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Colonial Violence in French-Algeria and Leopold's Congo in Edmund Dene Morel’s King Leopold’s Rule in Africa (1904) and Henri Alleg’s La question (1958)

Mouloud Siber


Relying on Frantz Fanon’s[3] notion of colonial violence and Hannah Arendt’s[2] theory of violence and its relation with power, this paper argued that Edmund Dene Morel’s King Leopold’s Rule in Africa (1904)[7] and Henri Alleg’s La question (1958)[1] hold similar views on European aggression in Africa. The two texts emphasise physical and psychological violence caused by Europeans on Algerians and Congolese. Physical violence takes the forms of torture, mutilation and the beating of “natives” by colonial agents or their mercenaries. Psychological one is embodied in terror and humiliation exercised on “natives.” Besides, the authors sustain that violence and torture cause the death of “natives,” either because of premeditated murder/ slaughter or due to their degraded physical condition after being tortured. Because this violence was premeditated, the authors contributed to raising it as an issue, or ‘une question’ in French, that needed the attention of metropolitan public opinion. Their efforts to denounce violence and aggression show that colonial power lies on false grounds.


Algeria; Congo; Alleg; Morel; colonial violence; inhumanity; torture

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