Posts tagged colonialism





Ghosts of Rwanda is a documentary that tells the story of what happens when humanitarian intervention does not occur even when it’s desperately needed. 

Though this Tumblr is still on hiatus, I want to take the time to reblog this and say a few things. For those of you following this Tumblr who have been calling for no intervention to take place, I highly recommend you take the time to watch this documentary, as it might give you pause — and make you incredibly angry at the same time. 

While the Rwandan incident is very different from what is occurring with Kony, what both events haven in common is a direct request from those affected for the international community to intervene in some way. This plea went largely unheard and ignored during Rwanda. 

It baffles me that in the face of such a request, by both civilian survivors of Kony’s child army, and by Ugandan lawmakers, that what seems to matter more to some people here on Tumblr is to call for no intervention as some kind of a reactionary stance against reliance against any kind of Western power.

Who are you, sitting in the comfort of your home, thousands of miles away from the conflict, to have any right to deny them their request, for the sake of fulfilling some kind of political objective that has nothing at all to do with whether or not someone lives or dies or is forced to become a child soldier or live in a state of perpetual fear that such a fate might occur? 

While criticism of the film is absolutely warranted, and much can be said about the paternalistic attitudes of IC Inc, the problematic way it is run, the fantasy it has of itself as a white savior of “Africans who cannot save themselves” — what must be considered and not forgotten is the request. The moment any Ugandan asks for the international community for help, what should occur isn’t some call to action to silence that request, but a call to action to bring it into visibility.

And while I completely find IC Inc. to be incorrigible in their depiction and narration of the Kony situation, as well as their general use of funds, I do not think their mission — which is ultimately bring Kony to justice in the eyes of the International Criminal Court — is wrong. 

What is wrong, however, is that everyone is so wrapped up in the business of this being a white organization run by white people who want to solve African problems that everyone is missing the fact that actual survivors and Ugandan lawmakers alike have requested that the international community pay attention and provide some kind of assistance. 

That is what I do not understand, and never will understand.

I will not be engaging in any discussion on this issue from here on out, as I’ve more or less said my piece and this blog will be returning to hiatus. If you disagree with me, that is your prerogative. But please watch this documentary and take the time to learn more about humanitarian intervention in Africa

Some books on the Rwandan Genocide in particular that may be of interest are listed as follows: 

Shake Hands With the Devil, Romeo Dallaire
Genocide In Rwanda: A Collective Memory, John and Carol Berry
One Hundred Days of Silence: America and the Rwanda Genocide, Jared Cohen
The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention: Genocide in Rwanda, Alan Kuperman
When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and Genocide in Rwanda, Mahmood Mamdani 

Other relevant books include:
Genocide, War Crimes, and the West
, Adam Jones
Confronting Ethnic Conflict: The Role of Third Parties in Managing Africa’s Civil Wars, Jennifer De Maio

Nobody is saying that non-intervention should happen. There have been multiple posts referring to other organizations (international) that are not as problematic as IC Inc. Ignoring these issues, even if the mission to successful, will cause different problems in the long term. It is kind of baffling that all these people see these problems as independent of themselves, when in reality their actions (and the actions of the past ie colonialism and post-colonialism) are the foundation of these problems. You can’t take a knife out of person and say “Great! I saved them” when it was YOU who put it there in the first place.

There actually have been people that have said that no intervention should occur on Tumblr! I’ve seen posts ranging from how white people should stay out of African problems and to leave Africa alone, to posts about how this is some kind of campaign to kill a black man (NEVERMIND WHAT THAT MAN DOES, it’s apparently not important at all!!!) and therefore everyone should STFU and stop talking about it. 



That being said, I don’t think anyone is saying that these issues aren’t somehow emerging from colonialism. (I actually said flat out that Uganda as a postcolonial state, along with other Central African countries affected by Kony and the LRA, is symptomatic of colonialism’s legacy and the trauma that emerges from said legacy.) These problems did not somehow magically appear out of nowhere, after all. It wasn’t like one day, zingthere was this man who suddenly decided that he needed to make his own theocratically-driven army and call himself a prophet and build said army out of children.

What no one’s talking about, because no one knows anything or really understands anything about it (or if they do, they’re not talking about it for reasons that I completely don’t understand!!!), is that this all began in North Uganda. Like the vast majority of Britain’s former colonial states, Uganda was split in a divide and conquer strategy, whereby one ethnic group (the Acholi, located in North Uganda), were treated like slaves while another ethnic group in South Uganda were privileged. This same strategy was also used by the Belgian in Rwanda, which resulted in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide; Somalia/Somaliland (respectively colonized by Italy and Britain), which resulted in Somalia’s Civil War;  and Sri Lanka (first the Dutch, then the British — man, these Brits get around), which — SURPRISE (yeah ok no) — resulted in the Sri Lankan Civil War. LONG STORY SHORT, one group was always privileged and said group is usually a minority, while another majority group was treated like absolute shit.  And in the aftermath of decolonization, which really is still going on because it is actually impossible to fully escape colonialism’s grips due to the fact that what replaces colonialism is a kind of neo-colonialism by postcolonial elites (see Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth for more info here), usually what is left behind is incredibly disproportionately developed areas. WHICH ALWAYS SEEMS TO RESULT IN CIVIL WAR.

Same thing happened with Sudan and well, just about every single postcolonial state where colonial funds that propped up the economy of the country were pulled out with pretty much no assistance to the independent new nation-state filled with a bunch of folks who pretty much had… no idea how to run a nation-state because the nation-state was ARTIFICIALLY CREATED BY COLONIALISM IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Okay so now that that’s been said… while we can talk a lot about these issues, the bottom line is that REGARDLESS of WHY Kony does what he does or how he’s come into power, the fact of the matter remains that he is still responsible for the abduction and forced enculturation of children into a system of violence and warfare whereby they become soldiers, sex slaves, and victims of colonialism’s legacy. In short, he is perpetrating the very violence of colonialism through a form of weaponized extremist logic — WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT THIS?  Oh, right, because everyone’s too busy arguing about white folks trying to solve African problems to realize that this is the shit that is actually happening and something needs to be done about it. And that “something which needs to be done” is PRECISELY what IC Inc is actually getting right, even if they don’t realize (right now, at least), that this can’t be the ONLY thing that is done.

(In b4 anyone says I’m white — I’m not. I’m very much POC too, kthx. My people were also segregated, excluded, and called yellow or brown.) 

Anyway, I have office hours to hold and students to see now, so I’m getting off my little soap box here. But thanks for calling attention to the fact that there’s a lot more at stake here — I’m glad you recognized that. 


One last reblog for all the above information.

And with that, this blog is back on hiatus, and will return whenever I figure out what to do with it and have more time.

Israel is denying Palestinians access to even the basic minimum of clean, safe water, Amnesty International says.


TAL9000: Israel is denying Palestinians access to even the basic minimum of clean, safe water, Amnesty International says.


In a report, the human rights group says Israeli water restrictions discriminate against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

It says that in Gaza, Israel’s blockade has pushed the already ailing water and sewage system to “crisis point”.

Israel says the…