Yes, a Congolese accountant is to launch a lawsuit in France against Tintin for racism, accusing judges in the comic hero’s native Belgium of trying to bury his case to protect a “national symbol”, The Daily Telegraph reported. Forty-one-year-old Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo is taking legal action claiming Belgian artiste Herge’s controversial ‘Tintin In The Congo’ is propaganda for colonialism and amounts to “racism and xenophobia”.
“Tintin’s little (black) helper is seen as stupid and without qualities. It makes people think that blacks have not evolved,” he was quoted by newspaper as saying.
In fact, Mondondo launched a case in Belgium two years ago for symbolic damages of just an Euro from Tintin’s Belgian publishers Moulinsart, and demanded the book be withdrawn from the market.
But since then his lawyer, Claude Ndjakanyi, said there had been no response from Belgian justice. “Our request to access the dossier was judged premature even though the investigation has been running for two years,” he said. Ndjakanyi has claimed the silence was politically motivated: “It’s the symbol of Belgium that is under attack.” He said he would launch parallel proceedings in France and go “all the way to European Court of Human Rights if necessary”. Tintin and his dog Snowy are a rare unifying symbol in Belgium — a nation where postcolonial guilt over Belgian’s record in the Congo still runs high. The African nation was a Belgian colony till 1960 and from 1885 to 1908, millions are thought to have died under the rule of Belgium’s King Leopold.
Georges Remi, the Tintin cartoonist who worked under the Herge pen-name, reworked the book in 1946 only to remove references to Congo as Belgian colony. But it still contained images such as a black woman bowing to Tintin to say: “White man very great White mister is big juju man!”