Colonialism

Currently I’m reading a book for book club called “Last Chance to See”. It’s a narrative account (by Douglas Adams) of his journeys to far-flung regions in order to see endangered species. It’s a pretty awesome book, if a little depressing.

I’m generally upset by learning about endangered species. What with loss of habitat, deforestation, pollution, poaching, and we humans being generally shitty stewards of the planet, it’s a wonder any species in the brink survives. Many don’t, and I find that heart breaking.

After all, these species (and all the infinite wonder of our bio diverse world) have just as much right to life on this planet as we do. And how awful is it that we can’t seem to share it.

Anyway.

While reading the chapter on the travel to Zaire to see gorillas and rhinos, Mr Adams touches on colonialism and the Belgian Congo. And the bureaucracy remaining after Zaire gained independence.

This brought back memories of school and learning about colonialism. When I was taught about European empires and how they carved up the world, it wasn’t presented negatively at all. Or with any commentary about the inherent problems and destruction caused. Oh no. We learned it by playing a game.

I don’t recall exactly how it went, but I think we were assigned different European countries, and we set about conquering Africa, South America, India, and the Far East. It was kind of like Risk (I think, I’ve never played) but it was designed to teach us about the spread of European empires. But in a fun way.

I hate these recollections.

All it does is highlight just how poor my historical education was. We didn’t learn about the atrocities committed against native people. The rape of the land for natural resources. The wars and uprisings. The death. Nope- we just learned that these tiny European countries took over huge swaths of land. And called African and Far eastern countries by different names.

And don’t get me started in what I wasn’t taught about white America’s “colonization” of Native People and land. And the genocide. And the wars.

Gross. White European people and descendants are just gross.

Just thought I’d share a memory of my school days brought up by a really interesting book. Oh, and if layout like Douglas Adams writing style, you will enjoy this book. It’s informative and entertaining. And you learn about some really cool animals: Komodo dragons, white rhinos, mountain gorillas, the kakapo, a special lemur on Madagascar, river dolphins, etc.

About cb

Nickname: Munt Measurements: 45 B, 34, 38(?) Ambition: to be the best human ever! Turn ons: long walks on the beach, romantic dinners, porn, rainbows, cock Turn offs: bad smell face, men who are full of themselves, dead puppies, popcorn, sadness
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Colonialism

  1. Doréus says:

    Like you, as a Settler descendant of White European colonisers (twelfth generation, but still Settler nevertheless) I was taught an unproblematised and generally glorifying narrative of colonialism. Heck! It was a major part of much of the children’s literature I was exposed to. In addition to that, as a descendant of French colonists, I was also taught that we as a people had been colonised and put upon, which appeared to excuse our own misdeeds towards Indigenous peoples. Now, as a History instructor in a postsecondary institution whose husband is Indigenous and deeply rooted in his own people’s history, I am teaching Canadian history in an anticolonial and antiracist way to students who for the most part have been presented a narrative that is little different from the one I grew up with (with the addition of the story of residential schooling of Indigenous peoples as an unintended genocide that is too often presented as an exception to the rule of supposedly benign colonialism). It is, let’s say, a fascinating challenge every day. If you are ever curious about other readings dealing more specifically with North American issues, let me know!

  2. truthspew says:

    My schooling did touch on China which was interesting as it was near the era where Nixon visited China. But nothing on India and its fight for independence from the British, nor the Sino-Japanese war, or any of the stuff that had and still had an impact on Asia and Southeast Asia to this day. Even Korea – the one that interests me is the night time satellite photo of the Korean peninsula. The north as a tiny pinpoint of light that is Pyongyang. Meanwhile South Korea is lit up like a Christmas tree.

    And consider to what was done to the Native American tribes in the United States. That in my opinion is horrendous and shows the lack of morality of the ‘settlers’ that came here. Hell my ancestry on mom’s side traces back to that era plus i have few percent Native American in my DNA that likely comes from Mohawk. And I understand how it happened. Some of my very distant ancestors didn’t like the bullshit going on back in the 16th and 17th centuries and essentially went native. Likely explains my rejection of religion.

    I find it interesting I learned a lot of the later by myself rather than in school. Face it schooling, even in Catholic schools is set by the community. And community itself is a rather fickle thing.

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