It’s been a long time coming. The case that was opened in 2007 by Bienvenu Mbutu Mondono against the publishers of Hergé’s ‘Tintin in the Congo’ (published in some languages as ‘Tintin in Africa’) finally got its hearing at the Brussels court yesterday. “The problem is not Hergé’s,” Mondono’s lawyer told the press. “The problem is the commercialisation of a comic manifestly spreading ideas that are based on racial superiority.” The publisher’s lawyer warned a ban would be like opening Pandora’s Box. “What with the anti-Semitic passages in Dickens’s work? Mark Twain? The Bible?” It’s unlikely the judge will forbid the future publishing of the comic outright. Settling for a warning (like the English editions carry these days) sounds more probable. After being postponed several times, the case should come to a close later this year. That’s when Spielberg’s Hollywood version of Tintin will hit the theatres here. Timing is everything.

Further Reading

The skeleton in the closet

The novelist Nadifa Mohamed complicates Britain’s troubled, racist legal history through the personal tale of one otherwise insignificant person, a Somali immigrant to Cardiff in Wales.

Life to the sound of gunfire

Nigerians fleeing extremist violence at home take refuge across the border in Niger among an already fragile population. Together they proceed to carve out a way to live better lives for now.

Democraticizing money

Cameroonian economist Joseph Tchundjang Pouemi died in 1984, either poisoned or by suicide. His ideas about the international monetary system and the CFA franc are worth revisiting.