Author: changabula

What the British did to Africa [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2008-12-21 23:25:00 |Display all floors
At the same time, it seems clear that many in the Conservative government didn’t want to change things very much. Elkins has two, slightly contradictory explanations for this. The first is the conventional anti-imperialist one, that they simply wanted ‘to maintain colonial rule’. But Britain had already begun the process of decolonisation elsewhere, including in Africa. Lennox-Boyd certainly wanted to slow this down, and there seems to have been a ‘flicker of hope’ among some settlers that self-government, when it came, might give them disproportionate power, as in South Africa and (effectively) Southern Rhodesia, but that just shows how out of touch they were. (There were simply not enough of them.) The main consideration in Whitehall – Elkins alludes to this, too – was the place of the British Empire in the annals of history. That depended not only on what it could be claimed to have achieved while it was still living, but on the manner of its dying and the impression this made.
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Post time 2008-12-21 23:25:18 |Display all floors
It had always been the proud boast of British imperialists (rather like American imperialists today) that their empire was uniquely beneficent; that its effect, if not its original purpose, was to spread ‘civilisation’ and even ‘freedom’ in the world. The upper classes believed they were specially fitted for this task. Anderson and Elkins both quote Barbara Castle’s observation that Lennox-Boyd was ‘imbued with the conviction that the British ruling class, both at home and overseas, could do no wrong.’ Many of those who witnessed the Kenyan atrocities, and deplored them, clung to this conviction. ‘I knew, I knew,’ an anguished Thomas Askwith confided to Elkins in 1997. ‘But how can I say it? . . . I just believed in our higher purpose . . . we had so much better to offer them. I thought our own bad hats would come around.’ They didn’t. Reporting from Kenya for the Daily Mirror, James Cameron saw among the settler community ‘the death of colonial liberalism, and the loss of the moral order that gave empire its only possible justification’. It seemed a terrible way to go. The Economist put it directly and succinctly in February 1959: ‘The one overriding consideration in treating any present-day colonial question must be what last memories of the British way of doing things are to be left behind before connections with Westminster are severed.’ It certainly ruled out any idea of upping and leaving – ‘scuttling’, it would have been called.
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Post time 2008-12-21 23:25:56 |Display all floors
Britain’s broader colonial aim at this time was to transfer power to ‘moderate’ local leaders, which in Kenya meant defeating Mau Mau, an objective achieved, for the most part, by 1956, though no thanks to the repression, which was probably counter-productive. The revelation of the beatings at Hola finally tore away the government’s earlier papering over of its repressive behaviour – the evidence in the Hola case was just too glaring – and Iain McLeod, a new broom at the Colonial Office, made sure that there would be no more delays over African independence. There remained the haunting recollection of those dreadful Emergency years, but that was solved by Kenyatta’s reconciliation policy. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the whole affair is that the beleaguered British then opened their eyes, and the sunshine, the smell of the first rains and the taste of ripe mangoes came suddenly flooding back. Not only the horrors, but all memory of the horrors, were gone. It was like waking up from a nightmare. The stain on Britain’s imperial character was hidden from view – for the time being, at any rate. The myth of a ‘dignified’ decolonisation was able to endure. It was, Elkins writes, ‘a scenario that the British colonial government had fantasised about for years’. The Mau Mau did not get the recognition due to them (there is still no official memorial to them in Nairobi) and Britain never got the comeuppance it deserved. Half a century later, a ‘revisionist’ historian like Ferguson, seeking to rehabilitate the empire after a decent interval, could still blithely ignore the whole affair. This is no longer an option. Anderson and Elkins have seen to that.

lrb.co.uk/v27/n05/port01_.html
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Post time 2008-12-24 13:34:06 |Display all floors

Reply #70 seneca's post

The thieving inglisher, with their kollapsing ekonomi, with fraudulent krappy amerikan dollars just invested in the commdity sector in afrika.....

and thieved their way, by bribing afrikans to work for peanuts, to get their diamonds, gold, iron ore, copper, zinc, aluminium, coal..........
and created modern day bureacrats to keep the afrikans leaderless.....


ha ha ha


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Post time 2009-1-1 19:41:05 |Display all floors
Zimbabwe

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Finally, and most astonishingly, the editorial claims, “It is a fact, but barely relevant, that Britain’s colonialists bear much historical guilt.” Thus the role of British imperialism, the crimes committed in its name and its enduring legacy, are written off as “barely relevant”. But how is it possible to understand present events in Zimbabwe or anywhere else without a knowledge of history—and of the impact of British imperialism’s oppression of the African masses?

The former name of Zimbabwe—Southern Rhodesia—reminds us that from 1889 to 1922 the country was run as a British mandate by a commercial company set up by royal charter—Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company (BSA). All the wealth of the country passed into the hands of the British invaders. On 12 September 1890 Rhodes raised the British flag and formally “took possession” of Mashonaland and all it contained. When he conquered the Ndebele region by military invasion, the opposition of the indigenous people was declared “a rebellion” and virtually all their land and cattle passed into white hands.

When Matabeleland was subjugated, villages were burnt down to make room for the white settlers and for mining camps. Labour was made available for the mines and the land through the imposition of a labour-tax law. In 1896 the Ndebele uprising against BSA rule was brutally crushed. Landless peasants were forced to live in “locations” in areas of the country devoid of fertile soil, water and wild game. The Saturday Review of August 26, 1896 wrote, “Permanent peace there cannot be in countries like Mashona and Matabeleland until the blacks are either exterminated or driven into the centre of Africa.” That was the spirit of the rule of the BSA on behalf of the British colonial power.

This was the way that British rule began in Southern Rhodesia. It is but a small part of Britain’s colonial history, which the Guardian editorial insists is “barely relevant”.

The legacy of Rhodes continued in the twentieth century. From 1923 Southern Rhodesia, though still part of the British Empire, became a self-governing colony, ruled by the white minority. Seven years later the Land Apportionment Act made it illegal for Africans to own or rent property in towns in the greater part of the country. A formal colour bar in employment was introduced in 1934, under the Industrial Conciliation Act, which excluded “natives” from the definition of “employees”.

After the Second World War tens of thousands of British immigrants arrived in Southern Rhodesia and settled on land that had been designated as “white” areas by driving Africans from their homes. The Rhodesian authorities attempted to crush the rising nationalist challenge. In 1959 the African National Congress (ANC) was banned and hundreds of activists were imprisoned.

In 1965 the Ian Smith government signed a proclamation declaring its independence from Britain. The limited rights that Africans had achieved in the previous period were withdrawn. The Zanu and Zapu national movements were banned and their supporters incarcerated.

As the liberation struggle developed, thousands of Africans were uprooted from their homes and herded into “new villages” to cut off food and information from the guerrilla forces. New pass laws were introduced that limited the right of Africans to enter the towns. During the whole period of the Smith regime, the country was covertly supported by British capitalism, animated by the knowledge that its interests were being protected.

In 1980 Mugabe came to power, having led the bitter liberation struggle against the white rulers and being imprisoned by the Smith regime for 10 years. He was elected as president of Zimbabwe after the Lancaster House agreement of 1979, which was designed to safeguard British interests and the white farmers in the face of massive social and political resistance. Two years later the British turned a blind eye to his brutal suppression of the political opposition in Matabeleland. This was no doubt an example of the West’s “double standards” that the Guardian is so eager to dismiss.

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wsws.org/articles/2002/apr2002/zimb-a03.shtml
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Post time 2009-1-1 19:48:29 |Display all floors
Racists
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Post time 2009-1-3 08:52:49 |Display all floors
A lot of the power struggles that exist in Africa today are because of the positions of power generated by colonialism.

Without the influence of a colonialist mindset and its need to control would there be reason for war?

Before colonisation Africa was mainly a tribal based continent.
There was tribal conflict and lives were lost but nothing compared to the scale it is now.

People lived within their means as best they could and did not destroy the land they lived on.
Starvation did not exist as it does today -- it is entirely the fault of Western interference.
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