Sunday, October 5, 2008

Imperialism isn’t dead!!

Countries are still paying for British imperialism…

Irrespective of the dimension, scale, objective and geography, most of the global conflicts have an amazing commonality. And the commonality is that they are all a manifestation of British imperial design. It is known to one and all that British colonialisation survived for many a decades. In fact this had gone into making today’s Britain, but then the footprints of the same, still haunts a large part of the world. In fact, not so lately, in November 2002, the UK Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, has attributed many political problems viz. the Arab-Israeli and the Kashmir dispute to blame Britain's imperialist past.

Religious fundamentalism is one of the gravest concerns not only for India but to the entire world. Most of it can be attributed to the manner the British handled the Partition. Even today, neither India nor Pakistan nor Bangladesh to recover from the rift that it created then. Numerous attempts have been made, but the divide had been so deep that there doesn’t seem to be any amiable solution to it. In fact, the partitions were just geographic in nature, but had created havoc in people’s mind, which has led to a religion based irrevocable identity crisis. As a net result, it is not just citizens that have suffered but the sufferings had been ubiquitous across the nations. Worst is the fact that the outcome of the same had been outrageously harmful for the mankind, wherein thousands of innocent lives have been lost and the count is still on. Moving over to Africa, the tale remains the same. The British had been advocating slave trade in the 18th century, and then in 19th century they came out with something that literally changed the African scenario - the ‘scramble for Africa’. This ‘scramble’ not only helped them in exploiting the mineral wealth but also gave birth to extensive racial discrimination. The root causes of the conflicts lie in the ‘divide and rule’ and ‘indirect rule’ that promoted mistrust, divisions, and conflict between the north and south. Conflict in Sudan was caused by the ethnic divisions thus created between 1899 and 1956. Regional and economical differences resulted in a deeply divided Sudan – an Arab-dominated north and weaker African south. The civil war thus caused by urge of exploiting mineral wealth which literally left the continent in ruins and state of utter poverty still makes headlines in international news and is biggest concern of world’s peace forums.

The dust over the pages of history will completely get removed when one studies the Arab-Palestine-Israel conflict. It is in everyone’s knowledge that Britishers pledged support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine in the Balfour Declaration in 1917, but the conflicting assurances (which were being given to both at the same time) given to Palestinians, were never honoured. The British government then further reduced the area of the Jewish state, and then between 1945 and 1948, the refusal to allow Jewish immigration to Palestine led to a progressively more bitter conflict which eventually took a shape of terrorism. This not only led to severe conflicts and distrust but also refugees problems. Moreover, borders for Iraq which was created (which was under British Empire under the mandate of the League of Nations) after the World War I resulted in conflicts that can still be felt.

The outcome of all this has been a magnified global problem. Unfortunately, on the face of it the world sees a terrorist behind every blast, but then they don’t get to see that the trigger for the same had been pressed long back in the pages of history. Who says Imperialism is dead??


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