The Civilisation of the Savages

On June 21, 2016, in the middle of Brexit campaign, this headline appeared on the front page of the Bristol Post:

Bristol UKIP politician tells Muslim: “We don’t want you in our civilised country.”

Vice-Admiral Sir Harry Holdsworth Rawson, K.C.B. "Fresh from the Channel Fleet."
Vice-Admiral Sir Harry Holdsworth Rawson of the “1897 punitive expedition”

The dominant narrative of the Colonisation project has often been presented as a noble cause of civilizing the savages. This version of events is again being wheeled for public consumption, necessitated by rapid wearing off of former visions of greatness.

Except, the real story of colonialist’s exploits are not entirely noble and the term civilisation, rightly speaking is not a designation only applicable to the more advanced party.

The Anglo-Zulu war is often presented as an alternative singular event to counter the European civilising narrative, except, this incidence is a prototype of a widespread strategy of provocation and instigation to war with the natives.

One such similar story is that of the punitive “Benin Expedition of 1987” when an entire city was burnt and looted by an army led by Harry Rawson. Prior to the attack, Benin traded with foreigners and was known to be rich in natural resources, this became the actual reason for the invasion, rather than the story of rescuing the people from human sacrifice and slavery – which most probably did occur. Here on January 23,Prior to the attack, Benin traded with foreigners and was known to be rich in natural resources, this became the actual reason for the invasion, rather than the story of rescuing the people from human sacrifice and slavery – which most probably did occur.  Continue reading “The Civilisation of the Savages”

Equiano’s curious Argument against Slavery

Reading another one Penguin’s Little Black Classics reminds me of the role narrative plays in identity forming.

Fitzrovia MuralEquiano’s story was clearly important for the abolitionist cause. His account is intentionally emotional and that the book is titled, ‘Kidnapped’ is telling, although, it also has the alternative, original title of, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano: Or, Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself.

To call it propaganda would be somewhat disingenuous, but that Equiano was possibly born in South Carolina (rather than an Ebo Village) does force one to reexamine his claims. Although there may be possible explanations for this inconsistency, yet better still, it is not inconceivable that the narrative of the life of the kidnapped prince served the purpose of establishing rights for a man whose (birth) place could be considered historically fictional. Some will consider such an approach justified, given the liberation ends of such a narrative (especially nowadays that activists are popping up everywhere). The end does not justify the exaggerated means, this plays right into the hands of victors who had previously controlled the dominant narrative. Continue reading “Equiano’s curious Argument against Slavery”

The Meaning of Marriage

I believe marriage is not just a bond but a sacred bond between a man and a woman. EvolutionI have had occasion in my life to defend marriage, to stand up for marriage, to believe in the hard work and challenge of marriage. So I take umbrage at anyone who might suggest that those of us who worry about amending the Constitution are less committed to the sanctity of marriage, or to the fundamental bedrock principle that it exists between a man and a woman, going back into the midst of history as one of the founding, foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization, and that its primary, principal role during those millennia has been the raising and socializing of children for the society into which they are to become adults.

Hillary Clinton

No Life beyond the Sun in Ecclesiastes

Too lonely up here!Whilst watching a documentary on uncontacted tribes of the Amazon, one of the tribesmen made a comment on what they think happens to a person after death. Their view of the afterlife was that a member of their tribe upon death simply flies upwards and beyond the sky where they live on. This view of the post-mortal state of humans needed space for the white man that already flies in the sky, which they duly supplied by proposing that white men do not make it beyond the sky. A fellow Christian I was watching this with, chimed in with the verse in Ecclesiastes which has been read as meaning that most know they will live forever because God has placed this in human hearts. This view of what Ecclesiastes 3:14 means runs into all kinds of problems. Continue reading “No Life beyond the Sun in Ecclesiastes”