Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Aspects of Colonialism That I Find Most Interesting (#1)

In this blog, I want to examine the ways in which the colonizer develops a mentality that justifies his actions and grants him imagined legitimacy. For clarification's sake, in speaking of the “colonizer,” I am referring to the nation that takes power and privilege from the colonized people while oppressing and exploiting them, and “legitimacy” refers to the colonizer's responsibility to the colonized people (all-be-it self-imposed) and status as a result of colonized's acceptance of his role (dependency complex), as well as his consequential rights to any privilege granted to him by virtue of his powerful position.

Throughout the semester, I have wondered how any nation could possibly get away with the atrocities of colonialism with the whole world watching. During the Holocaust, for example the Nazi regime efficiently and quietly murdered millions. I recently learned that it took almost 12 years for the news and evidence of the many tragedies of the Holocaust to reach America, due in part to the fact that there was no global media. Still, after hearing about what had gone on, many people could not believe it could have happened, and even more could not (and cannot) understand how such a great number of people – more than the nation of Germany in fact – could have believed so strongly in a social-political agenda as to commit such an unprecedented act of genocide.

Today, in the age of global communication and connectedness. it is not nearly as possible as it once was for a nation to make such a move without the whole world knowing, but sometimes for more complex reasons, these situations don't receive the attention they warrant. Last year I took a survey course in human geography and heard a Tibetan man speak about the issues that had torn his country apart from the roots. His story affected me so much that I wanted to tell all the people around me about the bothersome things I'd found out, to let everyone know that what seems in the past is still going on today for Tibet. Life became busy, and I didn't share the things I'd found out with many people, but now for my sake and yours, I'd like to take a closer look at the cultural and colonial history of what I consider to be one of the most valuable places in the world.

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