By Fernando Haddad Moura, Editor and Writer at Brazil Talk
[5 min read]
In the late 19th century Ed Morel discovered how Belgian companies were exploring Congolese natives forcing them to collect thousands of pounds of rubber to enrich their European colonial powers. Those that didn’t obey were beaten and had their hands cut off to be set as an example for anyone who’d dare defy their leaders.
In a country set thousands of miles from the Congo, the Belgians had no idea of what was going on, and if it weren’t for Morel and his team of missionaries and other informants, the exploitation might have continued up to present days. This sad account of Congo’s history, told by Adam Hochschild in the globally acclaimed novel King Leopold’s Ghost gives an excellent example of how companies can act if they aren’t held accountable and if no one is looking. It reflects how, in the search of maximizing their profits, unethical corporations and their suppliers might be willing to ignore international treaties and submit people to terrible conditions.