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24 - Postcolonial Hauntings and Cold War Continuities: Congolese Sovereignty and the Murder of Patrice Lumumba

from Part III - The Parochial/Plural Cold War

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2019

Matthew Craven
Affiliation:
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Sundhya Pahuja
Affiliation:
University of Melbourne
Gerry Simpson
Affiliation:
London School of Economics and Political Science
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Summary

Whilst the role of the UN and the institutional space it opened for staging the Congo crisis are undoubtedly important for international law, this chapter focuses primarily on the political event of Lumumba’s 1961 assassination. Lumumba became the site of extensive Cold War anxieties and postcolonial aspirations, as an embodiment of the communist threat to some and of a pan-African future to others. His death provoked the ascription of an excess of meaning to a single politician, a victim standing metonymically for the broader violation of Congolese sovereignty. Both larger than life as a postcolonial martyr and overdetermined as a communist, Lumumba was a contested figure in the Cold War political imaginary.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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