Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, 41, is taking legal action claiming Hergé's controversial Tintin In The Congo is propaganda for colonialism and amounts to "racism and xenophobia".It seems he isn’t just another shakedown artist looking for a big payout either – what he wants to do is remove the book from sale…
Mr Mbutu Mondondo launched a case in Belgium two years ago for symbolic damages of one euro from Tintin's Belgian publishers Moulinsart, and demanded the book be withdrawn from the market.Perhaps Belgian prosecuters have just decided that there are far, far more important things they could be doing than attempting to censor a book from the 1930s?
But since then his lawyer, Claude Ndjakanyi, said there had been no response from Belgian justice. "Our request to access the dossier was judged premature even though the investigation has been running for two years," he said.
But no, it’s obviously all a huge conspiracy to deny Mr Mondondo justice:
Mr Ndjakanyi claimed the silence was politically motivated: "It's the symbol of Belgium that is under attack." The lawyer said he would launch parallel proceedings in France and go "all the way to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary".Who’s bankrolling this, I wonder?
Moulinsart, Tintin's publishers, argued that the whole row was "silly" and that book must be seen in its historical context: "To read in the 21st century a Tintin album dating back to 1931 requires a minimum of intellectual honesty," it said. "If one applied the 'politically correct' filter to great artists or writers, we could no longer publish certain novels of Balzac, Jules Verne, or even some Shakespeare plays."I wonder if that’s the point?
There are, after all, people who are campaigning to have filthy smokers erased from classic films, or if that proves impossible, to have children banned from seeing them on reissue by classing them as 18 certificate films.
There’s no arguing with people like this, you can’t reason with them.
Mr Ndjakanyi said this argument did not wash. "When the album was written there was no legal disposition incriminating racism. In 2009 there is. This isn't about history but the law."In fact, what he’s saying is that the law should be able to trump history, and everything written in the past should now be re-examined for compliance with modern law.
It’ll be a hell of a lot more than ‘TinTin’ at stake, if this loon wins his case…