Saturday, March 31, 2007  

Memories of subjugations past...

(colonization, 1945)

Thought I would post this and invite dialog. I am (probably stupidly) hanging around a scruffy little exchange about colonization on in the comments section. To head off any mis-understandings right now- I love the Arabist and think Issandr and co are doing a great job. (see side bar for link).

However, there seem to be some people on the exchange who are under the impression colonialism was good for the colonized. Hmmm, if this were consentual minor S&M sex, I could see how that might work...but it wasn't, and I have lived in enough post-colonial environments and done a lot of work (academic and artistic) on post-colonial issues, that I strongly beg to differ. I personally feel that colonialization continues to poison the body cultural long after the infecting agent has left.
A friend, M. takes a very pragmatic view- 50 years should be enough to move on, but then this view comes 60 years after the end of the Raj. D. , I and several others, like A., another M., N., R., the K's and probably A. from Marrakech, don't quite see it that way as we come from a Francophone experience. As D. puts it- sure, the rhetoric of victimhood gets worked out, but then a low burning rage sets in.
Driss Chraibi says in an interview with Lire- je colonise le colonisateur dans sa propre langue. (I colonize the coloniser in his own language). Which is what many Indian writers do as well- I think of Gosh, Iyer, Seth, Mukherjie, and I am in awe of the beauty of their language. The Francophone/Beur writers twist and curve French to make it their own and in doing so, create a text that sings with third party meaning.
But does that indicate a nostalgia for subjugation and second class (if that) status, or is it making the best of a slightly poisonous inheritance?

I'd be really interested in what other people think, ex-colonials and others. Although some (like M.) may consider post-colonialism done, in my own life and in the work of fellow artists, it still runs through us- and whether we stand on the fringes of American Empire, or somewhere within the inner margins- I think it is still a valid issue to ponder.

What do you think?

Zazou, here is a question back to you; do you think that the post-colonial effects, however many years later, is also effected by the lack of democracy and certain freedoms in Arabic countries? The political and social structure might remain the same, just changes power hungry people once there is a regime change, but not one towards democracy..
what do you think?
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