An Unavoidable Cycle of Violence
Raol Peck’s award-winning film, Lumumba, focuses on the life of Patrice Lumumba as he attempts to achieve freedom for the Republic of Congo in the 1950s and 1960s. Peck utilizes juxtaposition to incorporate multiple views of the conflict that occurred throughout the last few months of Lumumba’s life. This well-rounded focus provides insight into the events that is not completely one-sided while simultaneously exploring the injustices that existed throughout the path to independence. What I found particularly interesting was the ways in which Peck displayed both sides of the conflict, in particular once the chaos occurred after Lumumba and Kasavubu took power. While many people were fine with whites remaining in power positions throughout the government and military, many soldiers and direct subordinates found it to be contradictory towards the independence of the country. Lumumba fought for his people to gain power but the Belgium influence remained ever present. Peck shows the ways in which the Belgium government’s plot to regain control of over the Congo ultimately extended the cycle of violence. Their dehumanization of the Congolese soldiers led to their gruesome retaliation. Though the soldiers’ choice to retaliate by killing and raping the whites that remained in the country is a terrible form of protest, Peck makes sure the audience is able to grasp why. Acts of violence are never a suitable answer but imagine how frustrating and dehumanizing it is to be forced to remain subservient when your freedom was supposedly declared. These methods of retaliation were a result of the constant injustices that remain in the Republic of Congo. For Lumumba it was as if no matter how hard he fought for freedom, the Belgium influence and presence remained without waiver. Peck’s decision to show both sides of the injustice provides the audience with a view of the Belgium people as products of colonization and the Congolese as products of oppression. As each side continued their battle for power Peck makes it increasingly evident that this cycle of violence remains constant in the face of oppression.