majesty’s Government for immoral purposes. They are introduced by two methods, viz., black men are dispatched to the Portuguese coast where they engage these women as mistresses of white men, who pay to the procurer a monthly sum. The other method is by capturing native women and condemning them to seven years’ servitude for some imaginary crime against the State with which the villages of these women are charged. The State then hires these woman out to the highest bidder, the officers having the first choice and then the men. Whenever children are born of such relations, the State maintains that the women being its property the child belongs to it also.
Not long ago a Belgian trader had a child by a slave-woman of the State, and he tried to secure possession of it that he might educate it, but the Chief of the Station where he resided, refused to be moved by his entreaties. At length he appealed to the Governor-General, and he gave him the woman and thus the trader obtained the child also. This was, however, an unusual case of generosity and clemency; and there is only one post that I know of where there is not to be found children of the civil and military officers of your Majesty’s Government abandoned to degradation; white men bringing their own flesh and blood under the lash of a most cruel master, the State of Congo.
EVENTH.—Your Majesty’s Government is engaged in trade and commerce, competing with the organised trade companies of Belgium, England, France, Portugal and Holland. It taxes all trading companies and exempts its own goods from export-duty, and makes many of its officers ivory-traders, with the promise of a liberal commission upon all they can buy or get for the State. State soldiers patrol many villages forbidding the natives to trade with any person but a State official, and when the natives refuse to accept the price of the State, their goods are seized by the Government that promised them “protection”. When natives have persisted in trading with the trade-companies the State has punished their independence by burning the villages in the vicinity of the trading houses and driving the natives away.
EIGHTH.—Your Majesty’s Government has violated the General Act of the Conference of Berlin by firing upon native canoes; by confiscating the property of natives; by intimidating native traders, and preventing them from trading with white trading companies; by quartering troops in native villages when there is no war; by causing vessels bound from “Stanley-Pool” to “Stanley-Falls”, to break their journey and leave the Congo, ascend the Aruhwimi river to Basoko, to be visited and show their papers; by forbidding a mission steamer to fly its national flag without permission from a local Government; by permitting the natives to carry on the slave- trade, and by engaging in the wholesale and retail slave-trade itself.
NINTH.—-Your Majesty’s Government has been, and is now, guilty of waging unjust and cruel wars against natives, with the hope of securing slaves and women, to minister to the behests of the officers of your Government. In such slave-hunting raids one village is armed by the State against the other, and the force thus secured is incorporated with the regular troops. I have no adequate terms with which to depict to your Majesty the brutal acts of your soldiers upon such raids as these. The soldiers who open the combat are usually the bloodthirsty cannibalistic Bangalas, who give no quarter to the aged grandmother or nursing child at the breast of its mother. There are instances in which they have brought the heads of their victims to their white officers on the expeditionary steamers, and afterwards eaten the bodies of slain children. In one war two Belgian Army officers saw, from the deck of their steamer, a native in a canoe some distance away. He was not a combatant and was ignorant of the conflict in progress upon the shore, some distance away. The officers made a wager of £5 that they could hit the native with their rifles. Three shots were fired and the native fell dead, pierced through the head, and the trade canoe was transformed into a funeral barge and floated silently down the river.
TENTH.—Your Majesty’s Government is engaged in the slave-trade, wholesale and retail. It buys and sells and steals slaves. Your Majesty’s Government gives £3 per head for able bodied slaves for military service. Officers at the chief stations get the men and receive the money when they are transferred to the State; but there are some middle-men who only get from twenty to twenty-five francs per head. Three hundred and sixteen slaves were sent down the river recently, and others are to follow. These poor natives are sent hundreds of miles away from their villages, to serve among other natives whose language they do not know. When these men run away a reward of 1,000 N’taka is offered. Not long ago such a recaptured slave was given one hundred “chikote” each day until he died. Three hundred N’taka—brassrod-—is the price the State pays for a slave, when bought from a native. The labour force at the stations of your Majesty’s Government in the Upper River is composed of slaves of all ages and both sexes.
ELEVENTH.—Your Majesty’s Government has concluded a contract with the Arab Governor at this place for the establishment of a line of military posts from the Seventh Cataract to Lake Tanganyika territory to which your Majesty has no more legal claim, than I have to be Commander-in-Chief of the Belgian army. For this work the Arab Governor is to receive five hundred stands of arms, five thousand kegs of powder, and £20,000 sterling, to he paid in several instalments. As I write, the news reaches me that these much- treasured and long-looked for materials of war are to be discharged at Basoko, and the Resident here is to be given the discretion as to the distribution of them. There is a feeling of deep discontent among the Arabs here, and they seem to feel that they are being trifled with. As to the significance of this move Europe and America can judge without any comment from me, especially England.
TWELFTH—The agents of your Majesty’s Government have misrepresented the Congo country and the Congo railway. Mr. H. M. STANLEY, the man who was your chief agent in setting up your authority in this country, has grossly misrepresented the character of the country. Instead of it being fertile and productive it is sterile and unproductive. The natives can scarcely subsist upon the vegetable life produced in some parts of the country. Nor will this condition of affairs change until the native shall have been taught by the European the dignity, utility and blessing of labour. There is no improvement among the natives, because there is an impassable gulf between them and your Majesty’s Government, a gulf which can never be bridged. HENRY M. STANLEY’S name produces a shudder among this simple folk when mentioned; they remember his broken promises, his copious profanity, his hot temper, his heavy blows, his severe and rigorous measures, by which they were mulcted of their lands. His last appearance in the Congo produced a profound sensation among them, when he led 500 Zanzibar soldiers with 300 camp followers on his way to relieve EMIN PASHA. They thought it meant complete subjugation, and they fled in confusion. But the only thing they found in the wake of his march was misery. No white man commanded his rear column, and his troops were allowed to straggle, sicken and die; and their bones were scattered over more than two hundred miles of territory.
Against the deceit, fraud, robberies, arson, murder, slave-raiding, and general policy of cruelty of your Majesty’s Government to the natives, stands their record of unexampled patience, long-suffering and forgiving spirit, which put the boasted civilisation and professed religion of your Majesty’s Government to the blush. During thirteen years only one white man has lost his life by the hands of the natives, and only two white men have been killed in the Congo. Major Barttelot was shot by a Zanzibar soldier, and the captain of a Belgian trading-boat was the victim of his own rash and unjust treatment of a native chief.
All the crimes perpetrated in the Congo have been done in your name, and you must answer at the bar of Public Sentiment for the misgovernment of a people, whose lives and fortunes were entrusted to you by the august Conference of Berlin, 1884—1 885. I now appeal to the Powers which committed this infant State to your Majesty’s charge, and to the great States which gave it international being; and whose majestic law you have scorned and trampled upon, to call and create an International Commission to investigate the charges herein preferred in the name of Humanity, Commerce, Constitutional Government and Christian Civilization.
I base this appeal upon the terms of Article 36 of Chapter VII of the General Act of the Conference of Berlin, in which that august assembly of Sovereign States reserved to themselves the right “to introduce into it later and by common accord the modifications or ameliorations, the utility of which may be demonstrated experience”.
I appeal to the Belgian people and to their Constitutional Government, so proud of its traditions, replete with the song and story of its champions of human liberty, and so jealous of its present position in the sisterhood of European States—to cleanse itself from the imputation of the crimes with which your Majesty’s personal State of Congo is polluted.
I appeal to Anti-Slavery Societies in all parts of Christendom, to Philanthropists, Christians, Statesmen, and to the great mass of people everywhere, to call upon the Governments of Europe, to hasten the close of the tragedy your Majesty’s unlimited Monarchy is enacting in the Congo.
I appeal to our Heavenly Father, whose service is perfect love, in witness of the purity of my motives and the integrity of my aims; and to history and mankind I appeal for the demonstration and vindication of the truthfulness of the charge I have herein briefly outlined.
And all this upon the word of honour of a gentleman, I subscribe myself your Majesty’s humble and obedient servant,