Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Our Great Kings, Part V, Baudouin
King Baudouin was actually very popular in the Congo and was welcomed with great love and affection when he visited before independence. At the handover of this, however, he was criticized for his speech, a speech which was entirely truthful and most importantly which tried to put the situation of the two countries in the best terms to go forward in peaceful cooperation as friends. He is not to blame that Premier Lumumba took the opportunity to respond by arousing racial hatred and national antagonism toward Belgium which resulted in waves of attacks, rapes and murders against Belgians in the Congo which forces some minor intervention. None of this was the fault of King Baudouin who always and in every instance tried to arrange peaceful, friendly relations between the countries. King Baudouin was very well known for his outspoken opposition to racism, nationalist bigotry and xenophobia. In Belgium was no different and while he would be friends with all political parties he would never meet with the racists or parties that promoted nationalist bigotry. He also campaigned against sexual exploitation around the world and against poverty that degraded the human condition. Even though values were changing, the people still respected King Baudouin for his firm principles, his simplicity and sincerity. He did good in bringing people back together from the time he first came to the throne. However, it was also during his reign that federalism became the new rule and this would, ultimately, as we see now, push people apart again and turn Belgium into a country of divided camps. During his reign this was not always apparent though because King Baudouin was so respected by everyone, so admired by the people, he truly united everyone. He was a great king.