A few quotes from King Leopold's Ghost

A few quotes from: Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold's Ghost. First Mariner Books, New York: 1999.

1. Furthermore, unlike many other great predators of history, from Genghis Khan to the Spanish conquistadors, King Leopold II never saw a drop of blood spilled in anger. He never set foot in the congo. There is something very modern about that, too, as there is about the bomber pilot in the stratosphere, above the clouds, who never hears screams or sees shattered homes or torn flesh" (4).

2. Joseph Conrad found in Africa "the vilest scramble for loot that ever disfigured the history of human conscience" (4).

3. Past the Canary Islands you would enter the Mare Tenebroso:
"In the medieval imagination [writes Peter Forbath], this was a region of uttermost dread... where the heavens fling down liquid sheets of flame and the waters boil... where serpent rocks and ogre islands lie in wait for the mariner, where the giant hand of Satan reaches up from the fathomless depths to seize him, where he will turn black in face and body as a mark of God's vengeance for the insolence of his prying into this forbidden mystery. And even if he should be able to survive all these ghastly perils and sail on through, he would then arrive in the Sea of Obscurity and be lost forever in the vapors and slime at the edge of the world" (6-7).

4. To the priests' surprise:
"Like many white evangelists who followed them, there were horrified by polygamy; they thought it was the spices in the African food that provoked the dreadful practice" (9).

5. Good Catholics:
"The priests who strayed from the fold struck to their faith in one way, however; after the Reformation they tried to ensure that none of their human goods ended up in Protesant hands. It was surely not right, said one, 'for persons baptized in the Catholic church to be sold to peoples who are enemies of their faith' " (10).
Written on September 5, 2007