Tintin dragged before court on racism charge
HE was, perhaps, Belgium's greatest 20th-century figure; a globe-trotting reporter who earned worldwide recognition for his adventures in the company of a faithful dog and a drunken sailor. Yesterday, Tintin faced ignominy as he was dragged before a court in his native land to be accused of racism and xenophobia.
Lawyers told a judge in a Brussels civil court that 'Tintin in the Congo', the second book in the series by Georges Remi (whose pen name was Herge), should be banned in Belgium or, at least, sold with a warning that it contains material likely to shock readers. The case was brought by Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo (41), a Congolese accountant who says the work, first published between 1930 and 1931, perpetuates colonial stereotypes.
"This book contains unacceptable racist and xenophobic words which are designed to convey the idea that the black man is inferior," said Maitre Papis Tshimpangila, Mr Mbutu Mondondo's lawyer.
The court was asked to study a series of scenes in which Congolese villagers fight over a straw hat, wonder how to add two and two or express admiration for the superior intelligence of their white rulers. (© The Times, London)