Colonial War Quotes

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Your daughter is ugly. She knows loss intimately, carries whole cities in her belly. As a child, relatives wouldn’t hold her. She was splintered wood and sea water. They said she reminded them of the war. On her fifteenth birthday you taught her how to tie her hair like rope and smoke it over burning frankincense. You made her gargle rosewater and while she coughed, said macaanto girls like you shouldn’t smell of lonely or empty. You are her mother. Why did you not warn her, hold her like a rotting boat and tell her that men will not love her if she is covered in continents, if her teeth are small colonies, if her stomach is an island if her thighs are borders? What man wants to lay down and watch the world burn in his bedroom? Your daughter’s face is a small riot, her hands are a civil war, a refugee camp behind each ear, a body littered with ugly things but God, doesn’t she wear the world well.
Warsan Shire
I just wanted all the wars to be over so that we could spend the money on starships and Mars colonies.
Grant Morrison (Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human)
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. [Adams submitted and signed the Treaty of Tripoli, 1797]
John Adams (Thoughts on government applicable to the present state of the American colonies.: Philadelphia, Printed by John Dunlap, M,DCC,LXXXVI.)
For me, the most ironic token of [the first human moon landing] is the plaque signed by President Richard M. Nixon that Apollo 11 took to the moon. It reads: "We came in peace for all Mankind." As the United States was dropping 7 ½ megatons of conventional explosives on small nations in Southeast Asia, we congratulated ourselves on our humanity. We would harm no one on a lifeless rock.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
When two brothers are busy fighting, an evil man can easily attack and rob their poor mother. Mankind should always stay united, standing shoulder to shoulder so evil can never cheat and divide them.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
The story of how I left Huckleberry begins -- as do all worthy stories -- with a goat
John Scalzi (The Last Colony (Old Man's War, #3))
this is the 21st century and we need to redefine r/evolution. this planet needs a people’s r/evolution. a humanist r/evolution. r/evolution is not about bloodshed or about going to the mountains and fighting. we will fight if we are forced to but the fundamental goal of r/evolution must be peace. we need a r/evolution of the mind. we need a r/evolution of the heart. we need a r/evolution of the spirit. the power of the people is stronger than any weapon. a people’s r/evolution can’t be stopped. we need to be weapons of mass construction. weapons of mass love. it’s not enough just to change the system. we need to change ourselves. we have got to make this world user friendly. user friendly. are you ready to sacrifice to end world hunger. to sacrifice to end colonialism. to end neo-colonialism. to end racism. to end sexism. r/evolution means the end of exploitation. r/evolution means respecting people from other cultures. r/evolution is creative. r/evolution means treating your mate as a friend and an equal. r/evolution is sexy. r/evolution means respecting and learning from your children. r/evolution is beautiful. r/evolution means protecting the people. the plants. the animals. the air. the water. r/evolution means saving this planet. r/evolution is love.
Assata Shakur
A dull, decent people, cherishing and fortifying their dullness behind a quarter of a million bayonets.
George Orwell (Burmese Days)
That's how we slide, and while we slide we blame the world's problems on colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, corporatism, stupid white men, and America, but there's no need to make a brand name of blame. Individual self-interest: that's the source of our descent, and it doesn't start in the boardrooms or the war rooms either. It starts in the home.
Steve Toltz (A Fraction of the Whole)
Les personnages de nos autres vies sont des fantômes que la littérature fait revivre.
Olivier Weber
According to the Yankees owning one person makes you a scoundrel, but owning a nation makes you a colonial benefactor.
Nelson A. Denis (War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America's Colony)
At least one tribe, the Geln, strongly opposed attacking the Colonial Union, since humans were reasonably strong, distressingly tenacious and not especially principled when they felt threatened.
John Scalzi (The Ghost Brigades (Old Man's War, #2))
What we designate modernity was not something natural or automatic. It involved a set of difficult-to-attain attributes—mass production, mass culture, mass politics—that the greatest powers mastered. Those states, in turn, forced other countries to attain modernity as well, or suffer the consequences, including defeat in war and possible colonial conquest.
Stephen Kotkin (Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928)
You are her mother. Why did you not warn her, hold her like a rotting boat and tell her that men will not love her if she is covered in continents, if her teeth are small colonies, if her stomach is an island if her thighs are borders? What man wants to lie down and watch the world burn in his bedroom? Your daughter ’s face is a small riot, her hands are a civil war, a refugee camp behind each ear, a body littered with ugly things. But God, doesn’t she wear the world well?
Warsan Shire (Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth)
Look, without our stories, without the true nature and reality of who we are as People of Color, nothing about fanboy or fangirl culture would make sense. What I mean by that is: if it wasn't for race, X-Men doesn't sense. If it wasn't for the history of breeding human beings in the New World through chattel slavery, Dune doesn't make sense. If it wasn't for the history of colonialism and imperialism, Star Wars doesn't make sense. If it wasn't for the extermination of so many Indigenous First Nations, most of what we call science fiction’s contact stories doesn't make sense. Without us as the secret sauce, none of this works, and it is about time that we understood that we are the Force that holds the Star Wars universe together. We’re the Prime Directive that makes Star Trek possible, yeah. In the Green Lantern Corps, we are the oath. We are all of these things—erased, and yet without us—we are essential.
Junot Díaz
In the time between the two wars, a British colonial officer said that with the invention of the airplane the world has no secrets left. However, he said, there is one last mystery. There is a large country on the Roof of the World, where strange things happen. There are monks who have the ability to separate mind from body, shamans and oracles who make government decisions, and a God-King who lives in a skyscraper-like palace in the Forbidden City of Llhasa.
Heinrich Harrer (Seven Years in Tibet)
Once their rage explodes, they recover their lost coherence, they experience self-knowledge through reconstruction of themselves; from afar we see their war as the triumph of barbarity; but it proceeds on its own to gradually emancipate the fighter and progressively eliminates the colonial darkness inside and out. As soon as it begins it is merciless. Either one must remain terrified or become terrifying—which means surrendering to the dissociations of a fabricated life or conquering the unity of one’s native soil. When the peasants lay hands on a gun, the old myths fade, and one by one the taboos are overturned: a fighter’s weapon is his humanity. For in the first phase of the revolt killing is a necessity: killing a European is killing two birds with one stone, eliminating in one go oppressor and oppressed: leaving one man dead and the other man free;
Frantz Fanon (The Wretched of the Earth)
...(It) is to one British colonial policy-maker or another that we owe the Boxer Rebellion, the Mau Mau insurrection, the Boer War, and the Boston Tea Party
Shashi Tharoor (The Great Indian Novel)
a colonial war waged against the indigenous population, by a variety of parties, to force them to relinquish their homeland to another people against their will.
Rashid Khalidi (The Hundred Years' War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017)
Millions more people in Africa, Asia, South America, and the rest of the world have also had the benefit of racist European “cleansing” and “civilising” in which Christian religious orders played a heinous role that contradicted every godly thing they preached about and claimed to stand for. When Europe’s imperial powers sought new geographic regions to expand their spheres of influence in the nineteenth century, Africa — with its wealth of natural resources — became a prime target for colonisation in which Christianity played a major role as one of Colonialism’s “Three Cs”: Civilisation, Christianity, and Commerce.
William Hanna (The Grim Reaper)
My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state, for two reasons. For one thing, because it happens to be the larger component of international violence. But also for a much more important reason than that; namely, I can do something about it. So even if the U.S. was responsible for 2 percent of the violence in the world instead of the majority of it, it would be that 2 percent I would be primarily responsible for. And that is a simple ethical judgment. That is, the ethical value of one's actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences. It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century.
Noam Chomsky
Betrayal wears a lot of different hats. You don’t have to make a show of it like Brutus did, you don’t have to leave anything visible jutting from the base of your best friend’s spine, and afterward you can stand there straining your ears for hours, but you won’t hear a cock crow either. No, the most insidious betrayals are done merely by leaving the life jacket hanging in your closet while you lie to yourself that it’s probably not the drowning man’s size. That’s how we slide, and while we slide we blame the world’s problems on colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, corporatism, stupid white men, and America, but there’s no need to make a brand name of blame. Individual self-interest: that’s the source of our descent, and it doesn’t start in the boardrooms or the war rooms either. It starts in the home.
Steve Toltz (A Fraction of the Whole)
We are the wealthiest species alive today. We want for nothing. Without us, there would be no tunnels, no ambi, no galactic map. But we achieved these things through subjugation. Violence. We destroyed entire worlds - entire species. It took a galactic war to stop us. We learned. We apologized. We changed. But we can't give back the things we took. We're still benefiting from them, and others are still suffering from actions centuries old. So, are we worthy? We, who give so much only because we took so much?
Becky Chambers (Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers, #3))
By the beginning of the twentieth century, it was a European habit to distinguish between civilized wars and colonial wars. The laws of war applied to wars among the civilized nation-states, but laws of nature were said to apply to colonial wars
Mahmood Mamdani (Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror)
by 1950, caught up increasingly in our own global vision of anti-Communism, we chose not to see this war as primarily a colonial/anticolonial war, and we had begun to underwrite most of the French costs. Where our money went our rhetoric soon followed. We adjusted our public statements, and much of our journalism, to make it seem as if this was a war of Communists against anti-Communists, instead, as the people of Vietnam might have seen it, a war of a colonial power against an indigenous nationalist force.
David Halberstam (The Best and the Brightest: Kennedy-Johnson Administrations (Modern Library))
Teenagers can be idiotic and stupid, but teenagers also model their behavior from the signals they get from adults.
John Scalzi (The Last Colony (Old Man's War, #3))
I detested their blind, thoughtless, automatic acquiescence to it all, their simpleminded patriotism, their prideful ignorance, their love-it-or-leave-it platitudes, how they were sending me off to a war they didn't understand and didn't want to understand. I held them responsible. By God, yes, I did. All of them - I held them personally and individually responsible - the polyestered Kiwanis boys, the merchants and the farmers, the pious churchgoers, the chatty housewives, the PTA and the Lions club and the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the fine outstanding gentry out at the country club. They didn't know Bao Dai from the man in the moon. They didn't know history. They didn't know the first thing about Diem's tyranny, or the nature of Vietnamese nationalist, or the long colonialism of the French - this was all too damn complicated, it required some reading - but no matter, it was a war to stop the Communists, plain and simple, which was how they liked things, and you were a treasonous pussy if you had second thoughts about killing or dying for plain and simple reasons.
Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried)
I seem to be good at speaking the politicians’ language,” Szilard said. “Apparently there’s an advantage around here to being mildly socially retarded, and that’s the Special Forces for sure.
John Scalzi (The Last Colony (Old Man's War, #3))
When the Treaty of Ghent ended the War of 1812, the British, in time-honoured fashion, abandoned their allies. Who were subsequently wiped out by the Americans along with any other tribes that happened to be in the same general vicinity – even those that had actually been allied with the US government during the war. It’s exactly this sort of thing, of course, which gives colonialism a bad name.
Ben Aaronovitch (The Hanging Tree (Rivers of London, #6))
Here I was! Living in a district that echoed a dead San Francisco. Gay, Cambodian, and not even twenty-six, carrying in my body the aftermath of war, genocide, colonialism. And yet, my task was to teach kids a decade younger, existing across an oceanic difference, what it meant to be human. How absurd, I admitted. How fucking hilarious. I was actually excited.
Anthony Veasna So (Afterparties: Stories)
Wars of imperial conquest have not been solely or even mostly waged over the land and its resources, but they have been fought within the bodies, minds and hearts of the people of the earth for dominion over them.
Paula Gunn Allen
Long before it was known to me as a place where my ancestry was even remotely involved, the idea of a state for Jews (or a Jewish state; not quite the same thing, as I failed at first to see) had been 'sold' to me as an essentially secular and democratic one. The idea was a haven for the persecuted and the survivors, a democracy in a region where the idea was poorly understood, and a place where—as Philip Roth had put it in a one-handed novel that I read when I was about nineteen—even the traffic cops and soldiers were Jews. This, like the other emphases of that novel, I could grasp. Indeed, my first visit was sponsored by a group in London called the Friends of Israel. They offered to pay my expenses, that is, if on my return I would come and speak to one of their meetings. I still haven't submitted that expenses claim. The misgivings I had were of two types, both of them ineradicable. The first and the simplest was the encounter with everyday injustice: by all means the traffic cops were Jews but so, it turned out, were the colonists and ethnic cleansers and even the torturers. It was Jewish leftist friends who insisted that I go and see towns and villages under occupation, and sit down with Palestinian Arabs who were living under house arrest—if they were lucky—or who were squatting in the ruins of their demolished homes if they were less fortunate. In Ramallah I spent the day with the beguiling Raimonda Tawil, confined to her home for committing no known crime save that of expressing her opinions. (For some reason, what I most remember is a sudden exclamation from her very restrained and respectable husband, a manager of the local bank: 'I would prefer living under a Bedouin muktar to another day of Israeli rule!' He had obviously spent some time thinking about the most revolting possible Arab alternative.) In Jerusalem I visited the Tutungi family, who could produce title deeds going back generations but who were being evicted from their apartment in the old city to make way for an expansion of the Jewish quarter. Jerusalem: that place of blood since remote antiquity. Jerusalem, over which the British and French and Russians had fought a foul war in the Crimea, and in the mid-nineteenth century, on the matter of which Christian Church could command the keys to some 'holy sepulcher.' Jerusalem, where the anti-Semite Balfour had tried to bribe the Jews with the territory of another people in order to seduce them from Bolshevism and continue the diplomacy of the Great War. Jerusalem: that pest-house in whose environs all zealots hope that an even greater and final war can be provoked. It certainly made a warped appeal to my sense of history.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
When World War II erupted, colonialism was at its apogee. The courde of the war, however, its symbolic undertones, would sow the seeds of the system's defeat and demise. [...] The central subject, the essence, the core relations between Europeans and Africans during the colonial era, was the difference of race, of skin color. Everything-each eaxchange, connection, conflict-was translated into the language of black and white. [...] Into the African was inculcated the notion that the white man was untouchable, unconquerable, that whites constitute a homogenous, cohesive force. [...] Then, suddenly, Africans recruited into the British and French armies in Europe observed that the white men were fighting one another, shooting one another, destroying one another's cities. It was revelation, a surprise, a shock.
Ryszard Kapuściński (The Shadow of the Sun)
Colonialism is the mother of terrorism.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
It was a frightening metaphor for what the United States was becoming – a Titanic of rich, proud dimwits heading for the iceberg of anti-colonialist backlash.
M.B. Dallocchio (The Desert Warrior)
No one starts a war warning that those involved will lose their innocence - that children will definitely die and be forever lost as a result of the conflict; that the war will not end for generations and generations, even after cease-fires have been declared and peace treaties have been signed. No one starts a war that way, but they should. It would at least be fair warning and an honest admission: even a good war - if there is such a thing - will kill anyone old enough to die.
Alexandra Fulller
The racism that had pervaded the country since slavery engulfed the territories, too. Like African Americans, colonial subjects were denied the vote, deprived of the rights of full citizens, called “nigger,” subjected to dangerous medical experiments, and used as sacrificial pawns in war. They, too, had to make their way in a country where some lives mattered and others did not.
Daniel Immerwahr (How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States)
1. Bangladesh.... In 1971 ... Kissinger overrode all advice in order to support the Pakistani generals in both their civilian massacre policy in East Bengal and their armed attack on India from West Pakistan.... This led to a moral and political catastrophe the effects of which are still sorely felt. Kissinger’s undisclosed reason for the ‘tilt’ was the supposed but never materialised ‘brokerage’ offered by the dictator Yahya Khan in the course of secret diplomacy between Nixon and China.... Of the new state of Bangladesh, Kissinger remarked coldly that it was ‘a basket case’ before turning his unsolicited expertise elsewhere. 2. Chile.... Kissinger had direct personal knowledge of the CIA’s plan to kidnap and murder General René Schneider, the head of the Chilean Armed Forces ... who refused to countenance military intervention in politics. In his hatred for the Allende Government, Kissinger even outdid Richard Helms ... who warned him that a coup in such a stable democracy would be hard to procure. The murder of Schneider nonetheless went ahead, at Kissinger’s urging and with American financing, just between Allende’s election and his confirmation.... This was one of the relatively few times that Mr Kissinger (his success in getting people to call him ‘Doctor’ is greater than that of most PhDs) involved himself in the assassination of a single named individual rather than the slaughter of anonymous thousands. His jocular remark on this occasion—‘I don’t see why we have to let a country go Marxist just because its people are irresponsible’—suggests he may have been having the best of times.... 3. Cyprus.... Kissinger approved of the preparations by Greek Cypriot fascists for the murder of President Makarios, and sanctioned the coup which tried to extend the rule of the Athens junta (a favoured client of his) to the island. When despite great waste of life this coup failed in its objective, which was also Kissinger’s, of enforced partition, Kissinger promiscuously switched sides to support an even bloodier intervention by Turkey. Thomas Boyatt ... went to Kissinger in advance of the anti-Makarios putsch and warned him that it could lead to a civil war. ‘Spare me the civics lecture,’ replied Kissinger, who as you can readily see had an aphorism for all occasions. 4. Kurdistan. Having endorsed the covert policy of supporting a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq between 1974 and 1975, with ‘deniable’ assistance also provided by Israel and the Shah of Iran, Kissinger made it plain to his subordinates that the Kurds were not to be allowed to win, but were to be employed for their nuisance value alone. They were not to be told that this was the case, but soon found out when the Shah and Saddam Hussein composed their differences, and American aid to Kurdistan was cut off. Hardened CIA hands went to Kissinger ... for an aid programme for the many thousands of Kurdish refugees who were thus abruptly created.... The apercu of the day was: ‘foreign policy should not he confused with missionary work.’ Saddam Hussein heartily concurred. 5. East Timor. The day after Kissinger left Djakarta in 1975, the Armed Forces of Indonesia employed American weapons to invade and subjugate the independent former Portuguese colony of East Timor. Isaacson gives a figure of 100,000 deaths resulting from the occupation, or one-seventh of the population, and there are good judges who put this estimate on the low side. Kissinger was furious when news of his own collusion was leaked, because as well as breaking international law the Indonesians were also violating an agreement with the United States.... Monroe Leigh ... pointed out this awkward latter fact. Kissinger snapped: ‘The Israelis when they go into Lebanon—when was the last time we protested that?’ A good question, even if it did not and does not lie especially well in his mouth. It goes on and on and on until one cannot eat enough to vomit enough.
Christopher Hitchens
Today, the United States of America is by all appearances an Israeli-occupied state. The U.S. Congress dutifully authorizes the annual payment of an immense tribute to Israel, some three thousand million dollars a year. Like a subservient colony, the United States provides hundreds of thousands of young men and women to fight and die as mercenaries in Zionist-planned wars in the Middle East.
Christopher Lee Bollyn (Solving 9-11: The Deception That Changed the World)
Modern war is distinguished by the fact that all the participants are ostensibly unwilling. We are swept towards one another like colonies of heavily armed penguins on an ice floe. Every speech on the subject given by any involved party begins by deploring even the idea of war. A war here would not be legal or useful. It is not necessary or appropriate. It must be avoided. Immediately following this proud declamation comes a series of circumlocutions, circumventions and rhetoricocircumambulations which make it clear that we will go to war, but not really, because we don’t want to and aren’t allowed to, so what we’re doing is in fact some kind of hyper-violent peace in which people will die. We are going to un-war.
Nick Harkaway (The Gone-Away World)
The Zionists’ colonial enterprise, aimed at taking over the country, necessarily had to produce resistance. “If you wish to colonize a land in which people are already living,” Jabotinsky wrote in 1925, “you must find a garrison for the land, or find a benefactor who will provide a garrison on your behalf.… Zionism is a colonizing venture and, therefore, it stands or falls on the question of armed forces.”81 At least initially, only the armed forces provided by Britain could overcome the natural resistance of those being colonized.
Rashid Khalidi (The Hundred Years' War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017)
How do you think that the great fortunes and colonies have been made? By theft, war, and conquest.” “Then morality does not exist?” “No,” Dr. Marcel Andre Henri Felix Petiot answered, “it is the law of the jungle, always. Morality has been created for those who possess so that you do not retake the things gained from their own rapines.
David King (Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris)
In the United States the legacy of settler colonialism can be seen in the endless wars of aggression and occupations; the trillions spent on war machinery, military bases, and personnel instead of social services and quality public education; the gross profits of corporations, each of which has greater resources and funds than more than half the countries in the world yet pay minimal taxes and provide few jobs for US citizens; the repression of generation after generation of activists who seek to change the system; the incarceration of the poor, particularly descendants of enslaved Africans; the individualism, carefully inculcated, that on the one hand produces self-blame for personal failure and on the other exalts ruthless dog-eat-dog competition for possible success, even though it rarely results; and high rates of suicide, drug abuse, alcoholism, sexual violence against women and children, homelessness, dropping out of school, and gun violence.
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (ReVisioning American History, #3))
In 1970, the prison system in this country was perhaps one-tenth the size of what it is today. Many people attribute this immense growth to the war on drugs. But even more than that, the expansion of the prison system reflects a war being waged against people of color, against Black-Brown-Indigenous bodies—the very same colonial war brought to us by Columbus and the conquistadores. These European “civilizers” treated Black and Brown people as if their lives were worth nothing. In many parts of the country, the designated value of our lives continues to be zero.
Maya Schenwar (Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?: Police Violence and Resistance in the United States)
Not one of our political spokespeople—the same is true of the Arabs since Abdel Nasser’s time—ever speaks with self-respect and dignity of what we are, what we want, what we have done, and where we want to go. In the 1956 Suez War, the French colonial war against Algeria, the Israeli wars of occupation and dispossession, and the campaign against Iraq, a war whose stated purpose was to topple a specific regime but whose real goal was the devastation of the most powerful Arab country. And just as the French, British, Israeli, and American campaign against Gamal Abdel Nasser was designed to bring down a force that openly stated as its ambition the unification of the Arabs into a very powerful independent political force.
Edward W. Said (From Oslo to Iraq and the Road Map: Essays)
Having confronted the world with little except a battered typewriter and a certain resilience, he can now take posthumous credit for having got the three great questions of the 20th century essentially 'right.' Orwell was an early and consistent foe of European imperialism, and foresaw the end of colonial rule. He was one of the first to volunteer to bear arms against fascism and Nazism in Spain. And, while he was soldiering in Catalonia, he saw through the biggest and most seductive lie of them all—the false promise of a radiant future offered by the intellectual underlings of Stalinism.
Christopher Hitchens
The corpses in the wasteland of past and present haunt us. We are still in Eliot's land of the dead, imprisoned in Kafka's penal colony, running from the unexplained rage of the golem, listening to Lovecraft's drumbeat of horror, and shivering in the chilly shadow of Grau and Murnau's Nosferatu. We cannot awaken from history.
W. Scott Poole
We are laying the foundation for some new, monstrous civilization. Only now do I realize what price was paid for building the ancient civilizations. The Egyptian pyramids, the temples and Greek statues—what a hideous crime they were! How much blood must have poured on to the Roman roads, the bulwarks, and the city walls. Antiquity—the tremendous concentration camp where the slave was branded on the forehead by his master, and crucified for trying to escape! Antiquity—the conspiracy of the free men against the slaves! .... If the Germans win the war, what will the world know about us? They will erect huge buildings, highways, factories, soaring monuments. Our hands will be placed under every brick, and our backs will carry the steel rails and the slabs of concrete. They will kill off our families, our sick, our aged. They will murder our children. And we shall be forgotten, drowned out by the voices of the poets, the jurists, the philosophers, the priests. They will produce their own beauty, virtue, and truth. They will produce religion.
Tadeusz Borowski (This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen)
Call no man lucky until he is dead, but there have been moment of rare satisfaction in the often random and fragmented life of the radical freelance scribbler. I have lived to see Ronald Reagan called “a useful idiot for Kremlin propaganda” by his former idolators; to see the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union regarded with fear and suspicion by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (which blacked out an interview with Miloš Forman broadcast live on Moscow TV); to see Mao Zedong relegated like a despot of antiquity. I have also had the extraordinary pleasure of revisiting countries—Greece, Spain, Zimbabwe, and others—that were dictatorships or colonies when first I saw them. Other mini-Reichs have melted like dew, often bringing exiled and imprisoned friends blinking modestly and honorably into the glare. E pur si muove—it still moves, all right.
Christopher Hitchens (Prepared for the Worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports)
Women have been so thoroughly oppressed that they have accepted unconsciously the role that the ruling sex, man, gave to them. They have even believed in male propaganda, which is very much the same as the propaganda in other wars, wars against colonial people, etc. Women have been considered to be naive: Freud said that they were narcissistic, unrealistic, cowardly, inferior to man anatomically, intellectually, morally. The fact is that women are less narcissistic than men, for the simple reason that there is almost nothing that man does which has not some purpose of making an impression. Women do many, many things without this motive and in fact what you might call women's vanity is only the necessity to please the victors. As far as the lack of realism in women is concerned, what should we say about male realism in an epoch in which all western governments, consisting of men, are spending their money building atomic bombs, instead of taking care of threatening famine, instead of avoiding the catastrophes which threaten the whole world...
Erich Fromm
The fact that political efforts of dissent and critique are often labeled as “violent” by the very state authorities that are threatened by those efforts is not a reason to despair of language use. It means only that we have to expand and refine the political vocabulary for thinking about violence and the resistance to violence, taking account of how that vocabulary is twisted and used to shield violent authorities against critique and opposition. When the critique of continuing colonial violence is deemed violent (Palestine), when a petition for peace is recast as an act of war (Turkey), when struggles for equality and freedom are construed as violent threats to state security (Black Lives Matter), or when “gender” is portrayed as a nuclear arsenal directed against the family (anti-gender ideology), then we are operating in the midst of politically consequential forms of phantasmagoria.
Judith Butler (The Force of Nonviolence: An Ethico-Political Bind)
For hundreds of years, more than half of the face of this earth has been controlled by European countries and turned in to colonies, and the Europeans have sucked up whatever they could find, brought it all home, and made themselves rich. But not Germany and Japan; they didn’t get anything. But now they have just as much power as any other developed country, and so they are demanding their share. That is the origin of this war, a war between greedy nations.
Eka Kurniawan
Imperialism will not last long because it always does evil things. It persists in grooming and supporting reactionaries in all countries who are against the people, it has forcibly seized many colonies and semi-colonies and many military bases, and it threatens the peace with atomic war. Thus, forced by imperialism to do so, more than 90 per cent of the people of the world are rising or will rise in struggle against it. Yet, imperialism is still alive, still running amuck in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In the West imperialism is still oppressing the people at home. This situation must change. It is the task of the people of the whole world to put an end to the aggression and oppression perpetrated by imperialism, and chiefly by U.S. imperialism.
Mao Zedong (Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung 毛主席语录: The Little Red Book)
I have often inquired of myself what great principle or idea it was that kept this confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the colonies from the mother land, but that something in the Declaration giving liberty, not alone to the people of this land, but hope to the world for all future time. It was that which gave promise that in due time the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance.
Shelby Foote (The Civil War, Vol. 1: Fort Sumter to Perryville)
Today everyone on our side knows that criminality is not the result of the Algerian's congenital nature nor the configuration of his nervous system. The war in Algeria and wars of national liberation bring out the true protagonists. We have demonstrated that in the colonial situation the colonized are confronted with themselves. They tend to use each other as a screen. Each prevents his neighbor from seeing the national enemy. And when exhausted after a sixteen-hour day of hard work the colonized subject collapses on his mat and a child on the other side of the canvas partition cries and prevents him from sleeping, it just so happens it's a little Algerian. When he goes to beg for a little semolina or a little oil from the shopkeeper to whom he already owes several hundred francs and his request is turned down, he is overwhelmed by an intense hatred and desire to kill—and the shopkeeper happens to be an Algerian. When, after weeks of keeping a low profile, he finds himself cornered one day by the kaid demanding "his taxes," he is not even allowed the opportunity to direct his hatred against the European administrator; before him stands the kaid who excites his hatred—and he happens to be an Algerian.
Frantz Fanon (The Wretched of the Earth)
They didn’t know the first thing about Diem’s tyranny, or the nature of Vietnamese nationalism, or the long colonialism of the French—this was all too damned complicated, it required some reading—but no matter, it was a war to stop the Communists, plain and simple, which was how they liked things, and you were a treasonous pussy if you had second thoughts about killing or dying for plain and simple reasons. I
Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried)
The moment that the topic of the pre-European African past is raised, many individuals are concerned for various reasons to know about the existence of African “civilizations.” Mainly, this stems from a desire to make comparisons with European “civilizations.” This is not the context in which to evaluate the so-called civilizations of Europe. It is enough to note the behavior of European capitalists from the epoch of slavery through colonialism, fascism, and genocidal wars in Asia and Africa. Such barbarism causes suspicion to attach to the use of the word “civilization” to describe Western Europe and North America.
Walter Rodney (How Europe Underdeveloped Africa)
Meanwhile the party opposed to the traitors proved numerous enough to prevent the gates being immediately thrown open, and in concert with Eucles, the general, who had come from Athens to defend the place, sent to the other commander in Thrace, Thucydides, son of Olorus, the author of this history, who was at the isle of Thasos, a Parian colony, half a day's sail from Amphipolis, to tell him to come to their relief.
Thucydides (History of the Peloponnesian War)
New England farmers did not think of war as a game, or a feudal ritual, or an instrument of state power, or a bloodsport for bored country gentlemen. They did not regard the pursuit of arms as a noble profession. In 1775, many men of Massachusetts had been to war. They knew its horrors from personal experience. With a few exceptions, they thought of fighting as a dirty business that had to be done from time to time if good men were to survive in a world of evil. The New England colonies were among the first states in the world to recognize the right of conscientous objection to military service, and among the few to respect that right even in moments of mortal peril. But most New Englanders were not pacifists themselves. Once committed to what they regarded as a just and necessary war, these sons of Puritans hardened their hearts and became the most implacable of foes. Their many enemies who lived by a warrior-ethic always underestimated them, as a long parade of Indian braves, French aristocrats, British Regulars, Southern planters, German fascists, Japanese militarists, Marxist ideologues, and Arab adventurers have invariably discovered to their heavy cost.
David Hackett Fischer (Paul Revere's Ride)
The U.S. imperialists supply armaments to their henchmen to massacre the Indochinese peoples. They dump their goods in Indochina to prevent the development of local handicrafts. Their pornographic culture depraves the youth in areas placed under their control. They follow the policy of buying up, deluding and dividing our people. They strive to turn some bad elements into U.S. agents that they use for the conquest of our country.
Hồ Chí Minh (Against US Aggression For National Salvation)
How could a large land empire thrive and dominate in the modern world without reliable access to world markets and without much recourse to naval power? Stalin and Hitler had arrived at the same basic answer to this fundamental question. The state must be large in territory and self-sufficient in economics, with a balance between industry and agriculture that supported a hardily conformist and ideologically motivated citizenry capable of fulfilling historical prophecies - either Stalinist internal industrialization or Nazi colonial agrarianism. Both Hitler and Stalin aimed at imperial autarky, within a large land empire well supplies in food, raw materials, and mineral resources. Both understood the flash appeal of modern materials: Stalin had named himself after steel, and Hitler paid special attention to is production. Yet both Stalin and Hitler understood agriculture as a key element in the completion of their revolutions. Both believed that their systems would prove their superiority to decadent capitalism, and guarantee independence from the rest of the world, by the production of food. p. 158
Timothy Snyder (Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin)
Years later Nixon aide John Ehrlichman seemed to offer up a smoking gun when he told a reporter: The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.
Chris Hayes (A Colony in a Nation)
Stop calling it war, for war implies faults on both sides. It's an invasion, where the state of Russia is the aggressor and the people of Ukraine are the victim. And stop saying that your prayers are with the Ukrainian people, for prayers may give you comfort, but it does nothing to alleviate their suffering. Shred all hypocritical advocacy of human rights and be involved in a meaningful way that actually helps the victims of Russian imperialism.
Abhijit Naskar
Perhaps the main reason America cannot 'get over' its war with Viet Nam is that Americans cannot fit what happened into its earlier myth of itself—that we had always been 'the good guys,' conquering injustice around the world. The tens of thousands of mistreated half-American children born in Viet Nam are one untidy fact we have been unable to fit into that myth.
Trin Yarborough (Surviving Twice: Amerasian Children of the Vietnam War)
Lincoln too considered secession the “essence of anarchy.” He branded state sovereignty a “sophism.” “The Union is older than any of the States,” Lincoln asserted, “and, in fact, it created them as States.” The Declaration of Independence transformed the “United Colonies” into the United States; without this union then, there would never have been any “free and independent States.
James M. McPherson (Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era)
The messages coming back flooded the comm buffers with rage and sorrow, threats of vengeance and offers of aid. Those last were the hardest. New colonies still trying to force their way into local ecosystems so exotic that their bodies could hardly recognize them as life at all, isolated, exhausted, sometimes at the edge of their resources. And what they wanted was to send back help. He listened to their voices, saw the distress in their eyes. He couldn't help, but love them a little bit. Under the best conditions, disasters and plagues did that. It wasn't universally true. There would always be hoarders and price gouging, people who closed their doors to refugees and left them freezing and starving. But the impulse to help was there too. To carry a burden together, even if it meant having less for yourself. Humanity had come as far as it had in a haze of war, sickness, violence, and genocide. History was drenched in blood. But it also had cooperation and kindness, generosity, intermarriage. The one didn’t come without the other.
James S.A. Corey (Babylon's Ashes (The Expanse, #6))
Then a strange thing happened. A US Senator named Millard Tydings finally introduced a bill that would give Puerto Ricans their independence. Every politician on the island supported it—except Luis. Throughout the 1940s, he repeatedly opposed the Tydings independence bill. He even traveled to Washington in 1943 and 1945 to lobby against it, saying that Puerto Rico “was not ready for self-government.”54
Nelson A. Denis (War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America's Colony)
A Far Cry From Africa A wind is ruffling the tawny pelt Of Africa. Kikuyu, quick as flies, Batten upon the bloodstreams of the veldt. Corpses are scattered through a paradise. Only the worm, colonel of carrion, cries: “Waste no compassion on these separate dead!” Statistics justify and scholars seize The salients of colonial policy. What is that to the white child hacked in bed? To savages, expendable as Jews? Threshed out by beaters, the long rushes break In a white dust of ibises whose cries Have wheeled since civilization’s dawn From the parched river or beast-teeming plain. The violence of beast on beast is read As natural law, but upright man Seeks his divinity by inflicting pain. Delirious as these worried beasts, his wars Dance to the tightened carcass of a drum, While he calls courage still that native dread Of the white peace contracted by the dead. Again brutish necessity wipes its hands Upon the napkin of a dirty cause, again A waste of our compassion, as with Spain, The gorilla wrestles with the superman. I who am poisoned with the blood of both, Where shall I turn, divided to the vein? I who have cursed The drunken officer of British rule, how choose Between this Africa and the English tongue I love? Betray them both, or give back what they give? How can I face such slaughter and be cool? How can I turn from Africa and live?
Derek Walcott
Even in former days, Korea was known as the 'hermit kingdom' for its stubborn resistance to outsiders. And if you wanted to create a totally isolated and hermetic society, northern Korea in the years after the 1953 'armistice' would have been the place to start. It was bounded on two sides by the sea, and to the south by the impregnable and uncrossable DMZ, which divided it from South Korea. Its northern frontier consisted of a long stretch of China and a short stretch of Siberia; in other words its only contiguous neighbors were Mao and Stalin. (The next-nearest neighbor was Japan, historic enemy of the Koreans and the cruel colonial occupier until 1945.) Add to that the fact that almost every work of man had been reduced to shards by the Korean War. Air-force general Curtis LeMay later boasted that 'we burned down every town in North Korea,' and that he grounded his bombers only when there were no more targets to hit anywhere north of the 38th parallel. Pyongyang was an ashen moonscape. It was Year Zero. Kim Il Sung could create a laboratory, with controlled conditions, where he alone would be the engineer of the human soul.
Christopher Hitchens (Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays)
That year, and every year, it seemed, we began by studying the Revolutionary War. We were taken in school buses on field trips to visit Plymouth Rock, and to walk the Freedom Trail, and to climb to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument. We made dioramas out of colored construction paper depicting George Washington crossing the choppy waters of the Delaware River, and we made puppets of King George wearing white tights and a black bow in his hair. During tests we were given blank maps of the thirteen colonies, and asked to fill in names, dates, capitals. I could do it with my eyes closed.
Jhumpa Lahiri (Interpreter of Maladies)
Because it is a systematic negation of the other person and a furious determination to deny the other person all attributes of humanity, colonialism forces the people it dominates to ask themselves the question constantly: "In reality, who am I?" The defensive attitudes created by this violent bringing together of the colonised man and the colonial system form themselves into a structures which then reveals the colonised personality. This 'sensitivity' is easily understood if we simply study and are alive to the number and depth of the injuries inflicted upon a native during a single day spent amidst the colonial regime. It must in any case be remembered that a colonised people is not only simply a dominated people. Under the German occupation the French remained men; under the French occupation, the Germans remained men. In Algeria there is not simply the domination but the decision to the letter not to occupy anything more than the sum total of the land.
Frantz Fanon (The Wretched of the Earth)
Wait,” I said. “I forgot something.” I walked over to my old body again, still in the crèche. I looked over to Dr. Russell and pointed to the door. “I need to unlock this,” I said. Dr. Russell nodded. I unlocked it, opened it, and took my old body’s left hand. On the ring finger was a simple gold band. I slipped it off and slipped it on my ring finger. Then I cupped my old face with my new hands. “Thank you,” I said to me. “Thank you for everything.” Then I went out with the Colonials.
John Scalzi (Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1))
But when we watch the ants round their ruined heap, the tenacity, energy, and immense number of the delving insects prove that despite the destruction of the heap, something indestructible, which though intangible is the real strength of the colony, still exists; and similarly, though in Moscow in the month of October there was no government and no churches, shrines, riches, or houses—it was still the Moscow it had been in August. All was destroyed, except something intangible yet powerful and indestructible.
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)
I am leaving this tower and returning home. When I speak with family, and comments are always the same, 'Won't you be glad to get back to the real world?' This is my question after two weeks of time, only two weeks, spent with prairie dogs, 'What is real?' What is real? These prairie dogs and the lives they live and have adapted to in grassland communities over time, deep time? What is real? A gravel pit adjacent to one of the last remaining protected prairie dog colonies in the world? A corral where cowboys in an honest day's work saddle up horses with prairie dogs under hoof for visitors to ride in Bryce Canyon National Park? What is real? Two planes slamming into the World Trade Center and the wake of fear that has never stopped in this endless war of terror? What is real? Forgiveness or revenge and the mounting deaths of thousands of human beings as America wages war in Afghanistan and Iraq? What is real? Steve's recurrence of lymphoma? A closet full of shoes? Making love? Making money? Making right with the world with the smallest of unseen gestures? How do we wish to live And with whom? What is real to me are these prairie dogs facing the sun each morning and evening in the midst of man-made chaos. What is real to me are the consequences of cruelty. What is real to me are the concentric circles of compassion and its capacity to bring about change. What is real to me is the power of our awareness when we are focused on something beyond ourselves. It is a shaft of light shining in a dark corner. Our ability to shift our perceptions and seek creative alternatives to the conundrums of modernity is in direct proportion to our empathy. Can we imagine, witness, and ultimately feel the suffering of another.
Terry Tempest Williams
In 1546 a band of weevils were tried for damaging church vineyards in St Julien. Such trials were rife in the sixteenth century, and the distinguished French lawyer Bartholomew Chassenée rose to fame as an advocate for animals. His work is commemorated in Julian Barnes's mischievous short story 'The Wars of Religion', in which excommunication is sought for a colony of woodworm which had gnawed away the supporting legs of the Bishop of Besançon's throne, causing him to be 'hurled against his will into a state of imbecility'.
Richard Mabey (Weeds: How Vagabond Plants Gatecrashed Civilisation and Changed the Way We Think About Nature)
The machine gun, developed in 1885 by the British inventor Hiram Maxim, fired 500 rounds per minute, and had its first large-scale application during the two Matabele Wars. With less than 2000 men, Rhodes’s army was able to crush the resistance, killing a total of 60,000 Ndebele during the two wars. The British, on the other hand, lost only about 500 men, most of whom were local mercenaries. The extreme asymmetry is reminiscent of the Conquista massacres or the Battle of Frankenhausen during the German Peasant War. In each case, the insurgents were powerless against the new weapons of the metallurgical complex. The term Matabele “War” is a euphemism for a genocide that belongs to a long dark line of many forgotten, repressed and covered-up genocides in Africa, including the Herero genocide perpetrated in German Southwest Africa (present-day Namibia) by German colonial rulers. Thanks to South African copper, the people in London and other European capitals, who had never or only cursorily been informed about these events, enjoyed their newly installed electric lights.
Fabian Scheidler (The End of the Megamachine)
March 1774 by declaring the port of Boston closed until the East India Company had been compensated for its losses. This was the first of the so-called Coercive Acts—a series of laws passed in 1774 in which the British attempted to assert their authority over the colonies but instead succeeded only in enraging the colonists further and ultimately prompted the outbreak of the Revolutionary War in 1775. It is tempting to wonder whether a government less influenced by the interests of the company might have simply shrugged off the tea parties or come to some compromise with the colonists.
Tom Standage
During the Pequot War, Connecticut and Massachusetts colonial officials had offered bounties initially for the heads of murdered Indigenous people and later for only their scalps, which were more portable in large numbers. But scalp hunting became routine only in the mid-1670s, following an incident on the northern frontier of the Massachusetts colony. The practice began in earnest in 1697 when settler Hannah Dustin, having murdered ten of her Abenaki captors in a nighttime escape, presented their ten scalps to the Massachusetts General Assembly and was rewarded with bounties for two men, two women, and six children.24 Dustin soon became a folk hero among New England settlers. Scalp hunting became a lucrative commercial practice. The settler authorities had hit upon a way to encourage settlers to take off on their own or with a few others to gather scalps, at random, for the reward money. “In the process,” John Grenier points out, “they established the large-scale privatization of war within American frontier communities.”25 Although the colonial government in time raised the bounty for adult male scalps, lowered that for adult females, and eliminated that for Indigenous children under ten, the age and gender of victims were not easily distinguished by their scalps nor checked carefully. What is more, the scalp hunter could take the children captive and sell them into slavery. These practices erased any remaining distinction between Indigenous combatants and noncombatants and introduced a market for Indigenous slaves. Bounties for Indigenous scalps were honored even in absence of war. Scalps and Indigenous children became means of exchange, currency, and this development may even have created a black market. Scalp hunting was not only a profitable privatized enterprise but also a means to eradicate or subjugate the Indigenous population of the Anglo-American Atlantic seaboard.26 The settlers gave a name to the mutilated and bloody corpses they left in the wake of scalp-hunts: redskins.
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (ReVisioning American History, #3))
Crazy Horse was a new kind of leader to emerge after the Civil War, at the beginning of the army’s wars of annihilation in the northern plains and the Southwest. Born in 1842 in the shadow of the sacred Paha Sapa (Black Hills), he was considered special, a quiet and brooding child. Already the effects of colonialism were present among his people, particularly alcoholism and missionary influence. Crazy Horse became a part of the Akicita, a traditional Sioux society that kept order in villages and during migrations. It also had authority to make certain that the hereditary chiefs were doing their duty and dealt harshly with those who did not.
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (ReVisioning American History, #3))
I wanted to throw up. But I would have had to get out of bed to run to the bathroom. And I felt like I never wanted to leave that bed again. I love animals. I've been raised all my life around them. I love nature. But what did I really know about it? I have been more animals than many people ever see in a lifetime. I have flown with the wings of an osprey. I've raced through the ocean in the body of a dolphin. I've seen the world through the eyes of an owl at night, and smelled the wind with all the keen senses of a wolf. I've flown upside down and backward in the body of a fly. Sometimes I go out into the far fields at night and become a horse and run through the grass. And everything I've been, every animal, is either killer or killed. In a million, million battles all around the world, on every continent, in every square inch of space, there was killing. From the great cats in Africa that cold-bloodedly search out the young and weak gazelles, to the terrible wars that are fought out in anthills and termite colonies. All of nature was at war. And, at the top of all that destruction, humans killed each other as well as other species, and now those same people have been enslaved and destroyed by the Yeerks. Nature at its finest. Cute, cuddly animals who slaughtered to live. The color of nature wasn't green. It was red. Blood-red.
K.A. Applegate (The Secret (Animorphs, #9))
Pham Nuwen spent years learning to program/explore. Programming went back to the beginning of time. It was a little like the midden out back of his father’s castle. Where the creek had worn that away, ten meters down, there were the crumpled hulks of machines—flying machines, the peasants said—from the great days of Canberra’s original colonial era. But the castle midden was clean and fresh compared to what lay within the Reprise’s local net. There were programs here that had been written five thousand years ago, before Humankind ever left Earth. The wonder of it—the horror of it, Sura said—was that unlike the useless wrecks of Canberra’s past, these programs still worked! And via a million million circuitous threads of inheritance, many of the oldest programs still ran in the bowels of the Qeng Ho system. Take the Traders’ method of timekeeping. The frame corrections were incredibly complex—and down at the very bottom of it was a little program that ran a counter. Second by second, the Qeng Ho counted from the instant that a human had first set foot on Old Earth’s moon. But if you looked at it still more closely. . .the starting instant was actually some hundred million seconds later, the 0-second of one of Humankind’s first computer operating systems. So behind all the top-level interfaces was layer under layer of support. Some of that software had been designed for wildly different situations. Every so often, the inconsistencies caused fatal accidents. Despite the romance of spaceflight, the most common accidents were simply caused by ancient, misused programs finally getting their revenge. “We should rewrite it all,” said Pham. “It’s been done,” said Sura, not looking up. She was preparing to go off-Watch, and had spent the last four days trying to root a problem out of the coldsleep automation. “It’s been tried,” corrected Bret, just back from the freezers. “But even the top levels of fleet system code are enormous. You and a thousand of your friends would have to work for a century or so to reproduce it.” Trinli grinned evilly. “And guess what—even if you did, by the time you finished, you’d have your own set of inconsistencies. And you still wouldn’t be consistent with all the applications that might be needed now and then.” Sura gave up on her debugging for the moment. “The word for all this is ‘mature programming environment.’ Basically, when hardware performance has been pushed to its final limit, and programmers have had several centuries to code, you reach a point where there is far more signicant code than can be rationalized. The best you can do is understand the overall layering, and know how to search for the oddball tool that may come in handy—take the situation I have here.” She waved at the dependency chart she had been working on. “We are low on working fluid for the coffins. Like a million other things, there was none for sale on dear old Canberra. Well, the obvious thing is to move the coffins near the aft hull, and cool by direct radiation. We don’t have the proper equipment to support this—so lately, I’ve been doing my share of archeology. It seems that five hundred years ago, a similar thing happened after an in-system war at Torma. They hacked together a temperature maintenance package that is precisely what we need.” “Almost precisely.
Vernor Vinge (A Deepness in the Sky)
In the next chapters I will deal with factors that have helped make this happen, including better leaders, a revival of African entrepreneurship, the return of the great diaspora and a hungry, innovative young population—the largest demographic of young people in the world. But I will start with what I believe has been the most important factor of all. Despite Africa’s size and the great drama of her story—colonialism, war, famine, disease, dictatorship, corruption, hundreds of billions of dollars in wasted aid—it is astonishing to me that the thing that has probably helped us more than anything else is a tiny little device that can fit in your pocket. It’s called a cell phone—and it’s been a game changer.
Ashish J. Thakkar (The Lion Awakes: Adventures in Africa's Economic Miracle)
Wars, wars, wars': reading up on the region I came across one moment when quintessential Englishness had in fact intersected with this darkling plain. In 1906 Winston Churchill, then the minister responsible for British colonies, had been honored by an invitation from Kaiser Wilhelm II to attend the annual maneuvers of the Imperial German Army, held at Breslau. The Kaiser was 'resplendent in the uniform of the White Silesian Cuirassiers' and his massed and regimented infantry... reminded one more of great Atlantic rollers than human formations. Clouds of cavalry, avalanches of field-guns and—at that time a novelty—squadrons of motor-cars (private and military) completed the array. For five hours the immense defilade continued. Yet this was only a twentieth of the armed strength of the regular German Army before mobilization. Strange to find Winston Churchill and Sylvia Plath both choosing the word 'roller,' in both its juggernaut and wavelike declensions, for that scene.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
The Whiteman told of another country beyond the sea where a powerful woman sat on a throne while men and women danced under the shadow of her authority and benevolence. She was ready to spread the shadow to cover the Agikuyu. They laughed at this eccentric man whose skin had been so scalded that the black outside had peeled off. The hot water must have gone into his head. Nevertheless, his words about a woman on the throne echoed something in the heart, deep down in their history. It was many, many years ago. Then women ruled the land of the Agikuyu. Men had no property, they were only there to serve the whims and needs of the women. Those were hard years. So they waited for women to go to war, they plotted a revolt, taking an oath of secrecy to keep them bound each to each in the common pursuit of freedom. They would sleep with all the women at once, for didn't they know the heroines would return hungry for love and relaxation? Fate did the rest; women were pregnant; the takeover met with little resistance.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (A Grain of Wheat)
Sienna gave him a solemn shrug. “Robert, speaking from a purely scientific standpoint—all logic, no heart—I can tell you without a doubt that without some kind of drastic change, the end of our species is coming. And it’s coming fast. It won’t be fire, brimstone, apocalypse, or nuclear war … it will be total collapse due to the number of people on the planet. The mathematics is indisputable.” Langdon stiffened. “I’ve studied a fair amount of biology,” she said, “and it’s quite normal for a species to go extinct simply as a result of overpopulating its environment. Picture a colony of surface algae living in a tiny pond in the forest, enjoying the pond’s perfect balance of nutrients. Unchecked, they reproduce so wildly that they quickly cover the pond’s entire surface, blotting out the sun and thereby preventing the growth of the nutrients in the pond. Having sapped everything possible from their environment, the algae quickly die and disappear without a trace.” She gave a heavy sigh. “A similar fate could easily await mankind. Far sooner and faster than any of us imagine.
Dan Brown (Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4))
Two centuries ago, the United States settled into a permanent political order, after fourteen years of violence and heated debate. Two centuries ago, France fell into ruinous disorder that ran its course for twenty-four years. In both countries there resounded much ardent talk of rights--rights natural, rights prescriptive. . . . [F]anatic ideology had begun to rage within France, so that not one of the liberties guaranteed by the Declaration of the Rights of Man could be enjoyed by France's citizens. One thinks of the words of Dostoievski: "To begin with unlimited liberty is to end with unlimited despotism." . . . In striking contrast, the twenty-two senators and fifty-nine representatives who during the summer of 1789 debated the proposed seventeen amendments to the Constitution were men of much experience in representative government, experience acquired within the governments of their several states or, before 1776, in colonial assembles and in the practice of the law. Many had served in the army during the Revolution. They decidedly were political realists, aware of how difficult it is to govern men's passions and self-interest. . . . Among most of them, the term democracy was suspect. The War of Independence had sufficed them by way of revolution. . . . The purpose of law, they knew, is to keep the peace. To that end, compromises must be made among interests and among states. Both Federalists and Anti-Federalists ranked historical experience higher than novel theory. They suffered from no itch to alter American society radically; they went for sound security. The amendments constituting what is called the Bill of Rights were not innovations, but rather restatements of principles at law long observed in Britain and in the thirteen colonies. . . . The Americans who approved the first ten amendments to their Constitution were no ideologues. Neither Voltaire nor Rousseau had any substantial following among them. Their political ideas, with few exceptions, were those of English Whigs. The typical textbook in American history used to inform us that Americans of the colonial years and the Revolutionary and Constitutional eras were ardent disciples of John Locke. This notion was the work of Charles A. Beard and Vernon L. Parrington, chiefly. It fitted well enough their liberal convictions, but . . . it has the disadvantage of being erroneous. . . . They had no set of philosophes inflicted upon them. Their morals they took, most of them, from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. Their Bill of Rights made no reference whatever to political abstractions; the Constitution itself is perfectly innocent of speculative or theoretical political arguments, so far as its text is concerned. John Dickinson, James Madison, James Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, George Mason, and other thoughtful delegates to the Convention in 1787 knew something of political theory, but they did not put political abstractions into the text of the Constitution. . . . Probably most members of the First Congress, being Christian communicants of one persuasion or another, would have been dubious about the doctrine that every man should freely indulge himself in whatever is not specifically prohibited by positive law and that the state should restrain only those actions patently "hurtful to society." Nor did Congress then find it necessary or desirable to justify civil liberties by an appeal to a rather vague concept of natural law . . . . Two centuries later, the provisions of the Bill of Rights endure--if sometimes strangely interpreted. Americans have known liberty under law, ordered liberty, for more than two centuries, while states that have embraced the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, with its pompous abstractions, have paid the penalty in blood.
Russell Kirk (Rights and Duties: Reflections on Our Conservative Constitution)
During the forty-five months of World War II, the United States lost just under 1 percent of its adult male population; during the Civil War the casualty rate was somewhere between 4 and 5 percent; during the fourteen months of King Philip’s War, Plymouth Colony lost close to 8 percent of its men. But the English losses appear almost inconsequential when compared to those of the Indians. Of a total Native population of approximately 20,000, at least 2,000 had been killed in battle or died of their injuries; 3,000 had died of sickness and starvation, 1,000 had been shipped out of the country as slaves, while an estimated 2,000 eventually fled to either the Iroquois to the west or the Abenakis to the north. Overall, the Native American population of southern New England had sustained a loss of somewhere between 60 and 80 percent.
Nathaniel Philbrick (Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War)
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Peridots and periwinkle blue medallions Gilded galleons spilled across the ocean floor Treasure somewhere in the sea and he will find where Never mind the questions there's no answer for The roll of the harbor wake The songs that the rigging makes The taste of the spray he takes And he learns to give He aches and he learns to live He stakes all his silver On a promise to be free Mermaids live in colonies All his sea dreams come to me City satins left at home I will not need them I believe him when he tells of loving me Something truthful in the sea all lies will find you Leave behind your streets he said and come to me Come down from the neon lights Come down from the tourist sights Run down till the rain delights You do not hide Sunlight will renew your pride Skin white by skin golden Like a promise to be free Dolphins playing in the sea All his sea dreams come to me Seabird I have seen you fly above the pilings I am smiling at your circles in the air I will come and sit by you while he lies sleeping Fold your fleet wings I have brought some dreams to share A dream that you love someone A dream that the wars are done A dream that you tell no one but the gray sea They'll say that you're crazy And a dream of a baby Like a promise to be free Children laughing out to sea All his sea dreams come to me
Joni Mitchell
I am always amused by those couples- lovers and spouses- who perform and ask others to perform musical chairs whenever they, by random seat selection, are separated from each other. 'Can you switch seats with me?' A woman asked me. 'So I can sit with my husband?' She wanted me, a big man, who always books early, and will gratefully pay extra for the exit row, to trade my aisle seat for her middle seat. By asking me to change my location for hers, the woman is actually saying to me: 'Dear stranger, dear Sir, my comfort is more important than yours. Dear solitary traveler, my love and fear- as contained within my marriage- are larger than yours.' O, the insult! O, the condescension! And this is not an isolated incident. I've been asked to trade seats twenty or thirty times over the years. How dare you! How dare you ask me to change my life for you! How imperial! How colonial! But, ah, here is the strange truth: whenever I'm asked to trade seats for somebody else's love, I do, I always do.
Sherman Alexie (War Dances)
The gathering of information to control people is fundamental to any ruling power. As resistance to land acquisition and the new economic policies spreads across India, in the shadow of outright war in Central India, as a containment technique, India’s government has embarked on a massive biometrics program, perhaps one of the most ambitious and expensive information gathering projects in the world—the Unique Identification Number (UID). People don’t have clean drinking water, or toilets, or food, or money, but they will have election cards and UID numbers. Is it a coincidence that the UID project run by Nandan Nilekani, former CEO of Infosys, ostensibly meant to “deliver services to the poor,” will inject massive amounts of money into a slightly beleaguered IT industry?50 To digitize a country with such a large population of the illegitimate and “illegible”—people who are for the most part slum dwellers, hawkers, Adivasis without land records—will criminalize them, turning them from illegitimate to illegal. The idea is to pull off a digital version of the Enclosure of the Commons and put huge powers into the hands of an increasingly hardening police state. Nilekani’s technocratic obsession with gathering data is consistent with Bill Gates’s obsession with digital databases, numerical targets, and “scorecards of progress” as though it were a lack of information that is the cause of world hunger, and not colonialism, debt, and skewed profit-oriented corporate policy.51
Arundhati Roy (Capitalism: A Ghost Story)
The Pilgrims had come to America not to conquer a continent but to re-create their modest communities in Scrooby and in Leiden. When they arrived at Plymouth in December 1620 and found it emptied of people, it seemed as if God had given them exactly what they were looking for. But as they quickly discovered during that first terrifying fall and winter, New England was far from uninhabited. There were still plenty of Native people, and to ignore or anger them was to risk annihilation. The Pilgrims’ religious beliefs played a dominant role in the decades ahead, but it was their deepening relationship with the Indians that turned them into Americans. By forcing the English to improvise, the Indians prevented Plymouth Colony from ossifying into a monolithic cult of religious extremism. For their part, the Indians were profoundly influenced by the English and quickly created a new and dynamic culture full of Native and Western influences. For a nation that has come to recognize that one of its greatest strengths is its diversity, the first fifty years of Plymouth Colony stand as a model of what America might have been from the very beginning.
Nathaniel Philbrick (Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War)
So the history of the modern state can also be read as the history of race, bringing together the stories of two kinds of victims of European political modernity: the internal victims of state building and the external victims of imperial expansion. Hannah Arendt noted this in her monumental study on the Holocaust, which stands apart for one reason: rather than talk about the uniqueness of the Holocaust, Arendt sited it in the imperial history of genocide. The history she sketched was that of European settlers killing off native populations. Arendt understood the history of imperialism through the workings of racism and bureaucracy, institutions forged in the course of European expansion into the non-European world: “Of the two main political devices of imperialist rule, race was discovered in South Africa, and bureaucracy in Algeria, Egypt and India.” Hannah Arendt’s blind spot was the New World. Both racism and genocide had occurred in the American colonies earlier than in South Africa. The near decimation of Native Americans through a combination of slaughter, disease, and dislocation was, after all, the first recorded genocide in modern history.
Mahmood Mamdani (Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror)
The most important lesson to take from all this is that there is no way to confront the climate crisis as a technocratic problem, in isolation. It must be seen in the context of austerity and privatization, of colonialism and militarism, and of the various systems of othering needed to sustain them all. The connections and intersections between them are glaring, and yet so often, resistance to them is highly compartmentalized. The anti-austerity people rarely talk about climate change; the climate change people rarely talk about war or occupation. Too many of us fail to make the connection between the guns that take black lives on the streets of US cities and in police custody and the much larger forces that annihilate so many black lives on arid land and in precarious boats around the world. Overcoming these disconnections, strengthening the threads tying together our various issues and movements, is, I would argue, the most pressing task of anyone concerned with social and economic justice. It is the only way to build a counterpower sufficiently robust to win against the forces protecting the highly profitable but increasingly untenable status quo.
Naomi Klein (On Fire: The Case for the Green New Deal)
And even in the open air the stench of whiskey was appalling. To this fiendish poison, I am certain, the greater part of the squalor I saw is due. Many of these vermin were obviously not foreigners—I counted at least five American countenances in which a certain vanished decency half showed through the red whiskey bloating. Then I reflected upon the power of wine, and marveled how self-respecting persons can imbibe such stuff, or permit it to be served upon their tables. It is the deadliest enemy with which humanity is faced. Not all the European wars could produce a tenth of the havock occasioned among men by the wretched fluid which responsible governments allow to be sold openly. Looking upon that mob of sodden brutes, my mind’s eye pictured a scene of different kind; a table bedecked with spotless linen and glistening silver, surrounded by gentlemen immaculate in evening attire—and in the reddening faces of those gentlemen I could trace the same lines which appeared in full development of the beasts of the crowd. Truly, the effects of liquor are universal, and the shamelessness of man unbounded. How can reform be wrought in the crowd, when supposedly respectable boards groan beneath the goblets of rare old vintages? Is mankind asleep, that its enemy is thus entertained as a bosom friend? But a week or two ago, at a parade held in honour of the returning Rhode Island National Guard, the Chief Executive of this State, Mr. Robert Livingston Beeckman, prominent in New York, Newport, and Providence society, appeared in such an intoxicated condition that he could scarce guide his mount, or retain his seat in the saddle, and he the guardian of the liberties and interests of that Colony carved by the faith, hope, and labour of Roger Williams from the wilderness of savage New-England! I am perhaps an extremist on the subject of prohibition, but I can see no justification whatsoever for the tolerance of such a degrading demon as drink.
H.P. Lovecraft (Lord of a Visible World: An Autobiography in Letters)
The “Muslim speech,” as we took to calling the second major address, was trickier. Beyond the negative portrayals of terrorists and oil sheikhs found on news broadcasts or in the movies, most Americans knew little about Islam. Meanwhile, surveys showed that Muslims around the world believed the United States was hostile toward their religion, and that our Middle East policy was based not on an interest in improving people’s lives but rather on maintaining oil supplies, killing terrorists, and protecting Israel. Given this divide, I told Ben that the focus of our speech had to be less about outlining new policies and more geared toward helping the two sides understand each other. That meant recognizing the extraordinary contributions of Islamic civilizations in the advancement of mathematics, science, and art and acknowledging the role colonialism had played in some of the Middle East’s ongoing struggles. It meant admitting past U.S. indifference toward corruption and repression in the region, and our complicity in the overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected government during the Cold War, as well as acknowledging the searing humiliations endured by Palestinians living in occupied territory. Hearing such basic history from the mouth of a U.S. president would catch many people off guard, I figured, and perhaps open their minds to other hard truths: that the Islamic fundamentalism that had come to dominate so much of the Muslim world was incompatible with the openness and tolerance that fueled modern progress; that too often Muslim leaders ginned up grievances against the West in order to distract from their own failures; that a Palestinian state would be delivered only through negotiation and compromise rather than incitements to violence and anti-Semitism; and that no society could truly succeed while systematically repressing its women. —
Barack Obama (A Promised Land)
People of color in the internal colonies of the US cannot defend themselves against police brutality or expropriate the means of survival to free themselves from economic servitude. They must wait for enough people of color who have attained more economic privilege (the “house slaves” of Malcolm X’s analysis) and conscientious white people to gather together and hold hands and sing songs. Then, they believe, change will surely come. People in Latin America must suffer patiently, like true martyrs, while white activists in the US “bear witness” and write to Congress. People in Iraq must not fight back. Only if they remain civilians will their deaths be counted and mourned by white peace activists who will, one of these days, muster a protest large enough to stop the war. Indigenous people need to wait just a little longer (say, another 500 years) under the shadow of genocide, slowly dying off on marginal lands, until-well, they’re not a priority right now, so perhaps they need to organize a demonstration or two to win the attention and sympathy of the powerful. Or maybe they could go on strike, engage in Gandhian noncooperation? But wait-a majority of them are already unemployed, noncooperating, fully excluded from the functioning of the system. Nonviolence declares that the American Indians could have fought off Columbus, George Washington, and all the other genocidal butchers with sit-ins; that Crazy Horse, by using violent resistance, became part of the cycle of violence, and was “as bad as” Custer. Nonviolence declares that Africans could have stopped the slave trade with hunger strikes and petitions, and that those who mutinied were as bad as their captors; that mutiny, a form of violence, led to more violence, and, thus, resistance led to more enslavement. Nonviolence refuses to recognize that it can only work for privileged people, who have a status protected by violence, as the perpetrators and beneficiaries of a violent hierarchy.
Peter Gelderloos (How Nonviolence Protects the State)
American Indians share a magnificent history — rich in its astounding diversity, its integrity, its spirituality, its ongoing unique culture and dynamic tradition. It's also rich, I'm saddened to say, in tragedy, deceit, and genocide. Our sovereignty, our nationhood, our very identity — along with our sacred lands — have been stolen from us in one of the great thefts of human history. And I am referring not just to the thefts of previous centuries but to the great thefts that are still being perpetrated upon us today, at this very moment. Our human rights as indigenous peoples are being violated every day of our lives — and by the very same people who loudly and sanctimoniously proclaim to other nations the moral necessity of such rights. Over the centuries our sacred lands have been repeatedly and routinely stolen from us by the governments and peoples of the United States and Canada. They callously pushed us onto remote reservations on what they thought was worthless wasteland, trying to sweep us under the rug of history. But today, that so-called wasteland has surprisingly become enormously valuable as the relentless technology of white society continues its determined assault on Mother Earth. White society would now like to terminate us as peoples and push us off our reservations so they can steal our remaining mineral and oil resources. It's nothing new for them to steal from nonwhite peoples. When the oppressors succeed with their illegal thefts and depredations, it's called colonialism. When their efforts to colonize indigenous peoples are met with resistance or anything but abject surrender, it's called war. When the colonized peoples attempt to resist their oppression and defend themselves, we're called criminals. I write this book to bring about a greater understanding of what being an Indian means, of who we are as human beings. We're not quaint curiosities or stereotypical figures in a movie, but ordinary — and, yes, at times, extraordinary — human beings. Just like you. We feel. We bleed. We are born. We die. We aren't stuffed dummies in front of a souvenir shop; we aren't sports mascots for teams like the Redskins or the Indians or the Braves or a thousand others who steal and distort and ridicule our likeness. Imagine if they called their teams the Washington Whiteskins or the Washington Blackskins! Then you'd see a protest! With all else that's been taken from us, we ask that you leave us our name, our self-respect, our sense of belonging to the great human family of which we are all part. Our voice, our collective voice, our eagle's cry, is just beginning to be heard. We call out to all of humanity. Hear us!
Leonard Peltier (Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance)
Separated from everyone, in the fifteenth dungeon, was a small man with fiery brown eyes and wet towels wrapped around his head. For several days his legs had been black, and his gums were bleeding. Fifty-nine years old and exhausted beyond measure, he paced silently up and down, always the same five steps, back and forth. One, two, three, four, five, and turn . . . an interminable shuffle between the wall and door of his cell. He had no work, no books, nothing to write on. And so he walked. One, two, three, four, five, and turn . . . His dungeon was next door to La Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion in Old San Juan, less than two hundred feet away. The governor had been his friend and had even voted for him for the Puerto Rican legislature in 1932. This didn’t help much now. The governor had ordered his arrest. One, two, three, four, five, and turn . . . Life had turned him into a pendulum; it had all been mathematically worked out. This shuttle back and forth in his cell comprised his entire universe. He had no other choice. His transformation into a living corpse suited his captors perfectly. One, two, three, four, five, and turn . . . Fourteen hours of walking: to master this art of endless movement, he’d learned to keep his head down, hands behind his back, stepping neither too fast nor too slow, every stride the same length. He’d also learned to chew tobacco and smear the nicotined saliva on his face and neck to keep the mosquitoes away. One, two, three, four, five, and turn . . . The heat was so stifling, he needed to take off his clothes, but he couldn’t. He wrapped even more towels around his head and looked up as the guard’s shadow hit the wall. He felt like an animal in a pit, watched by the hunter who had just ensnared him. One, two, three, four, five, and turn . . . Far away, he could hear the ocean breaking on the rocks of San Juan’s harbor and the screams of demented inmates as they cried and howled in the quarantine gallery. A tropical rain splashed the iron roof nearly every day. The dungeons dripped with a stifling humidity that saturated everything, and mosquitoes invaded during every rainfall. Green mold crept along the cracks of his cell, and scarab beetles marched single file, along the mold lines, and into his bathroom bucket. The murderer started screaming. The lunatic in dungeon seven had flung his own feces over the ceiling rail. It landed in dungeon five and frightened the Puerto Rico Upland gecko. The murderer, of course, was threatening to kill the lunatic. One, two, three, four, five, and turn . . . The man started walking again. It was his only world. The grass had grown thick over the grave of his youth. He was no longer a human being, no longer a man. Prison had entered him, and he had become the prison. He fought this feeling every day. One, two, three, four, five, and turn . . . He was a lawyer, journalist, chemical engineer, and president of the Nationalist Party. He was the first Puerto Rican to graduate from Harvard College and Harvard Law School and spoke six languages. He had served as a first lieutenant in World War I and led a company of two hundred men. He had served as president of the Cosmopolitan Club at Harvard and helped Éamon de Valera draft the constitution of the Free State of Ireland.5 One, two, three, four, five, and turn . . . He would spend twenty-five years in prison—many of them in this dungeon, in the belly of La Princesa. He walked back and forth for decades, with wet towels wrapped around his head. The guards all laughed, declared him insane, and called him El Rey de las Toallas. The King of the Towels. His name was Pedro Albizu Campos.
Nelson A. Denis (War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America's Colony)
The imperialist found it useful to incorporate the credible and seemingly unimpeachable wisdom of science to create a racial classification to be used in the appropriation and organization of lesser cultures. The works of Carolus Linnaeus, Georges Buffon, and Georges Cuvier, organized races in terms of a civilized us and a paradigmatic other. The other was uncivilized, barbaric, and wholly lower than the advanced races of Europe. This paradigm of imaginatively constructing a world predicated upon race was grounded in science, and expressed as philosophical axioms by John Locke and David Hume, offered compelling justification that Europe always ought to rule non-Europeans. This doctrine of cultural superiority had a direct bearing on Zionist practice and vision in Palestine. A civilized man, it was believed, could cultivate the land because it meant something to him; on it, accordingly, he produced useful arts and crafts, he created, he accomplished, he built. For uncivilized people, land was either farmed badly or it was left to rot. This was imperialism as theory and colonialism was the practice of changing the uselessly unoccupied territories of the world into useful new versions of Europe. It was this epistemic framework that shaped and informed Zionist attitudes towards the Arab Palestinian natives. This is the intellectual background that Zionism emerged from. Zionism saw Palestine through the same prism as the European did, as an empty territory paradoxically filled with ignoble or, better yet, dispensable natives. It allied itself, as Chaim Weizmann said, with the imperial powers in carrying out its plans for establishing a Jewish state in Palestine. The so-called natives did not take well to the idea of Jewish colonizers in Palestine. As the Zionist historians, Yehoshua Porath and Neville Mandel, have empirically shown, the ideas of Jewish colonizers in Palestine, this was well before World War I, were always met with resistance, not because the natives thought Jews were evil, but because most natives do not take kindly to having their territory settled by foreigners. Zionism not only accepted the unflattering and generic concepts of European culture, it also banked on the fact that Palestine was actually populated not by an advanced civilization, but by a backward people, over which it ought to be dominated. Zionism, therefore, developed with a unique consciousness of itself, but with little or nothing left over for the unfortunate natives. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if Palestine had been occupied by one of the well-established industrialized nations that ruled the world, then the problem of displacing German, French, or English inhabitants and introducing a new, nationally coherent element into the middle of their homeland would have been in the forefront of the consciousness of even the most ignorant and destitute Zionists. In short, all the constitutive energies of Zionism were premised on the excluded presence, that is, the functional absence of native people in Palestine; institutions were built deliberately shutting out the natives, laws were drafted when Israel came into being that made sure the natives would remain in their non-place, Jews in theirs, and so on. It is no wonder that today the one issue that electrifies Israel as a society is the problem of the Palestinians, whose negation is the consistent thread running through Zionism. And it is this perhaps unfortunate aspect of Zionism that ties it ineluctably to imperialism- at least so far as the Palestinian is concerned. In conclusion, I cannot affirm that Zionism is colonialism, but I can tell you the process by which Zionism flourished; the dialectic under which it became a reality was heavily influenced by the imperialist mindset of Europe. Thank you. -Fictional debate between Edward Said and Abba Eban.
R.F. Georgy (Absolution: A Palestinian Israeli Love Story)