13 September, 2008

Land Grab

Adam Hochschild writes in "King Leopold's Ghost:

Such a look [in 1878] would have confirmed that only in Africa could Leopold hope to achieve his dream of seizing a colony, especially one immensely larger than Belgium. There was no more unclaimed territory in the Americas...Not were their blank spaces in Asia: the Russian Empire stretched all the way to the Pacific, the French had taken Indochina, the Dutch the East Indies, and most of the rest of southern Asia, from Aden to Singapore, was colored with the British Empire's pink. Only Africa remained. (p.61)

At one time I had considered getting a Masters in Colonialism. It is amazing to me that the Europeans felt they had the right to the rest of the world. History tells us that the land grab in Africa continued, with the country being divided up like lottery winnings. The Middle East would, for the most part, never be colonized. At one time the entire world was (basically) colonized. I think the thing that gets me the most is the arrogance of Europe in how they dealt with the countries they took over. They did not go in to make friends, they went to increase their land, pillage the natural resources, and exploit the people.

I am curious how many of the wars today have their roots in colonial decisions. Pakistan - India. Palestine - Israel (it's one cause). Most of Africa. Conflicts around Russia.

But it didn't start with Europe, since Genesis when the population of the earth expanded outside of one family, man has been desperate to control one another. The Egyptians enslaved Israel; Israel conquered and was conquered for 1,000s of years. The Greeks, Romans, Middle Eastern Powers, Genghis Khan, etc. etc. etc. the theory of domination has proceeded from one civilization to another since there was more than one civilization to deal with. But a history of wrong decisions doesn't make the current ones any more unbearable..

The best part: we still have not learned a thing. In the Cold War we coddled rulers regardless of their moral standing or right to governance to stop an ideology that proved to be self-destructive and unsustainable. And, if the climate was right, the world will do it all again. The poorer, weaker countries - that have never been given a proper chance to develop thanks to the decisions, actions, and attitudes of the richer, powerful (white) countries - will tell the richer governments any song and verse they wanted to hear to get money, security, promises, and protection.
Now the shift has gone from occupying a country by force to throwing money and being "friends" with corrupt men just to ensure we have more friends on the playground.

What man is capable of doing to each other appalls me.

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© Amanda Lunday