Colonialism is dead – Long live the “humanitarianism”


British Prime Minister David Cameron (left) and French President Nikolai Sarkozy being greeted in Libya. PHOTO/Philippe Wojazer/Reuters/Irish Times

Obama’s absence

President Barack Obama’s not joining Sarkozy and Cameron may be for two reasons: Imagine a former University of Chicago professor visiting Libya as a black imperialist from the white US in the company of two whites in Africa. To be fair to Obama, those who dragged him in this war were Hillary Clinton, Samantha Powers, and Susan Rice. Besides, with the economic front refusing to relay any good news, he would have been a good target for the news media and the Republicans for worrying about Libya while millions of people in the US are going through rough times.

Colonialism is not dead

The phrase “The King is dead. Long live the King” was first used in 1422 when Charles VI’s death was followed by the coronation of Charles VII. The idea behind the announcement was to leave no room for power struggle.

During the last century, the US and Europe granted freedom to many countries by ending direct rule. However, they then opted for indirect rule. This was achieved through West controlled international financial institutions; which enabled them to exploit those countries’ natural resources and labor. The regimes which refused to stay within the West’s imperialist orbit were to be overthrown by economic blackmail and embargoes, or through force. The eleven years of this century has been no different. Nowadays, the colonial ventures are called “humanitarian” missions.

(There used to be war departments and secretaries of war. The US changed its secretary of war to secretary of defense in 1947. Who knows, the next name change will be “secretary of humanitarianism”.)

Two white European leaders accompanied by their foreign ministers and a hawkish French philosopher being greeted by an enthusiastic crowd upon their arrival on a Libyan soil is a reminder that the 2000s are not any different than the 1900s, or the 1800s, or the …

Nothing pleases the white colonialists more than the smiling welcome by the natives whose country they have just recaptured–not physically–but indirectly through the sons of bitches, as the US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said about the Nicaraguan dictator: “Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”

The welcoming natives are good for the health of the imperialist powers: it gives a boost to their superiority complex and it makes them happy to put their children–because the white colonists have always assumed themselves to be the father figures–in their proper place.

Now the puppets will loot the resources of their country, and let the West European powers and the US, plunder too.

Sarkozy declared: France, Britain and Europe “will always stand by the side of the Libyan people”. The joyous crowd didn’t notice the slip of the tongue; what Sarkozy meant was that France, Britain, Europe, and the US (which he forgot to mention) “will always stay on top of the Libyan people.”

Waiting in the wings colonialists

Half a century back, psychiatrist/author/revolutionary Frantz Fanon, in his famous book “Wretched of the Earth,” prodded all those who were fighting to free the Third World from the imperial clutches of Europe and the US:

“Come, then, comrades; it would be as well to decide at once to change our ways. We must shake off the heavy darkness in which we were plunged, and leave it behind. The new day which is already at hand must find us firm, prudent and resolute.”

Than he reminded his readers:

“Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe. It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster, in which the taints, the sickness and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensions.”

The times have changed so much that today one can’t even hope that the gradual demise of the white supremacy will result in a new global environment which will bring some fairness to the common people.

Today, countries like China and India have lined up to take over the mantle of Super Power. While awaiting their turn, they keep their mouths shut and see the bombing of countries and the overthrowing of governments by the US and Europe. And if they get a chance, they do share some of the plunder.

On the other hand, these and other countries including South Korea and Kuwait, have already started grabbing land in poorer countries in Africa. Economist Jayati Ghosh points out that Indian corporations are getting lands in some of the African countries at a throw away rate with a lease of 99 years!

What will happen when the Africans demand their land back? Are the Chinese, Indians, and others going to send their armed forces to protect their corporations’ investments?

In the not so distant future, the new hated people will be Chinese and Indians, that is, all of South Asians.

B. R. Gowani can be reached at

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