What Colonialism is, and Why it is Very Very Very Important for You to Understand it

By: Dara

India? South Africa? Canada?

If you’ve ever paid attention in Geography class, you probably recognize these countries. These 3 countries along with many others have something in common. They’ve been colonized by the British. 

Colonialism is a greedy act and practice which includes the control and occupation of a country by a powerful state exploiting its economy. Great Britain and European countries in general are quite famous for their practice of colonialism. By the time it was 1914, they had pretty much colonized the majority of the countries around the world. It’s not only Europe, though. If we travel back to the ancient empires, we can see that Empires such as Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome among many others took part in colonizing the nations of the world. 

You’re probably thinking, “Why is this even important?” 

Well, colonialism is a doing that’s been in place since the B.C., yet barely anyone talks about it. It is even seen as the source of many problems such as slavery, racial discrimination, oppression, and more. Even in ‘Modern Day 2020’, people are not educated about colonialism that took place centuries ago, and its effects on the modern world. People are oblivious to their country’s origins, and this feeds into things such as racial discrimination. It educates us on the history of nations as well as helps us better understand the source of injustice.

Yes, you heard it, colonialism is injustice. Why? Allow me to explain. As I mentioned earlier, colonization fumed many different problems including slavery. Countries such as the United States were practically built on slavery. Not only did the colonizers use and harm the Native Americans, they did so with the African Americans in the large Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Racial segregation and prejudice was also installed into America per the British norm, thus racial injustice. It also created sexism and misogyny. Before colonialism in America, The Native Americans had equality amongst one another in context of the sexes, however when British Ideologies were implemented, this created injustice in many areas. 

Colonialism is injustice, and in order to put an end to injustice (or at least work towards ending it), we must attack its source and core, colonialism. We can see the demise of many nations due to colonialism. Colonialism often ends the culture, language, and people of the original settlers. Examples are Canadian, American, Australian, etc. Native Americans/Indigenous people. They were sent to schools, that in simple words, white-washed them and stripped them of their heritage. They would be beaten if they spoke in their native language, practiced a religion other than Christianity, owned cultural masks and clothing, and much more. Not to mention that when the English arrived in what they thought was ‘India’, they brought diseases with them that the Native Americans were never exposed to, and thus died. 

This wasn’t only in the 1900s, it’s still going on today all over the world.

The last part of Palestine is currently being annexed. The Zionist Israeli Government has slowly been depriving the Palestinians of their culture, people, heritage, land, and more. Many other countries have fallen into this unfortunate fate too, including Canada for a second time. Today’s teens and elders are unaware of the fact that colonialism is still active. The entire identity of a country and/or group of people are being taken away in 2020. 

The colonization of the past has greatly impacted the modern world. If we take a trip back in time, we can see that Britain colonized most of our world, but left 22 untouched. Once they stepped foot into the Arab World, it tore us apart. Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Palestine are all among the Arab countries that were colonized and/or controlled by the French and British. They gained influence economically, politically and culturally over 16 out of the 17 Arab states. Why don’t we take a look and see where it has brought us today?

Nowadays, you will see people in Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Algeria, and Tunisia speaking French fluently on a daily basis, and, and even learning it in school! This is a result of the colonization of these countries by France.

On a more general note, it is noticeable that there is a change in our society’s structure and norms in comparison to the past prior to colonialism. Before the Arab World was colonized, they had gender equality, and not as much racial prejudice, likewise with the Native Americans mentioned earlier. However, when the British Colonizers did their thing and colonized the Arabs, their ideologies were also implemented which changed the entire face of the Arab world today. What are the repercussions? We can see that nowadays we face internalized sexism, misogyny, racism, as well as the Arabs being painted as ‘terrorists’. 

That leads me to my final conclusion. What is the effect of colonizers on the world? Injustice. 

Thus, in order to attack the core of injustice, colonialism, we must be able to understand it. Once one understands it, the unjust practice of colonialism will stick out like a sore thumb. 

If people aren’t educated and aware of modern-day active colonialism, how will it ever end?

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