The Longest Now

Currency of Severed Members
Thursday February 26th 2004, 1:26 am
Filed under: indescribable

For those of you forever looking for new anecdotal tokens of liquidity and value:

The baskets of severed hands, set down at the feet of the European post commanders, became the symbol of the Congo Free State. … The collection of hands became an end in itself. Force Publique soldiers brought them to the stations in place of rubber; they even went out to harvest them instead of rubber …… They became a sort of currency. They came to be used to make up for shortfalls in rubber quotas, to replace … the people who were demanded for the forced labour gangs; and the Force Publique soldiers were paid their bonuses on the basis of how many hands they collected.

-from Peter Forbath’s history of the Congo (ref’ed in WP)

2 Comments so far
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Call me crazy, but I *love* my hands. This post is so not something I wanted to read early in the day. My hands have been tingly ever since and I keep checking them to make sure they’re there and functioning.

Comment by j 02.26.04 @ 8:34 pm

oooh. they say some parts of you can still function after they’ve been cut off… but not for long. I love my hands, too; better to just kick it than to lose such treasures.

Comment by sj 02.27.04 @ 5:30 am

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