The white colonizers did one hell of a job messing up the lives of brown people all over the world. All over. Not merely colonizing and taking over the lands. That is the least of it. They successfully upended every aspect of the human condition. Language, traditions, foods, and--the biggest one of all--Christianity.
In the process, they committed horrors after horrors. Belgians, who are famous now for their chocolates despite the fact that cocoa cannot be cultivated in Belgium, killed humans by the
Under the reign of terror instituted by King Leopold II of Belgium (who ran the Congo Free State as his personal fief from 1885 to 1908), the population of the Congo was reduced by half -- as many as 8 million Africans (perhaps even 10 million, in Hochschild's opinion) lost their lives.As I often blogged, the bastard Raj even systematically and intentionally killed millions in the Subcontinent. And through the decades, the fucking Raj de-industrialized the Subcontinent and reduced it to a land of beggars. Now, it is an island that has lost any relevance in the world, and if it were not for the browns there, well, the sun would have set forever on the "empire."
Some were beaten or whipped to death for failing to meet the rigid production quotas for ivory and rubber harvests, imposed by Leopold's agents. Some were worked to death, forced to labor in slavelike conditions as porters, rubber gatherers or miners for little or no pay. Some died of the diseases introduced to (and spread throughout) the Congo by Europeans. And still others died from the increasingly frequent famines that swept the Congo basin as Leopold's army rampaged through the countryside, appropriating food and crops for its own use while destroying villages and fields.
As Mohammed Mossadegh, prime minister of Iran in the early 1950s, said about Britain: "You do not know how crafty they are. You do not know how evil they are. You do not know how they sully everything they touch." Of course, by expressing such truth, he invited trouble, which came in the form of British-American supported coup that killed him and installed the Shah of Iran. The British evil schemes continued even after colonialism had ended!
One could write for ever and ever about all the atrocities that Europeans committed in the non-white, non-Christian lands. Some of that has been explored in this NYRB essay. Compared to how many were killed by colonizers, and compared with for how long the colonized were in servitude, the Islamic terrorists of today are barely gnats.
A comment by a young Muslim man who had studied at an American university sets the tone for the impressively far-ranging Crusade and Jihad. “The bottom line,” he tells William Polk,Or, a more contemporary one, if you think those are irrelevant old stories:
is that no Muslim ever tried to enslave or slaughter your people. You might think of the attack on the World Trade Center, 9/11, as a counterattack. It was terrible and most of us are ashamed of it, but just remember—it killed about 25 hundred people whereas imperialists killed at least 25 million of our relatives and tried to destroy our way of life and our religion. Do you care about that?
under the sanctions that followed the invasion of Kuwait half a million Iraqi children are said to have died—“more than the number killed in the bombing of Hiroshima.” When asked about that figure, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price—we think the price is worth it.” Polk comments:All in a "mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam." For what?
Had such a remark been made about the deaths of children in Europe or America, it would have drawn universal condemnation; made about Iraqi children, it drew almost no attention in the American media. Nor would similar comments or similar actions against Afghan children draw condemnation. But such comments and such actions were widely reported and commented on throughout the Muslim world.It is little wonder, then, that the deaths of Iraqi children featured prominently in the propaganda of Islamist ideologues such as al-Qaeda’s Abu Musab al-Suri and in Osama bin Laden’s recruitment videos, which showed Iraqi babies wasting away from malnutrition and lack of medicine.