Why Colonialism Still Matters? #Postcolonialism #Freedom #Liberty

Why Colonialism Still Matters? | Prof. Hatem Bazian | medium.com | 11 Jan 2023

Africa, Asia, Latin and South America consist today of “independent and sovereign” nation-states with few exceptions (US and UK held territories). Many, if not all, gained their independence after a resistance movement against colonial powers over the past 80 plus years but the constant intervention and domination in the economies and politics of these nations leaves questions about the end of colonialism. Because direct colonialism has mostly come to an end, then why continue to speak of colonialism-it is way back in history!

Why we continue to “talk about” and “blame” colonialism and colonial powers after they have already left the countries to nationalist movements is a critical question? When will the “liberated colonies” take responsibility for themselves and stop playing the victims card? When will they blame their “leftist” nationalist leaders and the wrong-headed economic plans?

Some, who are more interested in shutting-up anyone speaking about the colonial past will point to Germany and Europe (Japan might be included by the few) being destroyed in WWI and WWII yet they were able to rebuild and lead the world. The intent of this framing is both to silence the discussion and amplify Western exceptionalism, for surely a masterful “race” is able to accomplish and overcome such calamities.

The more pernicious inquisitor will ask the above questions then push for a racist framing by pointing to existing institutions developed by the colonial powers, then pontificates that the “natives” are ill-equipped to chart a path toward “civilization”. This framing is actually wide spread even among those that might be counted as allies since the racist slope is always powdered and ready for a dive. Even some among the elites of formerly colonized populations will point to the “good old days” of direct colonialism versus the current visible chaos in post-colonial states.

Why colonialism still matters is relevant today as the moment the colonial troops, companies and missionaries setoff to conquer and shape the modern world. Colonialism is critical to understanding the present world and no path is possible to comprehending what is taking place in the Global South without grasping what took place over the past few centuries.

You see, everything we experience and are entangled with today in the modern world has been shaped by and continues to be imprinted by colonialism. For many, colonialism is only viewed through the military lens, which means when European colonial troops left the colonies it ushered the “real” end of colonization.

However, colonization first and foremost is rooted in an ideology, a world view, a socio-economic paradigm, an epistemological orientation and is a multilayered domination project. Military troops are one part of the edifice but not the whole system. Take any raw material, industry, and production process and you will find US and European corporate powers are at the helm and supported by the international political and economic order to maintain domination.

Colonialism redefined everything it came in contact with around the world and reshaped the globe in the process to be a function of its needs, wants and priorities. Simply put, colonialism is a political, economic, social, religious, military, educational, racial, and philosophical system of domination of the Western world over the racialized Global South.

Colonialism is not a single event that came upon a region or society for few years then departed; rather it is a 500 plus years of continuously unfolding destruction, death, pillaging, slavery and domination. Columbus’ arrival to the western hemisphere coincided with European powers navigating new routes around the tip of Southern Africa and all the way to Asia. The re-wiring of the world system around the Eurocentric pole beginning in the 15th and 16th centuries is the world we all inhabit today.

Over a 500 plus continuous years, colonialism destroyed cultures, societies, political institutions, economies and transformed religious traditions to something unrecognizable. More importantly, colonialism made the stench of death the smell most common across the Global South and when coupled with the slave trade then we can begin to understand the impacts of colonization. How would you measure the free labor, death and the enslavement of so many over a 500 year arc followed by “wars of “independence and the “low intensity warfare” during the Cold War. It is not as if the Global South kicked out the troops then everyone lived happily ever after as only a Hollywood script would write it.

Death and destruction never took a vacation in the Global South and the colonial powers made sure that they did not lose their assets when they removed the troops. Post-colonialism is structured around the borders, the political and economic interests, the epistemological orientation and philosophical underpinnings set in motion by the Western colonial powers.

What does it mean to be a citizen and belonging to the Global South, when your worldview has been shaped by Western knowledge, Western power, Western epistemology, Western capitalism, Western philosophy, Western human rights and for sure narration of history centered on the Western story that has all of “us” as supporting actors in our own narrative.

Colonial troops leaving the colonies only removed one aspect but not the systems or the structures of domination. If you take one crucial element, education across the Global South, then you will find that it is rooted in colonial epistemology and structured to produce the inferiority complex in the mind of the post-colonial subjects. In addition, the educational system built by the colonial powers has been for the most part retained despite all the efforts at restructuring after independence. The reason for the retention has to do with post-colonial ruing elites, who were trained and continue to be trained in the European colonial motherlands then sent back to affirm the colonial educational paradigm while engaging in fictitious reform projects (exceptions can be found but they are the exception).

The post-colonial education in the Global South produces the colonized mind absent the physical troops, barracks across town and the checkpoints on the road. Here, the perception of the end of the colonization structure has left the Global South more susceptible to colonial machination by the soft powers that continued to dominate after independence. Education and everything connected to it is structured around the Eurocentric World, which constantly produces political, economic, religious, social and racial inferiority and sub-humanness in the post-colonial Global South.

Yes, the Global South leadership should take responsibility for shortcomings and for failed policies implemented in post-independence era. However, let’s not fool our collective selves and believe for a moment that France, UK, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and other European powers simply took their troops and totally left these countries without intervention. It is the foolish reading of post-colonial history that assigns all blames to global south leadership and societies while absolving Europeans and the US from any responsibility and accountability for the never-ending intervention and pillaging the resources of the recently independent states in Africa, Asia and Latin and South America.

Indeed, the anti-colonial liberation struggles took shape in the 1950s and throughout the 1960s with most of the countries in the Global South gaining the right to political self-rule but not economic or epistemic self-determination and independence.

The new countries declared independence, had a new flag, national stamp, ruling assemblies and all the trappings of imagined power, but the epistemology, the economy and the resources remained in colonial hands or in the hands of the carefully selected and nurtured elites who acted as a middleman and manager of the colonial sub-contract. In this regard, the newly minted post-colonial independent states acted more like a franchise when it came to wealth distribution and relations with the European ex-colonial powers. The colonial powers left behind a whole set of constraints and control levers that were intended to keep the raw materials flowing northward while continuing to find ways to expand the levels of structural dependency.

Look at any aspect of the post-colonial nation-states today (the states themselves were created by European colonial designs), and you will find European and American military “advisors” and “intelligence officers” on the ground, corporate economic control and a global financial system structured to crush any vestiges of sovereignty and substantive independence. In the case anyone in the post-colonial global south dare to challenge the levers of European and American powers then the Coup, assassination, plane “accidents” or fomenting civil wars are always ready to recalibrate the present colonial order.

You see, the Global South has too much wealth, raw materials and resources to be left to its own people-it belongs to us (European and Americans), the “civilized” world and the paradigmatic abode of the “real human”.

Why talk, write and interrogate colonialism? Because it is the pernicious mosaic regulating and shaping all aspects of the Global South-the colonial past is dominating and violently structuring the post-colonial present. Colonialism matters today because it is what makes possible the continued domination of the post-colonial global south.

Politics History Colonialism Black Lives Matter Islam


This entry was posted in World by truthaholics. Bookmark the permalink.

About truthaholics

| Exposing Truth Behind Media Spin. Truth is not gossip. It's not sensational or even exciting. Truth's reality, fact. Truth's shocking, sad, horrific, frightening and deadly. Controversial issues discussed here so only for those able to digest Truth.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.