Stefaan Marysse
Analysis and Policy Brief 42

In the wake of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement,outrage in Belgium also flares up about the country’srole in its former colonies. It would indeed be good ifBelgium could come to terms with its colonial past andface up to its own blind spots of discrimination. Hencethe question mark in the reference to our nationalanthem in the title... In this slipstream of world-wideindignation, the African diaspora is also denouncingdiscrimination in our society today. In order tobridge the gap between word and deed, following theexpressions of regret by King Philippe, the BelgianParliament has now also taken the initiative and setup a Congo committee to investigate how this canbe done . Are expressions of regret from the Belgiangovernment, or from the King about the role of hisancestor, enough? Who should they be addressed to? Tothe authorities of today’s Congo, that are not workingconvincingly on the present? To the population, then?But is this not too vague and non-committal? How isreparation for injustice done even possible? Is there,then, a need for reparations? Has only damage beendone, and how do you account for this? If so, howmuch and who should be compensated?