(GIN) – Capping a three-year effort, Congolese national Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo may finally get his chance to pull a racially insulting comic book “Tintin in the Congo” off of library shelves.
A trial is scheduled to begin this week in Brussels, the city where Tintin's creator, pen-named Hergé, once lived. Mbutu Mondondo, 42, says the book — first published in 1930 — is racist, colonial propaganda and should be banned.
Tinton in the Congo appeared just 22 years after the Belgian-born King Leopold II laid claim to the Congo with Belgian money. In the so-called Belgian Congo, Leopold with his private army, the Force Publique, enslaved and mutilated the population.
Estimates of the death toll range from two to fifteen million.
“(Tintin) served – and still serves to prop up a sanitized account of Belgium’s colonialism. "It twists history to suggest that everything was happy and fun," says Mbutu Mundondo. "In reality, it was a tragic, hurtful time."
The offensive images ranged from Tintin's faithful terrier Snowy being crowned king by the Africans, to a black woman bowing before the blond boy and declaring "White man very great. White mister is big juju man!"
The Brussels court will consider whether the book should be banned, or sold with a warning across the cover that some readers might find the content offensive. In 2007 a British court ruled that “Tintin in the Congo” should be sold with such a warning.
Mbutu has also tried, unsuccessfully, to have the cartoon banned in France.
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