It was most interesting, lying in the bush watching the natives quietly at their day's work. Some women . . . were making banana flour by pounding up dried bananas. Men we could see building huts and engaged in other work, boys and girls running about, singing . . . I opened the game by shooting one chap through the chest. He fell like a stone . . . Immediately a volley was poured into the village.The mind boggles. So appalling was the treatment of the people of the area that an outcry was raised in Europe. Leopold tries to silence this by sending a hand-picked Commission to 'investigate.' In a darkly comic turn of events, so horrified are Leopold's toadies by what the local people tell them, that they actually return, to Leopold's shock, an honest report!
People often lazily group missionaries and businessmen together as all part and parcel of one monolithic colonial machine. This book most interestingly debunks this myth, highlighting the huge role the missionaries played in trying to protect local people from the business interests of Europe. The above, terribly sad picture, is taken by a mission lady on her verandah. I'm sorry to have to say that this gentleman is looking at the hand of his five year old daughter. Hands were cut off because soldiers needed to prove that they had not 'wasted' ammunition, and needed to prove they had actually killed one person for every bullet used.
Much more, obviously, in my full review here.