mercredi 20 juillet 2011

Belgian and D. R. of Congo: Mobutu’s belgian pilot tells !

Mobutu and his white airline pilots.

"The president was very proud to have whites as crew. He even made us a great pleasure to show off to guests. We were required to attend all the dinners, receptions, tours and speeches. Finally, all that was official with the protocol imposed by the visit of a head of state. Experiences more interesting. Except for such rhetoric coolers anti-colonial tirades and vengeful words against Europeans. They were not pleasant or fun moments to share.
When only six white people in an assembly of hundreds of people of color, it stands out as the full moon in the middle of the night. You could feel the eyes of the whole assembly weigh on us, so we tried to be small, very small. Not easy in those enormous palace. "

The intermediate landing of President Mobutu at Djibouti

"The following story is a bit more comical than others. It could even be used to frame a piece of boulevard. This took place in Djibouti.
Djibouti is a tiny state located between Ethiopia and the Gulf of Aden. From Addis Ababa, along DC Super 8 President put his 150 tons on the only asphalt track in the country. A Follow-Me beckons us to place ourselves in front of the terminal. This is where, as usual, the honors went to the visitors. But here the journey had been decided in the final minute.
Engines off, the General gets up and adjusts his cap in leopard skin. The door opens, but at the bottom of the stairs, one of the authorities of the welcoming committee motioned to wait. It just closes the door for more discretion. It is very hot and cooling is slow to get under way. Then begins a long wait under a blazing sun on the fuselage.
For what reason was it serious though to wait so long one of the heads of state's largest continent?
The answer came a little later. When the protocol was established for the receipt of General, someone noticed that the flag hoisted at the mainmast was that of Congo before 1971!
         However, since the name of this country had changed, of course the colors had done the same. It was unwise that General noticing this horrible neglect. Djibouti was still governed by France and diplomatic problems could occur for much less than that. "

Quickly replaced the Congolese flag by the new flag of Zaire.

"But where the new flag of Zaire? They looked in every direction. Finally someone remembered that at the bottom of the cabinets located in an office of the governor, there was a package that could possibly contain this flag. At full speed, a jeep took him on the airfield.
Not to attract attention, it was ordered not to let this confusion, not to run and avoid too busy. It was hoped that no one would notice what was happening. But time was short. Finally sound like much, holding a package under his arm, a legionnaire appeared to lower the bad flag. He untied the rope from the pole and began to shoot. But suddenly everything stops.
The rope seemed to have stuck in the small pulley at the top of the mast. The man was beautiful shot, nothing worked. No way to get that damn flag. A wave of amazement passed over the delegation home. This is the flag of the former Congo, locked, floating impetuously half mast. What to do?
- We must climb the pole and bring the flag, shouted someone. - No! Had replied an officer of the Foreign Legion. It will not make it like that. Especially do not get out. Look for a ladder. - No, too obvious and then there is not at hand! - Then find a saw. Quick, cut the stem and remove the damn flag.
But a saw is not more easily than a scale. Several minutes passed before someone comes back with a circular saw and an extension. Meanwhile we had brought a vehicle to mask the foot of the mast. A legionnaire went to work but it took some time. Meanwhile, another legionnaire had prepared the new flag pole on a second signal and waited for the lift. "

A diplomatic incident near miss between France and Zaire.

"Inside the cabin, the weather was long. The air conditioning had seen better days and I remember that General, wearing his eternal crown of fur, sweating heavily. We, too. All this looked like a big joke, yet they were moments of great importance for both countries. In diplomacy, the smallest fact can be interpreted as an insult, offend or insult.
That day, there was no scandal, no altercation. I do not know if General became aware of something. But he knew perfectly well dominate in any case he did not let the inconvenience he had caused the long wait. The stop in this small country was planned for a few hours.
She had decided just to maintain good relations with the French government. Nothing more. When all was in order, the passengers were finally able to get off the plane. Despite improvisation, there were some shots bugle sounding an unknown hymn, a short speech of welcome and hugs. The call lasted an hour or two at most, then the unit said the air. Branch, Mumbai in India.
The memory of this kind of interlude always amused me. Too bad they were not more frequent. It would have been more fun to tell. Moments of life saved from oblivion ... "

Story told by Lievin van Outryve of Ydewalle

Born in 1937 in Brussels. Former pilot of the Belgian Air Force, he  was captain and pilot of Air Zaire DC8 of Mobutu.

Entering the DC8 Mobutu causes a severe Belgo-Zairian crisis.

April 5, 1987, entering the Air Zaire DC8 in Ostend by a judge of Bruges in Belgium, which causes a severe Belgo-Zairian crisis.
The airline was a former Zairian Belgian driver, the $ 5.2 million in damages FB.
In response to this input, the representations of Air Zaire in Belgium are closed and the aircraft of the Belgian airline Sabena are prohibited from landing in Kinshasa.
The Zairian Press Agency (AZAP) written with a certain humor that Zaire has decided to leave to Belgium said DC8 "in aid and assistance."
         And adds: "The opinion supports Zaire less the variety and seemingly unlimited debts under various forms, and has been for over 25 years, the Republic of Zaire is still paying to this country and unable decidedly nostalgic to understand the change "
The Zairian President furious told  to  Siradiou Diallo of  Jeune Afrique: "As long as me, Mobutu, I am alive, the DC8 will not be recovered by Zaire!".

A month and a half later, the DC8 was back in Kinshasa.

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