DISCOURSE ON COLONIALISM: IS COLONIALISM USED AS AN EXCUSE FOR BAD GOVERNANCE?
“I say that between colonization and civilization there is an infinite distance; that out of all the colonial expeditions that have been undertaken, out of all the colonial statutes that have been drawn up, out of all the memoranda that have been dispatched by all the ministries, there could not come a single human value.”
Aimé Césaire, quoted from aforementioned article at bahatibooks.com
“… more than four in ten Britons view the British Empire as a good thing and colonialism as something to be proud of.” – The Independent (UK)†
There is “a collective amnesia about the levels of violence, exploitation and racism involved in many aspects of imperialism, not to mention the various atrocities and catastrophes that were perpetrated, caused or exacerbated by British colonial policies and actions”
– Dr Andrea Major, associate professor in British colonial history, University of Leeds.
“The violence of the British Empire has long been forgotten. We need to face up to this history and education is crucial if we are to do so.” – Dr Esme Cleall, lecturer in the history of the British Empire, University of Sheffield
“Today, there are still people who fondly believe that all of Africa’s problems are a legacy of colonialism — the fault of the wicked British. Those people also cling to the notion that this legacy can be expunged only by the payment of reparations in the name of “aid.” Fifty years on, we can surely think more clearly.
In virtually every case (Botswana is the sole exception), former British colonies in sub-Saharan Africa have fared worse under independence than they did under British rule. In virtually every case, as New York University’s William Easterly has pointed out, the expenditure of billions in Western aid has failed to raise their rate of economic growth.
In his forthcoming book, “The Bottom Billion,” Oxford economist Paul Collier brilliantly anatomizes the true causes of Africa’s post-colonial failure. He identifies four traps into which a depressingly large number of sub-Saharan countries have fallen since the 1950s. Some are trapped by their dependence on natural resources, such as diamonds or oil; some by being landlocked; some by recurrent civil war. But the fourth trap is the one that applies to Ghana: the trap of bad governance.
To illustrate the folly of giving aid to chronically misruled countries, Collier cites a recent survey that tracked money released by Chad’s Ministry of Finance to fund rural health clinics. Just 1% reached its intended destination. The rest was raked off by one corrupt official after another.”
NIALL FERGUSON, LA Times, March 2007