Tintin Isn’t Racist, Belgian Court Rules

A Belgian court has dismissed Mbutu Mondondo Bienvenu's claim that Tintin in the Congo is racist.

A Belgian court has rejected an application to ban a colonial-era book about the Congolese adventures of the cartoon character Tintin for breaching racism laws.
Documents from the court of first instance in Brussels show that it did not believe the 1946 edition of Tintin in the Congo was intended to incite racial hatred, a criteria when deciding if something breaks Belgium’s racism laws. The decision was issued late on Friday.
The Adventures of Tintin, a series of comic books created by the Belgian artist Georges Remi, who wrote under the pen name Hergé, has gained renewed, global popularity in the past year after Hollywood director Steven Spielberg made an animated film about the intrepid boy journalist and his little white dog Snowy.
Tintin in the Congo was Hergé’s second book and the story, set in the former Belgian colony, included encounters with diamond smugglers, big game hunters and wild animals.
In 2007, Congolese campaigner Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo launched legal proceedings to ban the book, arguing its portrayal of Africans was racist.
First serialised in 1930-31 and reissued in 1946, the book has always attracted criticism. Hergé himself said later in life that he wasn’t happy with the work, which was only published in English in 1991.
The Belgian court said the book was created at a time when colonial ideas were prevalent, and there was no evidence that Hergé, who died in 1983, intended to incite racism.
“It is clear that neither the story, nor the fact that it has been put on sale, has a goal to … create an intimidating, hostile, degrading or humiliating environment,” the court said in its judgment.
Mbutu’s lawyer said he planned to appeal. “Mr Mbutu will take this case as far as he can,” lawyer Ahmed L’Hedim said.



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