- Firstly, this question seems ridiculous. No justification exists for any power holding colonial control over another nation. In class, we have read accounts of colonists that defend their actions by calling the native people of Africa savages or the common reasoning we hear for most cultural genocide that “ they needed to be saved and educated”. King Leopold chose to colonize the Congo for his own little excitement, it was a power trip for him as the book states that he had little power back home. Disgusting. Then once he realized the abundance of resources he exploited the natives and stole their resources. Ms. Freeman shared with us how the map of Africa lay on the table at the meeting little by little European powers began to chip away at the continent. How can that ever be justified? That land was never up for the taking.
- There are zero benefits to colonization except for the abusers and colonizers themselves. Of course, the colonizers get free labor, people to enslave, exploited resources, land, and “power” or a chance to prove their superiority. There are not any benefits to your land being stolen and your people being massacred. The colonized nations are often left economically devastated as they are drained of their natural resources and ability to profit off of their land. I think saying that colonialism “can be helpful” is so ignorant and carries ideas of white/western supremacy. I guarantee that no “advantage” is worth losing your people and land.
- I believe that what is described in King Leopold’s Ghost is the perils and extremes but it is also sadly the norm for every nation that has been colonized it is just not talked about enough. As I was reading Hochschild’s book I was shocked at the brutal images being described, but the more I read the more connections that I made with how Americans treated Indigenous people or how other groups treated those who they believed to be superior to. King Leopold first cut the country out of all its economy- business and profit. One specific example was he cut off the people of Konga from one of their resources, the elephant, and he forbid any people of Konga to sell Ivory. This reminded me of how the U.S. colonizers killed all of the buffalo to starve and remove the Native Americans’ most useful resource. The language used to describe Kongolese people were similar to many other native people, King Leopard used the term “lazy native” to justify the enslavement of an entire nation. Lastly, in every nation that was colonized, there is a massacre of people; King Leopold did this in many ways. By creating a quota of 4 kilos of dried rubber which was nearly impossible to reach, selling men and women to Chiefs intended for food, or forcing young children aged 7-9 to carry 20 pounds of work. The Congo was not the exception, all native people have been treated with similar cruelty.
- I believe that the colonization of Africa had devastating effects on the continent as a whole. Almost every single country in Africa was colonized. This means that the majority of the population faced cultural and actual genocide by White men. They had many years and resources stolen from them, so how can they ever fully recover to the point of their once colonizers? I also think there is a mental effect the largest one being obviously racism. I think many European countries are still very racist and have chosen not to acknowledge their racist history. Then also the mental health effects for older generations that had to live through these hardships and the younger ones for still having to deal with the generational trauma. There also must have been a forced culture switch in Africa as they were dragged into forced globalization. I think that the colonizing nation should have a large amount of responsibility over the colonized nations. These colonizers used them when they were helpful and then left them on their own as they struggled. The nations of Africa deserve reparations for what was done to their countries and ancestors.
Answer to Coffee and Pie: Some similarity in our behavior between us currently and during the colonial period is that there is still a need to be "the best". A superior race, superior country, the most weaponized, the strongest. It was this mindset that lead colonizers to take over land and claim it as their own. Scary actually especially with the current right winged part of politics.
My Question: What exactly are reparations? Will any ever be sufficient enough? Can colonizing countries ever make up for the damage they caused in the past?