Newt Gingrich Goes to the Congo

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Newt Gingrich isn’t ashamed to tout his background as a historian, but few Americans probably know that he received his history PhD for a dissertation about the Belgian Congo. Foreign Policy‘s Joshua Keating has read Gingrich’s 1971 dissertation, “Belgian Education Policy in the Congo: 1945-1960,” and reports that he found the young Gingrich’s attitude toward colonialism to be “remarkably benign, often drifting into ‘White Man’s Burden’ territory.” Morehouse poli-sci professor and Congo expert Laura Seay drew a similar conclusion after she read the thesis, which Gingrich appears to have written without setting foot in the former Belgian colony (then Zaire).

Hearing of Gingrich’s paper reminded me of another apology for colonial Congo: Tintin au Congo (Tintin in the Congo), a notoriously racist comic book starring the beloved Belgian boy reporter. First published in the early ’30s, it was later mildly revised but went unpublished in English for decades. It remains a stain on the career of its creator, Hergé, as well as that of his soon to be even more famous protagonist. (A Belgian court recently rejected an attempt to have it banned for being racist.)

Anyway, that got me thinking, what would happen if boy historian Newt “Gingin” Gingrich ventured into Tintin’s world? (All substantial quotes in the mashup below are from Gingrich’s dissertation.)     

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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