Casterman, Moulinsart, Tintin, Tintin in the Congo, Uncategorized

Belgium refuses to ban Tintin in the Congo.

After four years of politics, the Belgian Supreme Court has finally come to the conclusion that Tintin in the Congo is not to be banned. While the content in the book would certainly have been deemed racist had a cartoonist published a similar work today, the tribunal has said that the Belgian law against racism can not apply to Tintin in the Congo unless it is clearly shown in the work that the intent of the author was to discriminate. ”Taken in the context of the 1930s,”said advocate M L’Hedim,”it is clear that Hergé had no such intent.” Allen Berenboom represented Casterman and Moulinsart in the case. ”It’s a sound decision and common sense. A work must be taken in context and compared with the information and stereotypes of the time.”

Congo, the world and the way people think have changed a lot since Tintin in the Congo was published. If you’re new to Tintin, just know that this one adventure, only the second Hergé ever did, is filled with stereotypes from the time that show the Congolese people to be very, very simple people. But every adventure after this is better, especially after The Blue Lotus. I do not believe Hergé had any harsh feelings whatsoever towards the people in the Congo, and while Tintin bosses them around and teaches them very very basic stuff, he does take their side and help them solve their problems with a white gangster-type criminal and a tribal-type witch doctor. Don’t buy into any of these articles online written just to sound like big news that say Tintin is racist (and by the way, he’s not Nazi either…).

If you have a child who just HAS TO HAS TO HAS TO HAVE every Tintin book and you are still afraid it will have a negative influence on him (which I seriously doubt), just explain to your kid that Hergé, and people in Belgium back then, were very misinformed when it came to both what was going on in the Congo and what the people were like. Teach them, if they don’t already know it from TV or school of just the fact that they are good, normal kids, that every human being, regardless of skin color, is equally human and to be treated on an equal level. Maybe even go out and donate a kilo of rice (or a large sum of money) to a non-profit organization or missionary, or something like that. I know of a missionary family down there, and from what I’ve heard about what the Congo is like today, they really could use all the help they can get.








  1. Pe-ads

    Thank goodness! I approve of their decision to take in cultural context…

    The thing I find odd is that Tintin is never criticised for stereotyping the Soviets or even the tycoons in Tintin in America; maybe because they’re “objectively bad guys”? I mean, “nobody”, i.e. anyone who is European or American, really liked the Soviets, and the same to a certain extent with the company tycoons.


  2. Stephen

    You’re right. Herge used all kinds of stereotypes in his books…it’s what he had to go on to send Tintin on his travels. Only those that anybody could take offensively today are the ones that are complained about the most. Nobody has a problem with the Thompson’s policemen stereotype, few have a serious bone to pick with Haddock the drunkard (while he evolved considerably from his first book), or even Castafiore, the typical fat opera singer. But if you cross the line into racism, even if it was in the 1930s, some people feel offended. I suppose if there were enough native Americans left in the USA we would have more complaints about Tintin in America or even Prisoners of the Sun…

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