DISCOURSE ON COLONIALISM
Colonialismwas evitable, and the core motivation behind its establishment wasmore of self aggrandization,exploitation, acquisition, maintenance and expansion of economic,cultural and political power. Its motivation was primarily driven byunexplainable cultural desire to extend cultural hegemony andpolitical dominion on societies regarded as ‘weaker’‘uncivilized’ or living in the dark. As such most colonialism inthe world was and has been driven by self-aggrandized perception thatcertain people are weaker beings than the others. Thegains of colonialism especially in the third world countries cannotbe undermined, however, colonialism in its all aspect wasdehumanizing and subjectively transformed the colonized into savages.
Variousforms of colonialism adopted harsh means of dealing with theirsubjects after meeting rebellion the colonized had to be colonizedby all means. Some scholars observe that, colonialism resulted due tothe existence of colonies and that the fundamental driving force ofcolonialism was to further their interests as dictated by foreignmetropolis this insatiable interest to exploit other human been wasin itself an act of inhumanity. However, others observe thatcolonialism was effective in aiding commercial revolution and socialcivilization to the ‘inferior’ societies and as such colonialismwas a positive and not a negative social aspect depicted by manycritics.
Colonialismwas in every aspect not meant to benefit the colonized for instance,in the African case, colonizers carved in their colonies withoutconsulting or considering the social, cultural and geographicaspects. Present day African inter-clan wars and civil wars arelargely attributed to colonialism that used a divide and rule policy(‘TheBlack Man`s Land Trilogy’).In The British colonies East Africa, the protectorate was dividedinto parts based on the ethnic composition, this entrenched ethnicityamong the different communities living in the region manyinter-boundary wars have been fought since colonialism ended.
Colonialistsestablished and reinforced zones of racial discrimination by carvingthe world into different geographical areas. These regionslegitimized colonialism and created a false notion of ‘them’versus ‘us.’ Today, the world is divided into developed (thewest) and the developing regions (Asian, Americas and the Africans).Under this scope, the ‘west’ feels that they are more superior tothe less developed or other areas, not within their geographic worldthis has reinforced their imperialistic oppressive policies througheconomic, cultural and political aspects.
Colonialismnever ended, it just changed form while the historic colonialism wasmanifested through physical settlement in the natives’ countries,and present day colonialism is reinforced through oppressiveregiments and policies. Many former colonies have been subjected toimplement economic, political and social policies that in the endbenefit their former colonies. In fact, dehumanization of colonialismin the modern age is more severe than the former colonialismneocolonialism and imperialism has instigated great civil in Africa,Latin America and Asian countries. For instance, the decades of civilwar witnessed in Sierra Leone was attributed to foreign interests inmineral reserves in the country. Some foreign countries are allegedto have sponsored rebels who created heinous crimes in return formoney and weapons, as well as diamonds.
Colonialismis the worst form of capitalism that was occasioned by extremeexploitation of social exchange. As Cesaire observes, colonialismcreated a social psychological inferiority and disorientation,systemic exploitation and dependency in most colonies. In Africa forinstance, the colonizers used extensive racial discrimination that isstill prevalent in some aspects today. The whites presentedthemselves as superior, more learned and the masters. In Kenya, forinstance, as depicted in the film ‘TheWhite Man`s Burden,’domestic workers were worse treated than the domestic pets. In theserespects, these behaviors dehumanized the nature of the colonizers byimposing themselves as superior beings who were above the Africanrace.
Aftercarving Africa into distinct colonies they promised to end the slavetrade, however, this was a rhetoric claim for the colonizers whileevery form of their colonialism was laden with slavery aspects. Justlike the Arabs slave traders, the colonial masters in Africa treatedthe natives as lesser beings or wild animals and as such could onlybe instructed to do something through whipping or verbal abuse.Punishment and verbal abuse were rampant in most native colonialsostensibly depicting the colonized as inferior and instill fear amongthe natives as Cesaire noted, these behaviors were in themselvesdehumanizing the colonizers than the colonized. In most colonies, thenatives did not consider colonizers as human beings due to the oddityof their behaviors. For instance, as indicated in the documentary‘TheWhite Man`s Burden,’in African colonies, husbands were verbally abused or whipped infront of their wives and children, this left many natives confused onthe nature of human beings who subjected other humans to suchembarrassment.
Inschools and churches, the systems used were in every form thecolonizers culture. Native’s cultures were regarded as ‘primitive’and thus were required to adopt the colonial masters way of lifefrom language, food, dressing, school and governance (AnimalFarm).Overtime, this created a social-cultural disorientation in which thenatives abandoned their traditional cultures in pursuit of the‘superior culture’ of the colonizers. In Africa for instance,many people were made to believe that the Whites were more superiorin every way to Africans as such, an African who followed andadapted to the ‘colonizers’ way of life was seen as more‘civilized.’ For instance, in the documentary, ‘Blackskin, white masks,’Frantz Fanon illustrates how racism victimized the victims and howthe colonizers were dehumanized by such acts.
Assessingthese issues in relation to Cesaire’s argument is indeed true thatcolonialism dehumanized the colonizers and the colonized theabsurdity of colonizers perception that their culture and race wasfar much better than the colonized. Any African seen in these placeswas thus subjected to verbal and physical contempt to date thissocial psychological disorientation on racism and ‘culturalhegemony’ of the whites is still prevalent. In every form, thecolonizers used various forms of subjecting the natives intoconformity and overtime developed perception that their subjects werenot much better than ‘them,’ consequently dehumanizing theirnature as human beings.
Themodern neocolonialism is not in any way different from the historiccolonialism. Rich and developed countries (ostensibly formercolonizers) confuse to subject less developed countries in someaspects of neo-colonialism. As stated above, the much politicalinstability experienced in developing countries today is due to largeextent ‘underhand’ manipulation of the government systems. Manypeople are still suffering due to civil wars that could in someaspect be traced to the modern form of exploitative colonialism. Inmany occasions, western countries exacerbate the problem in thesecountries due to their partisan favoritism on particular governments,oppositions or individuals. As such, the dehumanizing nature of thecolonizers only changed from physical occupation to ‘virtual’form of colonialism.
AnthonyHowarth & DavidR. Koff. 1973.‘TheBlack Man`s Land Trilogy,’film.
Conrad,Joseph,1899. ‘Heartof Darkness.’Film.
FrantzFanon 2001. ‘BlackSkin, White Masks.’Film.
Halas& Batchelor,1954.‘Animal Farm’British film.
Kipling,Rudyard,1899. ‘TheWhite Man`s Burden.’Film.
EdwardZwick, 2006.BloodDiamond. Film.