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A Study on the Causes of Failure in the Congolese Decolonization in Aimé Césaire’s A Season in the Congo

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2022, 35(2), pp.31-54
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama
  • Received : July 25, 2022
  • Accepted : August 14, 2022
  • Published : August 31, 2022

Kang, Hyeong-min 1

1건국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Aimé Césaire’s A Season in the Congo dramatizes the causes of the failure of the Congolese Decolonization. The Democratic Republic of the Congo suddenly becomes independent in 1960 from Belgium, which it had been a colony of since 1884. Although completely unprepared at the moment of independence, Patrice Lumumba, the democratically elected Congolese prime minister, wants to pursue a complete breakage with Belgium rather than maintain the neocolonial tutelage established by Belgium. However, Lumumba miscalculates the domestic and international situations of the Congo in three ways. First, the Congolese people did not win their independence for themselves. Congo’s independence was given to them from the Belgians. Furthermore, Lumumba is not the revolutionary who led and won the independence. Given the situation, therefore, he is faced with the challenges not just from Belgium but from his own people. To maintain their influences on Congo, the Belgium government tries to reengage with Congo by sending their troops into Congolese territory. Inside of Congo, the military threatens to topple the government if the government does not proceed with the rapid Africanization. In addition, in the mineral-rich Katanga area, the secessionists declare the independence from the central government with the supports of Belgium and western multinational corporations. Second, Lumumba is very uninformed about the world’s politics. To break through the crisis, Lumumba not only asks the U.N. but also the U.S. to help Congo. However, the U.S., fearing that it may lose a NATO ally in Belgium, does not want to help the Congolese government. Likewise, the U.N., being a pro-western organization, mirrors the same stance on Congo. Especially, in the midst of the cold war, the U.S. is suspicious of Lumumba’s ideological orientation as a possible socialist, and thus the U.S. government wants to oust Lumumba from power. Third, Lumumba’s belief in Pan-Africanism does not save him or his country at all. Since it prioritizes politics over economic unity, Pan-Africanism remains as an ideal but unrealistic political rhetoric. However, by adhering to Pan-African principles including non-violence to the last moment of his life, Lumumba emerges as the symbol of African independence, freedom, unity, and democracy among the people around the world.

Citation status

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