An extremely quick decision is necessary whether to remove statues of Belgium’s colonial-era king, Leopold II, Brussels’ heritage ministry has advised Euronews.
Pascal Smet was talking after tens of thousands signed a petition calling for monuments of King Leopold II to be removed.
Leopold II, who reigned from 1865 to 1909, is accused of exploiting what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo for his private profit. The attention turned after protests over the passing of George Floyd from the US spread to Europe.
“I will place a note into the authorities tomorrow” Smet informed Euronews. “You understand that the Brussels parliament has requested the Brussels authorities and because I’ve legacy, I will suggest to the authorities tomorrow, next week at the most recent, a functioning process to get this debate speedily.
“I believe we want a discussion about it. You know that it’s a double discussion. Should you choose away the statue, you may forget it, should you depart the statue, then you need to contextualize it in the minimum.
“However, on the flip side, we do not place statues of different men and women who didn’t excellent things that’s the argument we do need to have and we’ll have it since I will suggest to the Brussels authorities a functioning group about it quite soon.
“It’s to come very quickly with decisions. What exactly are we going to do with all the statues of Leopold II in our town? What exactly are we going to do with all the road names we have on it and just how are we going to keep in mind the colonialism in exactly what we did and also the mistakes which were achieved by Belgium before? Are we going to make that visible in our town? And, by way of instance, I feel a type of tradition of a statue to the decolonization is something which this town needs.”