Tag Archives | colonialism

The Oxymoron of Peace

500px-Peace_sign.svg

“Five centuries of European colonialism and global culture-trashing, and the remaking of the world in the economic interests of competing empires, cannot be undone by a single institution and a cluster of lofty ideals.”

Robert C. Koehler writes at Common Dreams:

“At the same time, values and ideas which were considered universal, such as cooperation, mutual aid, international social justice and peace as an encompassing paradigm are also becoming irrelevant.”

Maybe this piercing observation by Roberto Savio, founder of the news agency Inter Press Service, is the cruelest cut of all. Geopolitically speaking, hope — the official kind, represented, say, by the United Nations in 1945 — feels fainter than I can remember. “We the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war . . .”

I mean, it was never real. Five centuries of European colonialism and global culture-trashing, and the remaking of the world in the economic interests of competing empires, cannot be undone by a single institution and a cluster of lofty ideals.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

“We Come as Friends”, a Look at Contemporary Colonialism in Africa, a New Documentary from Hubert Sauper, the Director of “Darwin’s Nightmare”

via chycho

we come as friendsMy first glimpse into what the new colonialism in Africa was looking like was with Hubert Sauper’s 2004 documentary “Darwin’s Nightmare”. That’s when I realized that the future of Africa was going to be very bleak. If you are interested in what’s going on in Africa then this masterpiece is a must watch. (I was only going to provide a link to the Trailer below, but I found the full documentary online. It’s missing the English subtitles, so if you want to have the full experience I suggest tracking down a full version.)

Darwins Nightmare (Hubert Sauper, 2004)

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Hubert Sauper has released a new documentary on Africa, focusing on Sudan, entitled “We Come as Friends”Sundance program and review.

Below you will find Democracy Now!’s full interview and discussion with Hubert Sauper regarding this project.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Colonization, From Without And From Within

evildeadDave Pollard writing at how to save the world:

Colonization is a loaded word, depending on whether you are the colonizer or the colonized. Throughout the history of our civilization, colonizers (imperialists, conquistadors, missionaries and, most recently, globalization corporatists) have asserted that colonized people were “savages” who needed external rule imposed on them “for their own good”. It matters little whether such assertions were honest, well-intentioned and misguided, or blatant excuses for theft, murder and oppression. The whole world is now substantially a single homogeneous colony, a single culture imposed and enforced by political and media propaganda, economic coercion, and of course, brute force.

The world “colonize” is from the Latin (whose speakers were accomplished at it) meaning “to inhabit, settle, farm and cultivate”. This definition carries no pretense of doing anything for the benefit of the “colonized” peoples. It just means taking over the land and resources, with or without violence and displacement.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Six Primary Reasons for Why They Hate Us

via chycho

Why-Do-You-Hate-UsIn response to 9/11, on September 20, 2001, then President George W. Bush delivered a speech in which he deflected and trivialized the reasons for the grievances that many around the globe have regarding U.S. foreign policy. In his address to a joint session of Congress and the nation, in his attempt to answer America’s questions as to “Why do they hate us?”, he stated:

“They hate what they see right here in this chamber: a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.”

Now that most of us are well aware that the situation is a lot more complicated than they hate us because of “our freedoms”, let’s hear what some of those reasons are.

In the following House Homeland Security Committee meeting held on October 9, 2013, former CIA intelligence officer, Michael F.Read the rest

Continue Reading

What If European History Was Told Like Native American History?

european historyAn Indigenous History of North America inverts the norm by imagining a U.S. school textbook devoted to the intricacies of indigenous societies in the Americas, with a few paragraphs covering the history of Europe:

The first immigrants to Europe arrived thousands of years ago from central Asia. Most pre-contact Europeans lived together in small villages. Because the continent was very crowded, their lives were ruled by strict hierarchies within the family and outside it to control resources. Europe was highly multi-ethnic, and most tribes were ruled by hereditary leaders who commanded the majority “commoners.” These groups were engaged in near constant warfare.

Religion infused every part of Europeans’ lives. Europeans believed in one supreme deity, a father figure, who they believed was made of three parts, and they particularly worshiped the deity’s son. They claimed that their god had given humans domination over the earth. They built elaborate temples to him and performed ceremonies in which they ate crackers and drank wine and believed it was the body and blood of their god, who would provide them with entrance into a wondrous afterlife called heaven when they died.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Inside Paris’s Belle Époque-Era Human Zoo

human zooMessy Nessy Chic on a surreal symbol of the history of colonialism — the human zoo:

In the furthest corner of the Vincennes woods of Paris lies the remains of what was once a public exhibition to promote French colonialism over 100 years ago and what we can only refer to today as the equivalent of a human zoo.

In 1907, six different villages were built in the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale, representing all corners of the French colonial empire at the time– Madagascar, Indochine, Sudan, Congo, Tunisia and Morocco. The villages and their pavillions were built to recreate the life and culture as it was in their original habitats. This included mimicking the architecture, importing the agriculture and appallingly, inhabiting the replica houses with people, brought to Paris from the faraway territories.

Over one million curious visitors [attended] from May until October 1907 when it ended. Today, the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale is kept out of sight behind rusty padlocked gates, abandoned and decaying.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Boomerang Effect Of Domestic Colonization

Via the New Inquiry, Jacob Silverman on how methods of control developed in the War on Terror and previous imperialist endeavors return home to our own shores:

In 1975 and 1976 Foucault argued that Western imperialism didn’t merely force Western institutions on imperial subjects. Rather, “a whole series of colonial models was brought back to the West, and the result was that the West could practise something resembling colonization, or an internal colonialism, on itself.”

This boomerang effect has been resurgent over the past decade, when one can observe practices from the neocolonial frontiers of Baghdad, Kabul, and Hebron now being instituted in New York, Washington, D.C., and London. So-called green zones, security buffers, checkpoints, novel nonlethal weapons, drones, and CCTV—all have become indelible features of the West’s urban centers of political and financial power. Though they originate in the military campaigns prosecuted by Western forces and security contractors, these elements are largely facilitated by the police.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Naming Of America

Happy Fourth of July! Native American Netroots provides some perspective on the meaning of ‘America':

America was named on April 25, 1507 after the Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci. Vespucci made at least two voyages across the Atlantic… [the] first voyage was in 1499 when he sailed with Alonso de Hojeda.

While Columbus might be characterized as a religious fanatic who could hardly speak or write without invoking the Christian God and dwelling fervently on his personal relationship with this God, Vespucci almost never referred to God. Religion was never very high on the scale of values to which Vespucci had been exposed. While he undoubtedly learned a little about the Christian God as a child, he seems to have forgotten all of this by the time he was an adult.

Unlike Columbus, Vespucci never waged war on the natives, nor did he found any colonies. He never commanded a fleet or even led an expedition.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

British Colonial Secrets Released

Colonial-documents-from-t-008Via the Guardian:

Today the Foreign Office has made public the first batch of thousands of “lost” colonial-era files believed to have been destroyed. The documents were secretly sent back to the UK when former colonies became independent. They shed new light on how British officials ran countries such as Kenya, Cyprus and present-day Malaysia.

Thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed during the final years of the British empire were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments. Here’s what [journalists] have published from the files today:

• Monthly intelligence reports on the “elimination” of the colonial authority’s enemies in 1950s Malaya (now part of Malaysia).

• The name of Barack Obama, the father of the American president, is on the top of a list of names revealed in a hitherto secret British colonial file of Kenyans studying in the US.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Raj Konai’s Hand: The First Biometric Identity?

e43f4780a2fc991162bdbf3b2661bdfee1faac7fFrom an exhibition by Raqs Media Collective at London's Frith Street Gallery, which puts forth that modern biometric identification was invented by a British colonial official in 1858:
Untold Intimacy of Digits is an facsimile of the handprint of a Bengal Peasant, Raj Konai. The handprint was taken under the orders of William Herschel – scientist, statistician and at the time a revenue official with the Bengal government. It is one of the earliest impressions of the human body taken by a person in power with the explicit purpose of using the trace to identify and verify a human subject. It was taken in lieu of a signature, to affix the identity of Konai to a document. It was felt, at the time, that subaltern subjects were way too slippery when it came to the presentation of their identities to the authorities.
Continue Reading