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Tooth of Patrice Lumumba, slain Congo independence icon, returned to family by Belgium

Tooth of Patrice Lumumba, slain Congo independence icon, returned to family by Belgium

A tooth believed to have been ripped from Patrice Lumumba, who once carried the Democratic Republic of Congo's hopes, is finally being returned by Belgium.

A tooth believed to have been ripped from a man who once carried a nation’s hopes of freedom and democracy is finally going home.

The symbolic handover of Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba’s remains is meant to soothe a family’s and a country’s historic pain, but it is also reviving memories of European colonialism and America’s covert war to contain communism.

While the restitution of Lumumba’s tooth Monday may be viewed as a chance for redemption by Belgium amid continuing global outrage over the 2020 killing of George Floyd, some accuse Brussels of exploiting the occasion without making a solid commitment to rectify its historical wrongs.

Gerard Soete said he took Lumumba's tooth as "a kind of trophy" while secretly dismembering the prime minister's corpse. Courtesy Jelle VermeerschThe return of what is widely believed to be Lumumba’s tooth means his family can finally have a “resting place where they can pray for their father,” said Brussels lawyer Christophe Marchand, who represents two of Lumumba’s five children, Francois and Roland. Without the remains, they can’t fully mourn, he said. 

Roland Lumumba said Friday at a news conference in Brussels, “I can’t say it’s a feeling of joy, but it’s positive for us that we can bury our loved one.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/tooth-patrice-lumumba-congo-independence-returned-familly-belgium-rcna33270


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