posts 16 - 22 of 22
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

There is no justification for colonial control over a nation, in almost every case a nation that is being colonized is because they are being exploited of some resource they have within their nation. Those colonizing are demanding and using all that the nations have to offer for their own benefit. Very rarely does the interaction between colonizers and natives have a positive outcome or plus side for those being colonized, they are often left with less than they had or traded something not as beneficial to them. Colonizers justify their actions by claiming they are “aiding less developed nations”.

The benefits for the colonialist nation in charge normally receives natural resources from the country, slaves, and goods. They also gain access to trade and business opportunities, open ports for ships on long journeys, and exchange of ideas. In return they often received protection from neighboring enemies and sometimes were traded advanced weaponry. They were also exposed to christianity by missionaries from Europe.

In the reading there were many stories of peoples experiences. It was heart wrenching to read their stories and the pain the endured. One woman told about how she witnessed her husband being stabbed to death as they struggled to keep walking. They experienced extreme starvation and children were punished by whip or left behind. One man told the account of him remembering how he held himself together after witnessing a lynching. Violence became the norm and so many saw or experienced it themselves that it seemed to no longer affected them. Colonialism was the reason behind so much pain and suffering of their people, yet the white men were only interested in taking what they could get.

In short, the effects of African nations development was really bad. They were exploited for cheap labor slaves and their natural resources. In places such as the Congo like we read about there was terrible atrocities committed against their people. No trade can ever be an equal exchange for the suffering the people endured. In the long-term colonization has left Africa very underdeveloped compared to other countries. SOme of the colonizers have apologized for their past actions but no repercussions for the exploitation have ever been given.

Posts: 21

“The Conquest of the Earth… not a pretty thing”: Colonizing the Kongo

There is never any real justification for colonial control over any nation. There is no logic behind conquering an entire nation, an entire people because you feel better than them. Hundreds of countries are still suffering because of the endless years of colonization. My own family comes from a country colonized by the British and there is a clear sense of loss in the country, and countless others have suffered because of colonization. The rulers who use their need for power or the excuse that they are helping the countries they are colonizing are trying to justify their horrible acts with logical things. They created excuses for themselves and the rest of the world to agree with them. The colonization of nations has led to years of improvements, losses of culture, and sometimes even entire people. There is never any justification for erasing entire communities.

There are two people on the issue of colonization, the colonized and the colonizer. In the eyes of the colonizer, there are a lot of benefits to colonization, for them. They gain power and love the people and wealth from the land. They do all the effort without wanting to do the work. Instead of coming up with ways to share our natural resources. Instead, counties, mainly white ones, conquered countries of people they deem to be less than the- countries with people of color. People used this for slavery because countries were filled with people who slightly differ from them. It's okay to conquer them. The other side of colonization is the colonized people. In their eyes, which is how everyone should view it, there are no bendiest but rather more harm from colonization. Colonization has destroyed countless people and has drained resources from African and Asian countries to feed into white majority ones. The start of this arrangement was when our interracial relationship took a sharp turn. When only white countries gathered to discuss fate, because they felt like they were entitled to it, African countries started the systemic racism still flooding our world today.

Adam Hochschild’s reading showed the acceptance of colonization. Throughout our history lessons, we have learned about the horrible acts, mentioned in the writing, that went along with colonization. Easily in the Congo where they cut their hands off or even killed the people who wouldn't corporate. With this rise in violence generations of people and countless others were lost, but this isn't the first example of these gruesome acts. The short-term effect was the flooding of resources to colonize countries while the long-term effect was that those countries got richer while African countries listed people, resources, and their culture. These nations are now among the poorest in the world, many don't have the correct resources to survive on, and that is because of colonization. Many people don't believe in reparations because they argue that colonization wasn't their fault because they weren't alive so they shouldn't contribute to reparations. This narrative is false. First of all Queen Elizabeth was alive during some part of English colonization and she and the entire royal family benefited from it. This is similar to a lot of counter-colonizing countries, they benefited heavily from it and still are. In the US the country was built off the labor of enslaved people, and we have to acknowledge that because our country is still benefiting from it. Just because you weren't alive during colonization you still benefited from it.

In response to Woozi's question For my question, do you think the effects of colonization have anything to do with the white nationalist personalities we see in America today?

Yes, definitely colonization has direct ties with white nationalism in America today. African people were brought to America as a result of the slave trade, which started because of colonization. Since America had ties with the countries that had colonization parts of Africa they were included in the slave trade. This then created the systemic racism we have in all of our systems today. White nationalists started because they believed that the "white race" is the most superior and therefore the only people who should be citizens in America. This was created at the start of colonization, the egotistic mindset of white countries thinking they had the right to colonize African countries.

My question is: How do you think we should move forward with reparations? When do you think we'll ever be in a world of equality? Will we ever be?

freddie gibbs fan
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 19

There is no justification for colonial control. Many Europeans have tried to justify it, often using the dehumanization of other races. Whether it is the "white man's burden" to "help" these societies (seeing them as unable to govern) or simply deciding they're superior and deserving the resources which the conquered have, white people have tried to justify it. This basis of racism and bigotry makes colonialism bad by principle even if we ignore all the effects of it. The numerous genocides, unfathomable violence, and great suffering endured by those who were colonialized shows the motives of the Europeans. They wanted resources for themselves and took them in spite of others. This is simply greed which most of us are taught is bad especially at the expense of others (greed also being very anti-christian value yet endorsed by men like Leopold of Belgium.)

The Colonized get no benefit from being conquered. In The Congo, African ivory sellers were made to sell their ivory for very little if any at all, all "vacant" land was claimed by Leopold, all obvious exploitation and manifestation of power. In no way were the Africans benefitted at all. The colonizers get all the resources they want however, Leopold did not even visit the Congo and yet he gained immense wealth from it. From the excerpt, the symbol of the Chicotte whip stayed deep in my mind. As the Minister Lefranc recorded, it was used extensively against the natives, as punishment for even the smallest of crimes, even against children. It left victims bleeding, unconscious, or often dead. Considering whipping were also very common in the American South I would not assume this was the worst of colonization or at least close to it. Another scary part was all the onlookers to the terrible acts. I think what happened in the Congo was not too different from what we see elsewhere because it has the same pattern of bystanders getting turned into a machine of violence. In the Holocaust German bystanders eventually had to join the military and further the Holocaust, similar to the Congo where bystanders simply accepted the violence against native populations.

The long and short term effects of colonialization are instability and a lack of prosperity. In African many still live in poverty, many governments are often corrupt, and they have simply not grown economically as some of the world has. The headstart that everyone else got is why. Imagine the world stage is a game of Monopoly. Each country was playing for a while until the European countries took all the money and properties from the African nations. How would they continue to thrive after having everything taken from them? Colonizing nations have a huge responsibility to help those who they colonized. Whether that be helping them industrialize without predatory loans, returning stolen art, or even just giving them money, I think it's very important.

To answer the previous question, I think reparations are necessary even though they do not fix the endless suffering endured. I don't think we will ever live in an equitable society, however we have a moral obligation to strive for that. My question for the next response is:

After reading this, who do you think are the "monsters" and "functionaries" in our society now?

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 17

There are no possible justifications for colonial control over any nation, only reasons---stupid ones fueled by greed. King Leopold colonized the Kongo purely out of greed and desire for power. He enslaved Kongolese people for cheap labor to produce ivory and rubber. This lined his pockets not only with money but with blood. He also gained power from this money and used it to bolster his rule and his country's global standing. Belgium’s presence in the Kongo marked a period of horrendous violence against the Kongolese people. Whether the Kongolese were receiving chicette beatings or peeling off layers of rubber-infused skin, the Belgians violently oppressed the people of this colony. Rebellions were snuffed out, people were forced off their lands at gunpoint, hands were cut off, family members were murdered as an incentive to work faster, and much more. How can anybody possibly justify these things? It simply isn't possible. This kind of senseless violence cannot ever be justified.

Colonialism only benefits the colonizer. In relationships of oppression, it is not the oppressed who thrive, but the oppressor who has placed a boot on their neck and a gun at their back. Colonizers gain increased financial benefits, are credited for “civilizing” “savage” and “inferior” populations, and enjoy raised social status. Among the colonialist's ranks, people are rewarded for their brutal treatment of the colonized nation. The colonized suffer because of this. They are treated like animals, enslaved for cheap labor, killed at alarming rates, raped, beaten, sold, and stripped of their culture. There are massacres and oppressors learn to kill and devastate populations just because they can. The power they gain from brute force influences how they live their daily lives. They become more prone to violence and are desensitized to the horror they inflict because they view black people as animals. There is nothing to gain from colonization except pain and suffering. As a colonizer, you may gain wealth and status, but lose your humanity.

For a long time, I believed that the story of the Congo was how colonialism was throughout all of Africa. During middle school, I learned about it constantly. So when I found out in AP World History that practically nobody knew about it, I was shocked. The reason many don’t know about it is that when something as horrific as the Kongo happens, especially to communities of color, people will try to sweep it under the rug or forget about it. Many might think it is not even worth teaching about, which is incredibly wrong. The reason that we must teach about these things is to keep the memory/history of the victims alive, to reconcile with our past so that we can do better, and to make sure that history does not repeat itself. Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost does not highlight the extremes of colonialism, but the very real possibilities of what could and did happen. There are many facts forgotten to history. Just because this is one of the most horrible stories of colonialism known, does not mean that there weren’t even worse cases that went undocumented. It is very likely that acts just as terrible or worse have happened and we just don't know. In the Kongo, family members were killed when men didn't meet their daily quotas, people, even children, were brutally beaten by the masses, and torture became so normal that people saw it as “normal.” So, Adam Hochschild’s account of the Kongo is a cautionary tale. It details the very real possibilities of what humanity can become when corrupted by racism and greed.

Colonialism’s short-term effect on Africa was the senseless violence and high death toll. Africa was also stripped of culture, prosperity, and resources. Long-term effects include cultural erasure, racism, colorism, sexism, homophobia, and much more. Today, borders are still affected by colonialism, and the political chaos colonists left behind still troubles some countries. I believe that all colonizing nations have a responsibility to their former colonial subjects to try to mend what they so carelessly broke. They derailed these countries and caused many societal problems. In many cases, they left countries in political disarray. While I don’t think that colonizing countries should try to help “rebuild” governments (because it would only perpetuate more problems stemming from colonialism and its mindset), they should repay their former colonies. Colonizing countries grew rich off the backs of enslaved peoples. So, to rectify the bloodshed in quest of money, colonizers should funnel money back into their colonies so they can rebuild infrastructure. Colonizers should also acknowledge what they've done and put the effort in to return artifacts, resources, and remains. They profited because of their blood, the least they can do is return some of that wealth. They should also work to unlearn whatever racist sentiments took hold before, during, and after colonialism.

To answer @ arcoiris18 , I do think that we should move forward with reparations. I also think that we are a long way from equality. I believe that it can't be reached until we all acknowledge the issues of the world together as a global population. Then we must dismantle systems that only uphold problems. Until then, equality cannot be reached. But in truth, I don't think it will ever truly be.

My question is: Do you think something just as or more terrible than the Kongo could happen in today's society?

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18

I don’t believe there are any justifications for having colonial rule over any nation. When I first saw this question I thought about Woodrow Wilson and his idea regarding the moral superiority of democracy, his “moral imperialism” and desire to “bring uncivilized people the freedom and savior that is American democracy”. It however, does not reflect autonomy, self-governance, and does not acknowledge the failure of democracy that was taking place in our own country (women’s suffrage and the rights of POC) and that is still taking place today.

Sure there are benefits to colonialism… but to whom. I mean I very well agree and could argue that money doesn't buy happiness but the colonial leaders of the time like King Leopold reflect the eerie truth that lies behind colonialism— capitalism. It’s capitalism that fostered greed, allowing people like Kind Leopold to choose profits over people. The excerpt from the book states that “the king, meanwhile, continued to claim that making a profit was the farthest thing from his mind”... however, the ivory of the Congo and the people through military intervention could be easily exploited and the fruits of their labor would be devoured by Leopold solely.

Colonialism, like capitalism, is weird in the sense that an absence of critical thinking and lack of group consciousness will lead people, both those affected and those in other ways benefiting, blind to the evils and atrocities that take place. Hence the necessity for Leopold, like Wilson, to add a moral value to colonialism and imperialism. Leopold also did this by convincing people of the “savagery” of the Congo citizens, even referring to them as “cannibals”. The animalistic imagery implying that it is essential they be tamed, thus convincing people of their responsibility to aid in Leopold's colonial power over the Congo.

On the same note of who benefits, it’s evidently not African people, but it most certainly is those who carried out the secondary tasks (like the military) for Leopold, those investing in Africa, and even European citizens. The growth of European wealth benefiting all beneath. I think there's an interesting connection between Leopold's military and the US military, even the idea of what the military’s task is today… protecting people, or protecting profits? I think colonialism and imperialism have a dual father-son relationship (but that is off topic).

Those benefiting from colonialism reap the benefits of access to new and an abundance of resources, trade opportunities, and possibly less economically driven ideas such as new innovations, the spread of ideas, etc.

From Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost & the extremes of colonialism:

Colonialism is the extreme. It is the exploitation of people and land, the stripping away of native sovereignty, autonomy, and even humanity. There is physical and emotional abuse perpetrated onto people for the purpose of profit. Therein lies long lasting stereotypes, and complete debilitating stability. The fact that children, who we understand to be an impressionable population, were forced to convert to Catholicism, and sent away to specialized colonies.. All to be left to die is absolutely horrible and inhumane. AND COMPLETELY IRONIC. How, in the name of literal “good faith” can that have been accepted. I think there’s a great deal of irony in the way in which religion has existed, but seriously how far can you be from the righteousness you preach. It reminded me native Americans here in North America, how children were forced away from their families and sent to schools that attempted to convert and strip them of their identity, and thus kill entire populations. It starts with children and to see this narrative of “start with the children to get the rest” is just so so sad.

Responding to question(s) 4:

I already briefly mentioned the implications of colonialism. And so, overall my point stands. No country, no people, no individual should have the right. And there absolutely needs to be reparations paid forth to any people harmed, any people still being harmed, by any people who played a hand in the actions that lead to colonial authority being upheld. I think the question I have for the next reader is: How do we go about addressing reparations? Do you find that equitable on its own?

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18

Originally posted by sage_gorilla on January 24, 2023 00:05

My question is: Do you think something just as or more terrible than the Kongo could happen in today's society?

I think that your question has both an obvious and not so obvious answer. Obvious in the sense that yes atrocious outlined that came from the process of colonialism can clearly happen today (i.e coerced labor, poor/deadly working conditions, overall exploitation and disregard for humanity). I saw this because even though we have things like the UN and humanitarian intervention for the purpose of protecting people, often certain things get swept under the rug. I think social media aids in shedding light and that is one of the best parts about it--- it's ability to quickly inform a large audience of global news. I think we see autrocities like this right now such as Ukraine and Russia and China and the Uyghur people, as well as Israel and Palestine. But I think that its less likely that any overt form of colonialism, that which may resemble the late 18th century will happen again. Not because it can't. But, because colonialism has adapted to find new means to achieve capital purpose --- for instance imperialism. And the US is indeed a perpetrator of that itself.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

There is no moral justification for colonization on other people. Stripped down to the bare-bones, there is no way to justify the abuse of another people. I understand a lot of nations who do things like this tend to justify it through the lens of "it is our destiny" (thinking on Manifest Destiny in the US), so through their own heads they believe they are doing the right thing. Some might try to bring up "economic" benefits, but this is completely one sided as only the colonizers are the ones that benefit through this. If we are only looking through the lens of just the colonizers, then yes, you could say that there are benefits to colonization. If, however, we use a more broad lens (like we TRY to do as much as possible in history classes) then no, there are too many victims to consider any form of colonization to be beneficial.

Saying this, I understand that a lot of the luxuries we enjoy in the United States are products of colonialism. To that end, I believe that it is everybody's duty to at least acknowledge that fact. There is not much people can do about this as the damage is already done, but we can at least try to do as much as we can.

For the reading, it is clear that the gruesome effects of colonialism are real and unfortunately oftentimes overlooked. When we think of colonization, I've noticed that the thought tends to go to "the point in history when certain empires expanded their borders on neighboring or far reaching territories," and this is a gross oversimplification. This reading outlines the many horrors that are an effect of colonialism. I see that this is because colonialism is a massive projection of the capabilities humans have to do terrible things. Thinking on this and other cases of colonialism, it is clear that the excerpt is indicative of the perils of colonialism, because not every case is like this, but similarly to those cases, what happened in the Kongo started out less extreme then what it ended up being. Any case of colonization is extremely volatile and usually devolves into the madness outlined in the reading.

I think the long term effect that this has on the world is the setting of a precedent. It may not be the first case of colonialism, but as is seen all too often in history, one one nation does something different, the rest follow suit. The superpowers of the world are left to their own devices to wreak havoc on other weaker nations - all under a ruse of "saving them," or "following their destiny," - and leave in their wake the aftereffects we still see to this day. We can see "third world countries" still struggling to get by while the superpowers that perpetuated this thrive and get to determine what goes in the world.

I believe it is the responsibility for every nation who perpetuated colonialism on the world in the past to acknowledge their doings and move forward with it through meaningful action. Relief, aid, and education all come to mind in terms of tangible solutions. Individually, I think the same applies. Classes like History and Facing History are good places to learn about these things as, if I'm honest, I had no idea of what happened in the Kongo before I took this class. Educate, educate, educate, because as a result, the world can have more empathy and problems can be solved.

Q: Is it possible to completely SOLVE these issues, or do you think that no matter what we do, the damage is done and can never truly be solved?

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