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The truth about Elizabeth’s empire Colonialism isn't to blame for all Africa's ills

Does Africa blame its colonialists? (Hulton-DeutschCollection/CORBIS/Corbis/Getty)

Does Africa blame its colonialists? (Hulton-DeutschCollection/CORBIS/Corbis/Getty)


September 13, 2022   8 mins

History matters. And it is often the case that when we talk about the past, we are really talking about the present. We are trying to explain why we are where we are. The current debates over colonialism and the fury about Queen Elizabeth’s role in it are no different. They are, at heart, about trying to explain why some peoples and parts of the world today are wealthy and successful while others aren’t.

No matter how sensitively you try to approach it, colonial history is an inherently divisive issue in Britain. It cannot be otherwise in a country where the descendants of those who were colonised live alongside the descendants of those who did the colonising. One’s story of successful expansion is the other’s reminder of humiliating subjugation.

Akala poignantly expressed this in his book, Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire: “Even at five years old, we already know on some level that, in this society at least, we are indeed lesser citizens with all the baggage of racialised history following us ghost-like about our days. We are conquered people living in the conquerors’ land, and as such we are people without honour.” It is an emotion rarely voiced and so rarely captured in polls or surveys.

In my fellow African immigrant circles, when we complain about racism in the West, we often sum up the situation with something along the lines of: “Well, it’s not their fault, it’s because we’ve had to leave our countries to come and live in their country, that’s why they think they can misbehave towards us.” Our situation is psychologically easier to handle because we came here of our own accord, usually as adults, and can at least envisage somewhere else in the world we could go if things were to become unbearable here. This allows us an empowering sense of autonomy.

But Akala was speaking about those who, like him, were born here, in the land of their former conquerors, and who can’t envisage living anywhere else. Britain is all they know. Naturally their frustrations at the current status quo are often stronger. Why is it that they have to live in the land of their former conquerors? Why do their life options seem restricted in comparison with their white peers? Why is it that they live in a world where even if they feel Britain is a white supremacist hellhole, they can’t simply say: “Sod it, I’m jumping on a plane and moving to an African or Caribbean country where I won’t have to deal with white racists?”

Race is sometimes, but not always, a relevant proxy for the key dividing line in our world which is between so-far successful groups and so-far unsuccessful groups. The Japanese, South Koreans, Singaporeans, Emiratis and increasingly the Chinese are not on the same side of this divide as Kenyans, Pakistanis or Yemenis. They are, along with most white or white-majority nations, in the successful group camp.

It is no coincidence that, even though they’re not white and have been victims of racism and colonisation in the past, you won’t find too many Singaporeans or South Koreans today focusing on the ills colonialism rendered their societies. Successful nations and peoples usually find the present quite satisfying; when they discuss the past, it’s generally for the feel-good reason of reminding themselves how far they have come. It is not that a South Korean may not face racism here in Britain, but that, like Jewish people today, they always have the option of a wealthy well-developed ancestral homeland they can move to, if need really be. This knowledge creates a completely different psychological dynamic.

A lot of effort, however, is put into recalling the colonial pasts of nations not doing that well today for two major reasons. First, to convince the world that this is not the result of current misrule, but because of problems that have their “root causes” in colonialism and, possibly, slavery as well. In other words, something attributable to external forces beyond their control.

The second aim is to bring white folk, Westerners especially, down a peg or two. This group tends to consider itself more civilisationally advanced as a result of having built several dozen successful states across the globe. No amount of political correctness can hide this. Their sense of superiority at having built “developed” societies while we are still “developing” engenders in us a strong psychological need to make the point that the only reason they are so rich, and we are not, is because they robbed us through colonisation and slavery and caused the problems our nations face today.

Olivia Rutazibwa outlines this position: “It is only through sustained colonial amnesia in knowledge production in [Western] society that the ills in the global South are systematically and almost exclusively attributed to the now and the local (over there)
 this allows for the sustained
 presentation of Western actors as firefighters when they are more often than not the arsonists.” What is thus needed, according to Rutazibwa, is to “first and foremost foreground the transatlantic slave trade and the colonial encounter as the sites from which any thinking about development-related issues need to be addressed”.

In other words, you simply can’t discuss any development issues of Nigeria or Pakistan today without first discussing colonialism. Indeed, there wouldn’t even be a Nigeria today, a country comprised of hundreds of ethnic groups speaking some 500 different languages, if not for British colonialism. Though colonialism is often portrayed as having divided Africans, it actually forced together thousands of formerly disparate communities, city-states, empires and autonomous groups into 54 Western-style nation states.

Nigerians over the years have countered by arguing that this forcing together of overly (culturally) different peoples has created an “artificial” country that struggles to develop consensus on national norms and forge a sense of nationhood. The practicality of this point is valid in Nigeria’s case, but we should also be aware that this is precisely the argument some deploy against multiculturalism in Western societies. They say white Europeans shouldn’t be forced to live with so many people from different cultures with different value-systems. So this particular critique of colonialism is a slippery slope. We can’t argue “forced” multiculturalism is bad for African states but good for Western ones.

What is certainly the case, however, is that colonialism brought massive disruptions to the ways of life of millions of people in colonised territories, rubbishing their cultures, belief-systems, values and traditions — all the things Queen Elizabeth is praised for upholding here in Britain. Postcolonial Africans are yet to recover (and may well never recover) from this assault on their identities and are still trying to figure out what exactly they are or want to be. People were also killed, something that cannot be glossed over. Colonialism wrought serious damage.

But it is not to blame for everything. It is fanciful, for example, to suggest that the $600 billion stolen from the Nigerian people by Nigerian rulers since independence is down to colonialism. If that had been used to fund roads, schools, hospitals, universities and power systems, Nigeria would be in a very different place today. We would definitely not be in a situation whereby three-quarters of Nigerians aged 18-24 want to emigrate to richer pastures, including often to the land of their former conquerors, Britain.

Nonetheless when the issue of corruption among African ruling elites is discussed, the fact that these stolen funds are often deposited in Western banks is often raised along with the implication that it is the white man who is again robbing Africa of its wealth. I cannot imagine that, were it to emerge that Boris Johnson had stolen ÂŁ2 billion from the UK treasury and deposited it in a bank in Dubai, there would be people more concerned with the role of the Emiratis in the whole affair than in the fact Johnson stole ÂŁ2 billion from Britain.

Yet a tranche of white Westerners lap up these anti-colonial arguments. They nod their heads, displaying an incredibly paternalistic and patronising attitude to Africans, painting them as helpless children who, even when they steal from their people, probably do it because the white man has told them to. All this only serves to downplay the role of corrupt African leaders in impoverishing their people: how thrilled these rulers must be as those useful idiots make the “corruption is all the West’s fault” argument for them.

And no, accounts of massive corruption in African states are not exaggerated stereotypes. In a 2021 survey of citizens in 34 African countries, an average of 58% said corruption was getting steadily worse. And not just among their elites; a third of respondents had been forced to bribe the police at least once in the past year. They also rated their civil servants, judges and local government councillors as very corrupt. Worse, 71% said “ordinary citizens risk retaliation or other negative consequences if they report corruption to the authorities”, proof they see it as a systemic arrangement. Is that the white man’s doing as well?

Of course there are global structural hangovers from the colonial era that impede the progress of African and other (poorer) global South countries today. Western countries have far more influence over and within major international organisations — from the UN to the IMF and World Bank. African countries have very weak positions in these institutions because they lack financial muscle, determined by their position in the world economy. Basically, the more you pay, the more you say.

The general stance of Africans who live in Africa is certainly not to blame the former colonialists for the problems of their countries today. They place the blame squarely on their ruling elites as a cursory glance of a newspaper in any African country will evidence. A majority — 59% — of Africans aged 18-24 believe that the impact their country’s former colonial powers have on their education systems is positive, while a quarter (25%) disagree. A majority — 57% — also feel trade relations with the former colonial power have a positive impact, while 27% disagree. Surprisingly for me, 47% even think the former colonial power’s impact on their country’s culture and identity is positive and 46% think their access to its natural resources has a positive effect, compared with 32% and 36% who disagree, respectively.

Six in ten, meanwhile, believe that foreign companies have been allowed to take advantage of their country’s resources without sufficiently benefitting or contributing to the local populations. These figures suggest the majority of African youths who actually live in Africa have quite different views from those in the West who are attempting to speak on their behalf — usually Guardianistas or their equivalents in the US. Kehinde Andrews’s The New Age of Empire at least makes the argument explicitly. Most others hide behind implication to generally say the same thing.

Any white person who would suggest colonialism is not one of the “root causes” of Africa’s problems today is engaging in colonial amnesia, white denialism (both real but over-exaggerated phenomena), or is simply a racist. This tactic has the dual advantage of putting whites on the moral and psychological defensive as well as rallying Africans and other black folk to join in repelling the racist denialists. And if any black people in the West suggest colonialism does not really explain all African problems today, the tactic will be to portray them as “brainwashed” by the white man, dim-witted coconuts or mercenaries who in order to reap the rewards of pandering to white prejudices, are enabling “ahistorical” arguments that ignore the legacies of colonialism and slavery. An “ahistorical” argument is any argument that does not firmly point to the white man as the root of Africa’s problems today. White people who make the “colonialism is the root cause” argument will be praised as “thoughtful” and generally given the thumbs-up for showing how informed they are; they get it.

But who is this helping? Certainly not the 500 million Africans who currently have to survive on less than $1.90 a day or the hundreds of millions more who live on $2-$5 a day which is still serious poverty. It is not helping those living in countries with 50% or higher unemployment rates who are dying of easily curable diseases because they often lack access to basic healthcare. It is not helping the Africans who often live under governments that often think nothing of unleashing open violence on them to stay in power.

It is, at best, helping some black folk here in the West who might genuinely feel better believing white people have what they have while black people lack what they lack because of colonialism.

The root cause of Africa’s problems today is not colonialism or Queen Elizabeth — it is the way it is being ruled. And until that changes, the status quo will remain the same, no matter how many times we yell “colonialism”.


Dr Remi Adekoya is a Polish-Nigerian writer and political scientist. His book Biracial Britain: A Different Way of Looking at Race, is available now.

RemiAdekoya1

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R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

A reminder that far from enriching Britain, the ttpical African colony did not even break even in an average year. Colonialism enriched a tiny handful of companies like (now) Unilever but most evil whities in the UK spent more tax developing the colonies than they ever received from them.
It’s been half a century since Britain left. If the Africans wanted to right the wrongs of the past and break these ‘artificial’ states back down into their constituent hundreds of tribes and city-states they have had plenty of opportunities to do so. It appears their leaders, educated in our schools, prefer the world we built. Their youth prefer our country to their own. Decades on they have nobody to blame but themselves.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Far too simplistic.. you forget the gulf between the corrupt (English educated!) leaders and their people. Of course Anglofied (corrupted thereby) greedy thieves will favour a system that enriches them personally (this is surely where Eton et al excels?).
What’s in it for their English masters? The looting can continue just as before using puppets to rob their own people instead of the UK having to do it. Obviously it’s an expensive option because you have to allow the puppet leaders to keep a significant slice of the loot.

N Forster
N Forster
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

It does seem that your own personal prejudice may be clouding your judgment.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  N Forster

It’s fun predicting that he’ll jump through the hoop though!

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

One world-famous African novelist noted around decolonialisation time that the people of the countryside preferred rule by the British to rule by the tribal chiefs, and rule by the tribal chiefs to rule by the educated black elite – and (his opinion) *had good reasons to do so*.

Wonder Walker
Wonder Walker
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Great quote, who was that by?

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Too simplistic too. Blaming the English masters (or French, Chinese or Arabs) does not explain corruption or development.
Zanzibar was not better off when Arab and African slave traders sold Bantu girls kidnapped in mainland Africa. Sokoto, Timbuktu, Dahomey and other big native African kingdoms were based on slave trade. It was perhaps the African slave traders who convinced Portuguese traders that slavery could be reintroduced in Western Europe.
Of course, the main goal of colonial powers as well as current investors from any country is to get as rich as possible. You can build your fortune on human blood or at least leave institutions, schools and infrastructures.
Chicago in the 1930s was ran by the mob, and they did not blame the British colonialists for their own corruption. Instead, they changed the laws. They still have a high criminality rate, but they are not too bad.
Some former colonies are doing great, and some were doing better when they were colonies. Japan is doing great with a constitution written by the Americans. North Korea preferred its own dictator and rules to a puppet leader appointed by the West. I heard they are not doing very well.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Liam, your Anglophobia seems to affect almost everything you write, not to mention pure invention..

You seem to entirely buy in to the ‘ it’s all the white man’s fault ‘ simplistic narrative (Ireland excepting, natch) that the author is critiquing. The Nigerian and other leaders are today nobody’s puppets – unless you can provide some very clear evidence to the contrary. Some banking institutions may well benefit; but as you know, that is not the same thing; the looted funds are held for and owned by the African (and other) corrupt leaders.

David Owsley
David Owsley
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

At least you mention the T word, something which Remi, in a very good article, manages to avoid. Tribal differences were just colonialism to a lesser degree (probably greater degree if you just used numbers killed as the measure).

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  David Owsley

Tribalism is still the biggest problem in Africa. In recent memory millions have been killed for being in another tribe. That did not happen under colonialism. Africa’s strong point is their faith in God which will prosper their countries eventually as it did in the west. Alas we are slipping away from that now in the west but Africa has a chance to reach greater heights but not by carrying an eternal chip on their shoulders and blaming someone else for their woes.

Daniel Goldstein
Daniel Goldstein
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Don’t they prefer Allah in some parts?

Christopher Neil Brown
Christopher Neil Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Spot on. Not to mention that the “non-colonised” countries in Africa have performed even worse than the colonised countries. QED as they say in Rome.

N Forster
N Forster
1 year ago

Yet other ex colonies have done extremely well – how did Singapore manage? Colonised by the British and then the Japanese, no natural resources to exploit, densely populated, comprising of ethnic Chinese, Tamil, Malay, and most of the worlds major religions. The place could easily have been a violent mess. But there it is, one of the most prosperous countries in the world.
To a lesser degree you can say the same of Malaysia. And Hong Kong until it was returned to Chinese hands.
So I’ll agree with the author – Colonialism cannot be the sole cause of African countries present problems. They must take responsibility for their own current actions.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  N Forster

You’d be incorrect in your assumption if
(A) those countries had continued to be oppressed by their former masters and
(B) they hadn’t been fortunate enough to have truly patriotic leaders after independence.
The ‘solution’ in Africa was to ‘remove’ such patriotic leaders (eg Patrice Lamumba, Congo)
and install corrupt greedy leaders so that the looting could continue as before albeit with a sizable proportion of the loot skimmed off the top with the approval of the former colonialists. To do your bidding you need to compensate the corrupt leader!

N Forster
N Forster
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Which assumption?
Are you suggesting Singapore and Malaysia did not prosper after independence?
Are you suggesting the articles’ author is incorrect that Colonialism cannot be the sole cause of African countries present problems?
In you keenness to add to the discussion you’ve failed to be very clear.

Last edited 1 year ago by N Forster
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  N Forster

He’s too obsessed with his own views to engage constructively with you.

N Forster
N Forster
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

You’re probably correct, but its best to give the lad a chance.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  N Forster

why didn’t Africans colonise Europe and America and enslave Europeans? Surely they had the same opportunities?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Slavery of Europeans happened for hundreds of years through the Islamic Barbary pirates. They went as far as Iceland to get slaves.

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Rawlings lasted more than a a couple of years and did quite well until he applied IMF policies. Other patriotic leaders became greedy dictators.
If Ghadafi had lasted only a couple of years, he would have been remembered as a great African leader who challenged the West. That was before he blew up a commercial plane, turned synagogues into ruins and suppressed all opposition. Not that post-Ghadafi Libya looked much better. Lumumba (not Lamumba) could have been better or could have been another Nkrumah. You need more than a good leader to change a country. When Sankara died, his legacy was over and only a few stood up for their policies. Slave mentality was stronger than his reforms.
Nasser was another patriotic leader that expelled all foreign intelligentsia, thus contributing to the cultural decay of Egypt, which is now under control of the religious right.

sean Mahony
sean Mahony
1 year ago

He is right about Egypt. They are more backward than the Pharos

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

He is right about Singapore. I know that for a fact.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Lumumba. An exception. There was a Cold War which was the context. But of course the western powers who didn’t want a Soviet leaning state in Congo had no shortage of indigenous leaders who hated him as well.

Of course ‘independent’ Marxist Leninist governments would have done so much better – oh wait, they had them in Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique etc and they were not! The vast majority of African leaders arose (eg mounted coups etc) from their own societies: Amin, Museveni, Rawlings, Kagama (increasingly a tyrant in Rwanda). Your ‘explanation’ is just threadbare and weak, as I think you realise. You kind of have to believe in one kind of colonialism in Asia, and an entirely different kind, though staffed with precisely the same kind of people, in Africa.

The harsh truth is that many, if not most, African countries did not have the institutions, or the numbers of educated people to make a success of independence when it was demanded and then offered. You can blame the colonialists for that perhaps, but the aim was then to get rid of the white colonisers as quickly as possible.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
1 year ago

An interesting and thought-provoking article. The subject needs more granularity than it has been given here.
1. The residual effect of colonialism on a country depends heavily on who colonised that country. Belgium colonial history in the Congo was one of pillage, murder, tyranny and theft and we would expect it to have cast a long shadow. In contrast, British colonialism in New Zealand was treaty-based and largely consensual, bringing a Stone-age group of warring tribes (themselves colonisers) into the order, wealth and advantages of a stable industrial and post-industrial society. Few Maori would wish things otherwise although they might criticise the way it was done.
If countries were allowed to select retrospectively their choice of colonial power, there would emerge a consistent pecking order of preferred colonial powers. The Commonwealth is popular for a very good reason.
2. International financial institutions look first for a country’s economic potential, political stability and structural probity when considering whether or not to invest in that country. They want their money to be safe and productive. If a corrupt African country lacks clout when it comes to attracting major investment, it is probably because of investors’ concerns that the money may end up in the back pocket of the president. Economic size matters far less than economic potential.
3. “Six in ten, [Africans] meanwhile, believe that foreign companies have been allowed to take advantage of their country’s resources without sufficiently benefitting or contributing to the local populations.” Perhaps that’s the story that their political leaders would like them to believe?
Foreign companies operate in a country by political consent and under license (If they don’t, that’s called ‘an invasion’.) These companies aren’t charities: they will take what profits they can. It is up to the government of that country to decide how much profit they do take, and how much they must pay to that country. It’s also up to that government to decide where the money paid by the company ends up. Many post-colonial politicians have become very rich at their populations’ expense. Who is to blame for that?
If an African leader decides that the $2bn royalties paid by a mining company to his country is better off sitting in his Swiss bank account than building hospitals and schools, it’s hardly the fault of the company. It was the government of the country that wrote the rules and signed the contract. It is convenient for a dishonest president to blame the investing company – which is perhaps why “six in ten Africans blame foreign companies” – rather than their own president.
4. Not all countries with a colonial past are the same, and not all have inherited identical consequences. Singapore, Britain and South Korea are a good example of countries which have done well after a colonial legacy. But those that haven’t aren’t a homogenous group: it isn’t helpful to view them as one. Lumping Kenya (a vibrant, stable trading country that has benefitted from institutions and infrastructure bequeathed by its colonialists) in the same basket as Pakistan, the Yemen and other post-colonial countries (many of which have deliberately destroyed beneficial aspects of their colonial past) ignores information that really matters if one is to draw helpful deductions from the past.
5. Should there be a statue of limitations on a country being allowed to blame its colonial past for its current misdemeanours and problems? Can Britain blame Rome, Germany, Denmark or France for its poor education system or the crisis in the NHS? Can the USA blame Britain for recent riots and political instability? Should Brazil blame Portugal? How much time has to elapse before it is reasonable to hold a country responsible for its own problems?
6. When it comes to today’s colonial blame-game, the finger is pointed almost exclusively at Britain, the US and European colonial powers. Non-western colonial powers (including major and currently-active slaving empires) largely escape criticism. This includes China, a slaving nation which continues to maintain colonial rule over several of countries, is preparing to invade a wealthy neighbouring country and is busy expanding its soft-colonial influence in Africa under its Belt and Road strategy.
Where is the appropriate opprobrium for China? – or indeed, Russia, which recently occupied and tyrannised the whole of Eastern Europe for 50 years, and impoverished and stunted countries that have yet to recover? Looking further back, why haven’t the Ottoman Empire or the Omani Caliphate been subjected to such forensic scrutiny as Britain? The USA is wracked with dissent, criticism, confected guilt and narcissistic self-hatred over slavery, which ended 200 years ago while non-western colonists are almost completely ignored.
This one-sided blame for colonialism’s hangovers hasn’t happened by accident. We need to understand why it’s come about and who’s responsible for such a partisan stance. Why has the West almost uniquely become the colonial scapegoat among such a wide field of participants? Which political systems profit by such a slant on history? Which countries benefit? All these questions need to be examined objectively. Unfortunately, Western academia’s critical critical faculties in this area appear paralysed by an almost religious adherence to a particular dogma. Again, this didn’t arise by itself. Where has it come from? And who now benefits from academia’s recent blind-spot?
7. Finally, academia’s biases are self-nourishing and ultimately self-fulfilling. Academics and opinion-makers all respond to incentives and threats, as do we all. We all crave reward and shun failure, risk and opprobrium.
Today, an academic’s stated opinion on colonialism is hostage to expediency, fear, prestige, ambition, power and fashion – perhaps even more than it is formed by historical evidence or objective analysis. Most academics in the USA and many in Britain are incentivised towards a particular viewpoint and fearful of straying outside current orthodoxy. They have families to feed, windows to preserve intact, houses to remain unburnt, chairs to attain, papers to publish and reputations to uphold. We all have a tendency to disguise and ennoble self-interest, just as we are all masters and mistresses of deception and self-deception: a revisionist historian in an top American university may be every bit as self-interested, self-deceiving and dishonest as any acquisitive African president. All that differs are the tools at hand.

Last edited 1 year ago by Roddy Campbell
Geoffrey Hicking
Geoffrey Hicking
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

“5. Should there be a statue of limitations on a country being allowed to blame its colonial past for its current misdemeanours and problems? Can Britain blame Rome, Germany, Denmark or France for its poor education system or the crisis in the NHS? Can the USA blame Britain for recent riots and political instability? How much time has to elapse before it is legitimate to hold a country entirely responsible for its own problems?”

Perhaps it should last as long as we take credit for those societies’ success.

I personally go as far back as the 17th century. Prior to that, things are too alien and different. I will feel pride in the abolition of slavery (credit), and shame in 19th century liberals overthrowing some of our princely state allies like Oudh (criticism).

We can take credit for the culture they have adopted, and criticism for the worse parts of that new culture…. but they must in term take credit for the way in which they have used that culture well (Singapore), and criticis for how they have misused it (Nigeria).

“Where is the opprobrium for Russia, which recently occupied and tyrannised the whole of Eastern Europe for 50 years, impoverishing and stunting countries that have yet to recover? Why hasn’t the Ottoman Empire or the Omani Caliphate been subjected to such forensic scrutiny?”

Oh, I think you’ll find alot of people that blame Russia for the damage it has done over the past 300 years. Russia is a terror on the world and must be restrained.

Last edited 1 year ago by Geoffrey Hicking
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

I don’t know wjhy Unherd keeps giving us these writings some of which are not worth the paper they are written on. Time moves on and one cannot ive in a time warp of the past. Sometimes it is time to move on and do something with your life.

Elizabeth Burton
Elizabeth Burton
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

In point #3, it strikes me as ingenuous to pretend those corporations aren’t perfectly fine letting the president put the money into their personal Swiss account, because either way they’ve made their profit. It also seems to overlook the fact they also make those profits by criminally underpaying labor, which is entirely within their control

Russ W
Russ W
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

Wow, Roddy. Excellent analysis and exposition! If I could follow commenters here, I’d follow you for sure.

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

Indeed. Non-European slave nations such as the Ottoman Empire and its rejection of public education are completely ignored. Some facts that the recognition of native Americans as subjects of the Spanish Empire in the sixteenth century or the abolition o slave trade and slavery after only three centuries of American colonisation (Arabs took fourteen centuries to do it and only under Western pressure) are also ignored.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

excellent summary thanks !

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

Excellent points, well argued. Disguised self interest is a very human trait but particularly in evidence in parts of the Left. The case of that posh progressive BLM city in New England which zero black people living there and vetoing a plan for social housing!

Max Price
Max Price
1 year ago

Interesting article but as usual on this topic it has one big omission. The societies in Africa before colonisation. To say that this doesn’t contribute to Africa’s current woes is absurd.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

I reread your comment and realised I’d misinterpreted it and so removed my comment.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

Please enlighten us as to the “societies” in Africa before Colonialism”.. I had some knowledge of them but you clearly know more…

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Try Wikipedia. It’s an arguably well informed source where you could find out plenty on the vast topic of pre-colonial societies and culture, and even empires in Africa. They weren’t very nice to each other even before Europeans turned up. Just like the Irish.

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Search female genital mutilation – a native African practice. Or read Malek Chebel^s Slavery in the land of Islam.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Look up how witchcraft operated before Christianity was brought to Africa although in some places it still goes on.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

true- tribalism being a rot that undermines all progress

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

every society is tribal, including Britain and the USA: Ivy League, Oxbridge, football fans, trade unions, political affiliations and parties, professions….

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Nothing like African tribalism though which includes murder of other tribes.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

I think Remi has a dreamy picture of Africa as some sort of paradise before the colonialists spoilt it. He needs to read up and try and discover the truth. It was more near hell on earth from what I have read that nobody went to unless for a good reason..

Justin S
Justin S
1 year ago

The objective of the black person living in the UK today in using the Colonialism storyline is based on their desire to gain a personal advantage in the UK. It is not about trying to make better the lives of black people in Africa.
No, it’s a tool which is used to provide an excuse for economic and social under performance here in the UK and to try to gain an advantage in such areas as preferential treatment at University entrance, at job interviews, government positions etc > for purely personal advancement.
Clearly it works because we now have numerous laws that enshrine that advantage is given to black and economically poor black kids over and above white (or other) kids even though they present with lesser grades etc.
I recognise there is a psychological difference between a black person coming from the west indies and an Indian coming from India. One was enslaved and the other was a 2nd class citizen but free.

However – I reject any suggestion that white people regard or treat black west Indians any differently to Asians. As far as most whites are concerned these are both immigrants to the UK for economic purposes. I am simply uninterested in if that person once had a great, great, great grandparent in 1793 who was a slave.

Really, look to yourselves. The differences in social and cultural norms between the various former colonial ethnicities is down to the their natural norms of behaviour and group dynamic. That’s not my fault and we should reject any suggestion that whites in Britain should constantly be hand wringing about slavery > that we abolished nearly 2 centuries ago and where we imposed that abolition on the western world.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Justin S

Unfortunately, blacks worldwide have been using their lack of success in the world to shake down western economies and peoples. This goes back to the 1960’s when black nations at the UN were calling for a redistribution of wealth to their countries. Today, we get the constant thump-thump for ‘reparations’ uniquely from blacks even though their are numerous ethnicities who could demand the same but don’t. Blacks have to somehow find societal & personal ‘agency’ in the world. Complaining and not working together with their people & tribes is not and will not advance them in the world. Shaking down & blaming others is not the way to prosper. It’s time for them as a race to ‘move on’.

Adam McDermont
Adam McDermont
1 year ago

‘Why is it that they have to live in the land of their former conquerors?’
They do not. They can leave pronto!
‘It is not that a South Korean may not face racism here in Britain, but that, like Jewish people today, they always have the option of a wealthy well-developed ancestral homeland they can move to, if need really be.’
This was a fine article but the point above could have invited more by way of elaboration.
The Transatlantic Slave Trade is not ground-zero for European colonialism in Africa. Much may be learned by analysing the state of the continent before the white man’s arrival.
Western man is resented by many leftists and people of third world descent for having devised many of the things that ameliorate human life. The chippie and disgruntled types who blame whitey for everything are hurt by the reality that they do not want to shun the inventions and ways of life bequeathed to them by Europeans. Most people do not want to divest themselves of the imaginative creations of the white man. Many Africans moan about slavery although the European worked out the practice was wrong before they did. We are blamed for this ill but not commended for electricity and irrigation. Is this not a huge double standard?
There are no benefits enjoyed by Europeans contingent on the unfettered arrival of third world peoples.

The Heritage Site | Adam McDermont | Substack

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
1 year ago
Reply to  Adam McDermont

I think the author was talking about people originally from Africa/Caribbean who were born in Britain, so cannot just move to another country (unless they get a visa – no idea how hard it is to immigrate to such places but moving country is always expensive and hard).

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

There is also the fact that if you demolish my house and steal my food and (in the case of India steal my clothing as well) I’ve little option but to move in with you: whether you like it or not!

N Forster
N Forster
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You do say some silly things Liam.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  N Forster

We stole India’s clothing? I know they manufacture clothing and export to the west. But we stole it?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

The author had pointed out that they can easily go back home or to another country if you are of that ethnicity.

Rosy Martin
Rosy Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Adam McDermont

Agreed, Adam. I agree with most of this piece but take issue with the idea that people are stuck here. They aren’t. Anyone here legally- ie not trafficked, and with a current passport- can emigrate to an African country.
Uganda, the one I know, is fairly easy to get into and my guess is that’ll go for the others as well, especially for a black Briton. They’d be glad to have you.If you prefer a black majority country there really isn’t a problem, sorry.
However, that apart, I endorse the article and salute you for being honest about the failings of African governance.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rosy Martin
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Adam McDermont

I think you’ll find irrigation predated Western colonialism by a few thousand years and electricity postdated it by a hundred years or so. Also, many inventions attributed to the West were in fact of Chinese origin or indeed Indian origin and even Arab origin. It’s time us whities removed our blinkers.

Michael Davis
Michael Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Really???

Katya Silef
Katya Silef
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You are correct concerning irrigation. The earliest evidence points to Mesopotamia with the invention of simple water bag and lever lift devices to fill field channels from adjacent streams. Perhaps early agricultualists everywhere were already hand carrying skins of water or diverting stream flows throughout the pre-historic world.

That stated, even though many advances in medicine, scientific theory and construction methods originated in non ‘Western’ civilizations (the term ‘Western’ is certainly subjective depending upon where you stand on our planet), the hallmark of ‘Western’ civilization has been unceasing innovation and development of the mechanisms and methods of modern civilized society and the dissemination of these advances to most peoples of the Earth, usually through trade and the near universal practice of colonization (would we reject/resent advances brought to us by the Alpha Centaurians?…I wonder).

What brought this level of ‘Western’ innovative practice about? Perhaps the happenstance of being a convergence of peoples who ultimately settled in a relatively temperate climate, with fertile lands and a location that lent itself to trade with the ‘East’, the ‘Middle East’, the mother continent of Africa, and ultimately, the new ‘West’ of the Americas.

The ‘European’ region and future British Isles became the crossroads of civilization without great extremes of temperature or distance – essentially a central market-place for developing cultures, trading goods and ideas relatively quickly, easily and frequently than farther flung regions in Africa and the ‘far East’.

As ‘European’ and other ‘Western’ peoples ventured farther out to colonize and trade (ventured ‘back’ in the case of the African continent…we are all genetically Africans, after all), the innovations they brought with them, although derived in many cases from more ancient cultures, had been advanced far beyond the scope of their origins. They also brought with them many innovations and ideas never developed any where else. Slavery, while very unfortunately a reality perpetuated (and abolished) by ‘Westerners’, was not a ‘Western’ cultural invention. It arguably originated in our mutual mother land on the continent of Africa, where its practice continues to this day.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katya Silef
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Katya Silef

Granted the Assyrians and probably the Persians used irrigation but there was an enormous spurt in the industrial revolution starting in Britain.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I only know about Chinese fireworks that used gunpowder.

Michael Karpovage
Michael Karpovage
1 year ago
Reply to  Adam McDermont

Well stated, Adam.

Max Price
Max Price
1 year ago

Surely the state of African society before colonisation contributes to the current poverty.

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

But mostly After colonialism.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

Well of course it does.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I agree that you agree with Max. Why the red I don’t know?

Henry Haslam
Henry Haslam
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

One of the biggest problems with Africa today is overpopulation. It was Europeans who introduced improved advice on medicine, hygiene, nutrition and agriculture. It seemed like a good idea at the time…

Gail Young
Gail Young
1 year ago
Reply to  Henry Haslam

Also provision of clinics to educate on birth control and distribute free contraceptives. Generally, the men refused to have any involvement and their womenfolk followed suit. Net result: a completes failure.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Henry Haslam

They still have far far more land space than this small island and we are informed that millions of them have ambitions to come here along with citizens from most of the third world.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

This article made me think of a book I read recently, “The Last Gift” by Abdulrazak Gurnah. It’s all about the issue of people coming from different places all trying to rub along together as best they can and the historical and personal tensions that go with that. One of the key exchanges between a couple (he a white British male, she a British born daughter of an immigrant from Africa and orphan) about her difficult relationship with his father. While the father is somewhere on the scale between cack-handed in trying to show interest in her background and straight-up racist, she doesn’t make things any better by consistently retreating into and viewing everything from a deeply-ingrained sense of victimhood and a lack of self confidence.
In other words, everyone has work to do. Feelings of overweening superiority should be checked, but on the other hand, resenting others for their success and self confidence and continuing to blame others for your own ills is toxic to any kind of peaceful coexistence.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Agreed. But sweeping facts under the carpet is not the best way to proceed. A degree of realism and reconciliation is called for. And perhaps some compensation might be in order? At the very least the UK could:
1. Stop formenting conflicts via dark ops. in African countries.
2. Stop supplying extremely expensive arms to all sides for greedy profit.
3. Stop supporting those corrupt leaders from looting their own countries.
Ask yourself why the UK continues to support such corrupt thieves? Qui Bono (What’s in it for the UK)?

Inger Dahlin
Inger Dahlin
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Interesting article, have read the Nobel price winner mr Gurnah!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

what exactly is a racist? please define?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

It’s judging people by their race instead of their character. For some it is Labour or Tory, or Catholic and Protestant, rich or poor a way of catagorising people which is usually very unfair and biased.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Such a word of wisdom Katharine.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

This is an interesting essay and confirms what I’ve often thought. The colonialist mindset has taken a temporary reprieve from outward expansion while it takes time to get its own house in order. What we are currently experiencing in the west is a form of inward colonialism: our own politicians and CEOs plundering our wealth, berating us all the while for our bigoted, xenophobic, homophobic, and unenlightened ways. In essence Critical Theory is the pedagogy of oppressors hell-bent on humiliating and demoralizing a subjugated people. The reason conservatives get annoyed with the woke is because they seem unwilling or unable to observe that they are bringing about their own demise. Such fanatical stupidity (for lack of a better term) is hard to reason with as it brooks no argument or even mild disagreement.
Once the West has transformed itself into the Rainbow Police State, it may very well use LGBQT causes as a pretext to invade other countries that refuse to go along with this globalized form of sexual eugenics. LGBQT is the perfect cover for invasion and colonialism because it wears the mask of ‘love and tolerance’ while granting itself access into the private lives of citizens. Another pretext is ESG which gives companies unparalleled power to socially engineer their workforces all in the name of social justice and corporate conscience. As mentioned in this article many people who affiliate themselves with previously-colonized nations would love to see Westerners taken down a peg or two. For the first time in history they are now allowed, nay encouraged, to voice their hatred and resentment, if only because this aligns with the motives of those who would rule all of us – at first in our ‘own best interests’, and later when pretense is no longer necessary, cruelly and despicably.

Last edited 1 year ago by Julian Farrows
stephen archer
stephen archer
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

The EU (previously incl. the UK ) is already acting as the Rainbow Police State trying to foist its ultra-liberal values on Poland and Hungary. This wasn’t the original intention or mandate of the EU, or was it? Maybe technology and social media have played a role here too.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  stephen archer

Yes, the fight on social media is about what can be considered ‘permitted thought’. For instance, in the past the idea of encouraging children and young adults to undergo irreversible sexual surgery would have been totally unthinkable. Now, those advising against it are called out as hateful bigots. The fact that we are even having discussions about the viability of these kind of operations shows how quickly the moral codes of society have changed once Christian values are removed as a central pillar. In the past these provided us with a kind of social resilience and provided us warning signals for crazy and potentially harmful ideas. Without these we allow ourselves to be manipulated by those with access to money and media influence.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

This is the begining of Britains descent unless we change our ways.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  stephen archer

It is more often the case that the EU asserts the values of a nation’s own people, against a government which is in some respects not honoring the will of the people (eg abortion rights). This is why British rivers and seas have become so polluted of late – the EU is no longer regulating, and out government is letting industry and farming pollute our waters.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  stephen archer

We stood for freedom. Now we stand for corruption.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Bingo! The colonialists were not of course the ordinary British people but the elites. Indeed the former were cannon fodder for the latter in that exploitation. Now Paddy African is saying “no more” the elite turn in their own even more! It is, was and always will be an elite vs the plebs struggle. Until recently the elite were generous with their crumb rations for the rest of us but now they want even the crumbs. Pandemic, Wokery and Ukraine war all useful to achieve that aim. They want it all!

Michael Davis
Michael Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

God you write some cr*p

Ben P
Ben P
1 year ago

A very honest assessment. There are many now in academia making a fortune in blacksploitation.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
1 year ago

Why is it that they have to live in the land of their former conquerors?’
I don’t know. Have they dropped their passport down the back of the sofa?

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Only if they have arrived by small boat and Border Force.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Many qualified people flood to Britain instead of helping their own nations.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

Thankyou for a very thoughtful article.

Jack Tarr
Jack Tarr
1 year ago

Poland is an almost exclusively ‘white’ country but in many respects has a history as troubled as most African countries, if not more so.
Within living memory, a large number of its inhabitants were murdered in concentration camps or killed by invading armies. It suffered depredations from two of the most murderous totalitarian regimes in history, and was subsequently ruled by a puppet government set up by one of them (i.e. Stalin’s USSR). Poland’s territory in the East was expropriated, and the country forcibly moved westwards onto former German lands.
Poland since the end of Communism (and effectively, the end of colonial occupation) has roughly tripled the size of its economy for a population which has remained about the same.
If Poland can do this, why not African victims of colonialism?

Last edited 1 year ago by Jack Tarr
Stu B
Stu B
1 year ago

Great article, thankyou. It’s chimes with the opinions of a fascinating Senegalese-American woman, Magatte Wade, whom I heard discussing this on Jordan Peterson and Lex Fridmans podcasts recently.

Trevor Q
Trevor Q
1 year ago

An illuminating essay. Thank you.

Geoffrey Hicking
Geoffrey Hicking
1 year ago

I found this on another forum. I will keep my counsel on whether this is the right thing to have said, but in the interests of showing another perspective, I am posting it here. I would be interested in hearing what people think of what’s been said here.

“One of the problems is that the British Empire is so totally founded on liberal moral principles, that everything ultimately gets reduced to “good” and “bad”. It’s also very difficult to be a conservative in the Third World, as traditions are associated with savagery. Human sacrifice. Sati. Slavery. Corruption. Despotism. Tribalism.
Look at things from the eyes of a member of the African and Asian elite- the 18th and 19th centuries (the most important centuries in history) consist of Brits coming over, giving you everything you need to run a modern state, and you have nothing to offer in return except loyalty and bodies for the army. Whether willing or not, you basically amount to a servant. (Being willing makes it worse- you were happy to be in low army positions without any advancement to higher responsibilities.)

Now other empires might make you a servant, but their moral level might be closer to your own- they might be savage too! Thus any revolt against it would elicit the same non-committal shrug as when you were taken over by them. You are “allowed” to revolt. There is nothing inherently wrong with striving for a higher social position.
Against the British though? If you disagree on anything, you are wrong. Conservativism- the natural state of being for every human on the planet- must always give way to a strident and no-nonsense nannying liberalism. Any rebellion is evil. You must accept liberal imperial welfare. You must become left-wing and unnatural (and be happy about that). (And Liberals generally as “admiring” of the civilisation they change, so you can’t even rail against their bigotry towards your traditions. They only want to help you!)

The great problem is that you have nothing to offer the British. You have nothing of a serious nature that is “better” than British culture. Unlike the French and Germans who could resist Britain without being evil (WW2 excepted), and even in (deserved) defeat had something unique to offer us (efficiency, 17th century constitutional theory, government reforms, etc), you don’t really have anything. Anything “good” about your culture is harmless, but otherwise could be completely replaced by British culture without any fuss. How many widows did Divali liberate from sati? Did Eid free any slaves? If you got rid of those rituals tomorrow, there would be nothing wrong with the world. Would anyone lose their liberty from the loss of those rituals? How many Brits -the free-est people in the world- celebrate them? Not many. We don’t need them, and what we don’t need, others don’t need.

Third World Civilization can therefore be divided into two states- evil, or inoffensive, unimportant, and inconsequential.
BLM is completely correct- there are cultures that are unworthy of existence- it’s just that they’ve got the wrong target.

Now, as conservatives (small-c), all you people here understand the horror of seeing British culture destroyed by liberals. You also know the problem of British sovereignty being trampled on by Europeans.

Perhaps most importantly, you know how this extend back through time. We have never liked being threatened by others, and sovereignty was always an important concept in Europe. Any infringement of such a concept here was always something to rail at.

It’s not just that colonialism was of its time, it’s that it was not of its time in the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe (even the Austro-Hungarian Empire was falling apart then, and the German empire was more of a proto-nation). Thus the Third World had to experience an outdated concept used as a vehicle for liberalism, have nothing to offer, and have to be happy about every change to their civilisation that Europeans would oppose at the first outset if it happened to them.

All of this, in the full knowledge that it was a good thing to do.

No wonder some of them are round the bend. They need to adopt the same measures towards themselves that the BBC adopts under the urgings of BLM- the very “mind-sickness” that Douglas Murray disparages about our elites. Can you blame third world elites if they have the occasional conservative moment, trying vainly (and immorally) to defend a pointless civilisation?”

I am unsure about what was said here, and am interested in comments on it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Geoffrey Hicking
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Unfortunately due to economic necessity, much of the Empire had to be jettisoned far too early. Thus numerous completely immature states were created well before they capable of governing themselves, hence the dilemma.
I sometimes wonder if even the Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi experience can be counted a success, or again did we have to “cut and run” before we should have, because we had run out of cash?

Geoffrey Hicking
Geoffrey Hicking
1 year ago

I don’t think that is the point the person is trying to make.

The issue is that no matter how good (or bad) things could have been under British guidance, the fact remains that they must struggle with lack of civilisational confidence far beyond anything any of us ever will.

“We left too early”, “We should never leave”, “They should look to the future and make the best of what they have and create a new history” just isn’t going to solve the problem. Their past is too despair inducing.

That is why I’m trying to find evidence of Jaipur being anti-sati by 1800. Those people can at least feel they were in lock step or ahead of us on at least one thing in the 18th and 19th centuries.

While I think the poster I quoted was bigoted on some things, I think it is true that India needs more to be proud of than WW2 service. Pride in military success is great but it cannot be the sole source of self-esteem. Constitutional and government achievements without always needing British help are important.

Max Price
Max Price
1 year ago

The poster is a bit heavy on the British chauvinism and he’s theory about lack of “cultural confidence” is kooky but may have some truth to it. As I commented on here the main reason Africa is the way it is is because of their culture, societal structures before colonisation per se. The comparison to British/ Western culture is beside the point. It’s hard to talk about these issues sensitively. I’d recommend Roger Sandall for another perspective.
https://www.rogersandall.com/

Geoffrey Hicking
Geoffrey Hicking
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

Surely that in turn means that the more successful cultures should take credit for their culture before we arrived?

Thus Botswana, Ghana, Namibia, (maybe) Zambia, and Kenya can have some pride in their past. It thus wouldn’t be all about us. They can be grateful (I’m grateful for America helping us at times without losing faith in Britain’s achievements), without losing all confidence in themselves.

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

However, how did British/Western civilisation prior to colonialism compare twith what it evolved into? And how much did the experience of colonising as well as the material resources gleaned from that period contribute to Western evolution?

Geoffrey Hicking
Geoffrey Hicking
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

Unherd swallowed my comment.

My response was that if Prior African culture is responsible for its failures, maybe successful nations like Botswana and Ghana can count their traditional culture as well as Britian’s modernising as responsible for their current state?

Thus conservativism in those places is possible.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

4 facts (as distinct from your assertions) need to be considered:
1. The Indus Valley civilization predates all European ciiviliizations.
2. India’s GDP reduced from 23% of world GDP before the English took over to 4% of world GDP when the English left.
3. 23 million Indians starved to death in an avoidable (if not Englush created) famines.
4. Nehru was a puppet of the British among other things..
Isolating suti as the defining argument is grossly disingenuous.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

1) So India had the jump on Europe, basically,
2) India’s GDP was not ‘reduced’. European and American GDP grew disproportionately,
3) How many starved to death under the Moghul emperors?
4) Among the ‘other things’ Nehru was leader of the Indian independence movement, and India’s first prime minister. Are you going to claim that Indias independence was all a plot by the dastardly British, and that anything that went badly during independence or Nehru’s time in power were really Britains fault?

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
1 year ago

Mostly because we were (and still are) being undermined by the Americans.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

and conveniently abandoned the Gulf states just as their oil and gas came on tap!

David C
David C
1 year ago

My congratulations for speaking out, whilst history is never perfect it cannot be re written and neither can generations who lived by different codes be blamed in the face of modern political systems and beliefs.
I have worked and travelled extensively in Africa and the principle problem to the advancement of the continent resides with political accountability.The colonial argument serves to distract prying eyes and mutinous voices from what is really happening.

Ian Cooper
Ian Cooper
1 year ago

Well, it was refreshing that someone was prepared to make Africa primarily responsible for its current problems and recognise that colonialism wasn’t an unmitigated wrong. However I was amazed, but not surprised, that there are ethnic minorities in this country, from former colonies, who feel pyschologically upset about their countries failures and feel the need to blame Britain in order to cope – and at the same time confirm the self hating prejudices (and tacit supremacism) of the dim Guardianistas . Couldn’t Remi Adekoya have stated the obvious. Return to Africa, or wherever, and make a success of your country and your people so that you have something to be proud of. After all what was colonial independence, often struggled for, actually about? To come to the UK as a British citizen and continue the dependence and then feel upset? Don’t people see that immigration has been a scam, draining poor countries of talent and badly destabilising rich countries like Britain. On the last point, if immigration is turning England into Multiracialland, and Eric Kaufman says so, then isn’t that a reverse racism – stealing a country’s identity and national community – even if enabled by our useless political class?

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Cooper
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

 â€œEven at five years old, we already know on some level that, in this society at least, we are indeed lesser citizens with all the baggage of racialised history following us ghost-like about our days. We are conquered people living in the conquerors’ land, and as such we are people without honour.”
So why on earth are they here?

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 year ago

washing machines…..

Roger Mortimer
Roger Mortimer
1 year ago

An excellent and much needed article exposing the nonsense of post-colonial thinking. Just a couple of points:

1) “We are conquered people living in the conquerors’ land, and as such we are people without honour.” It is an emotion rarely voiced and so rarely captured in polls or surveys.

I suspect this emotion is rarely voiced because it’s rarely felt. People who (or whose ancestors) came from one of Britain’s former colonies but now live in Britain feel inferior to white Brits? I’ve never seen anything to make me believe that. I suspect it’s just something feigned by chancers like Akala who hope to parlay it into some kind of advantage.

2) I’m also not sure your analogy of multi-cultural Britain and the different tribes forced together to make, say, Nigeria really works. No one could separate Britain into white, black and brown areas as we are all so intermixed, whereas Nigerians could easily separate their country into the traditional homelands of the Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa and so on – if they actually saw any advantage to doing so. That they don’t presumably indicates that these different peoples being “forced together” isn’t really such a problem after all.

You also, by the way, miss the easiest way to expose the lie that Africa’s problems date from its colonisation. Ethiopia was never colonised by anyone – so it must be head and shoulders above the rest of the continent, right?

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
1 year ago

Colonialism is/was not resposible for any of Africa’s problems

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeanie K

Spot on, otherwise Africa would not still prop up the league tables of finance, commerce, industry, agriculture, the academe, democracy and freedom.

Ruud van Man
Ruud van Man
1 year ago

Very nice article. Victimhood can be such a comfortable hiding place; it absolves one of so much personal responsibility.

Gary Cruse
Gary Cruse
1 year ago

 One’s story of successful expansion is the other’s reminder of humiliating subjugation.
I wouldn’t be angry at being brought into the modern world from a life of tribalism and living off the land. But I’m an American and don’t know any better.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

“It cannot be otherwise in a country where the descendants of those who were colonised live alongside the descendants of those who did the colonising”

We’d all do well to remember our common histories, ie: in all countries, the descendants of those who were oppressed & exploited live alongside the descendants of those who did the oppressing.

Similarly – “it actually forced together thousands of formerly disparate communities, city-states, empires and autonomous groups into 54 Western-style nation states” is the same process that every country – West/East, rich or poor has been through – families become villages, become tribes, towns, counties, nations, trading blocks, and each stage some blood is spilled because….people, the human minds, are inherently zenophobic. It is over-arching common stories (‘we are Hutu…Venetians, Christians’) that counter this, and bind us together.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dominic A
Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan
1 year ago

Colonialism my ass, this is pure stupidity.There is no such thing as colonialism, only the global unity of the British Empire. Nor can Africa be called any colony because few British people had migrated to Africa from their homes, just as few Chinese would like to live in Xinjiang or Tibet, so the Chinese Communist Party had to send the Corps and military to station there. To call the expansion of an empire’s border and the spread of advanced technology and civilisation from developed to backward regions colonialism? This is sheer stupidity and ignorance of the universal laws of human history.

If Africans and British were not so different in colour, and the British government had been as hard-line and totalitarian as the Chinese emperor, most people in Africa today would consider themselves glorious subjects of the British Empire, just like all the tribes in today’s southern and western China that were conquered by the Middle Kingdom/Central Empire over and over again.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jackie Chan
PR C
PR C
1 year ago

Science and technology are independent of national and cultural borders. It took Europe 5,000 years to move from the Bronze Age to the Modern World – which it invented. It is surely not surprising that African cultures have failed to smoothly make this transition in just a few generations since sustained contact with Europe.
No warrior would refuse steel weapons or firearms; but of course these exacerbated traditional tribal warfare, and organised European – white – armies eventually overwhelmed all local – black – resistance; but for technical not racial reasons. No parent can bear the death of their child; but the introduction of modern medicine has resulted in a population explosion far beyond the capacity of African nations to satisfy their people with an acceptable modern standard of living.
Populations are hungry for the benefits of technology, but all cultures find it difficult to accommodate them as traditional ways of life are eliminated and new wealth accrues unequally and without particular regard to local concepts of social justice. Perhaps the formerly impoverished deserts of Arabia, now enjoying the wealth of Croesus, will revert to sand when nuclear fusion is mastered. Perhaps eventually Africa will develop political and economic cultures to satisfy their peoples such that their ambitious young will no longer yearn to emigrate. Perhaps. It’s in African hands.

Patrick Heren
Patrick Heren
1 year ago

In Africa as in much of the rest of the world it comes down to uncertain property rights and the non-rule of law. Simple really. Enforce property rights and absolutely insist on the rule of law, and these countries will begin to thrive. But their own people need to make it happen, as we in Britain did, over centuries. The struggle will be long and bloody. But worth it.

John Hilton
John Hilton
1 year ago

I can’t help but think the truth of the matter is this: the British wound up in control of other peoples because of trade entanglements – and discovered that they really liked them.

If you read colonial-era writings like Kipling and Churchill, the British writers all found something to admire about the local people – even if they were at war with them. Consider the respect given to Gurkha probity, and Sudanese courage.

At the same time, there is a visceral anger at the enemies of the colonised people – Churchill’s contempt for Arab slaver traders in Sudan stands out. It was this sense that led the Crown to claim authority over India when it became clear that the East India Company’s profits were so high as to indicate that they were taking too much from India.

Part -even if only part – of the undercurrent here is that same sense the British had in colonial days. They *like* the people they colonized, and they feel a sense of zeal in defending them. Where those people were exploited or abused, both ordinary people and elites want to seek justice for them – a normal reaction to a friend’s hardship.

The elites who gain power by exploiting myths about colonialism are, of course trading on this. They exploit the image of those who were oppressed in order to gain power and privilege for themselves. But the strategy depends on more than just guilt – the British have always found something to admire in the “conquered” cultures, even if the conquered don’t admire themselves.

Nick SPEYER
Nick SPEYER
1 year ago

I really struggle to believe that historical matters no longer in living memory have such an impact on todays’ cultures. Yes, in small part because history is taught at schools – but it is the past and no longer present. Yes, in part it still lingers in language (think how well English is spoken in India) and in administrations but these are generally not negative things – often far from it. Its remnants cannot be denied, I am less sure of their importance.
Some reflection on societies prior to colonalisation might also help for balance – were these really utopia’s?
Of course, colonialism is deemed ‘bad’ in today’s Western societies and erudite virtual signalling may earn lots of brownie points. But, much of it is sophistry and, in my opinion, of very very little import or value.
Most of all, what really counts is the present and the future and, rather than wallowing in self pity, it would be rather better to focus on these.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nick SPEYER
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Very balanced article, thanks.

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
1 year ago

Singapore is a very rich and developed country as well as a former British colony.
Somalia spent more than a couple of millennia torturing women and selling slaves. In a few decades, the British or the Italians developed some infrastructures and schools in which European and native children shared the same classes and girls could attended school.
Today, after more than half a century as an independent country, Somalia has one of the world’s lowest enrolment rates for children and a non Christian religion has a strong influence in education and politics.
Colonialism was not the problem. Slave trade and FGM had a millennia-long history before European colonialism. As the author says, it takes time to solve old problems and it is up to the people to take the necessary steps.

Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan
1 year ago

You know why it is called Slave trade? Because slavery has been existed in Africa for thousands of years and the supply of slave from local chiefs was so abundant that the price became so cheap that a chancer can profit simply transporting them from point A to point B.

Jonathan Story
Jonathan Story
1 year ago

In 1960, per capita income gaps between the UK and Zimbabwe were 5.1:it is now 54:1: Why? In the 1960s, development optimists considered Africa, not Asia, the continent of the future. What did they get wrong? and why?

Mike Bell
Mike Bell
1 year ago

The elephant in the room? https://new-iq-test.com/iq-by-country/

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

An interesting and thoughtful article which sums up the prevailing opinion as “What have the Romans ever done for us?”.
Dambisa Moyo’s 2009 book, Dead Aid, is on the money.

John Ronning
John Ronning
1 year ago

This well expressed and balanced article made me think of a related issue exposed in RFK Jr’s book on Fauci and Gates (The Real Anthony Fauci), which exposes how there is a kind of “big pharma” colonialism where drug trials are conducted in 3rd world countries where they can more easily manipulate the trial results and hide the bodies, and the “cooperation” of locals can be bought cheaply.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Off-piste I’m afraid, but why is H.M The Queen’s body being flown to London rather than being taken TRAIN?
When the body of the Unknown Soldier was brought to London in 1920 it is thought that between 2-3 million people crammed every railway station of the 70 miles between Dover and Victoria.
How many more would cram today’s stations on the 400 mile trip from Edinburgh to Kings Cross?
As it is the wretched RAF ( the recent desecrators of Guy Gibson VC, dog’s grave), are to use an American ( Globemaster) aircraft that recently achieved notoriety in Kabul as a ‘free fall’ launch platform for numerous Afghan would be escapees.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Good article by Remi, though this is the wrong place to enlighten those who have prejudices about colonialism, who would shout you down in their own echo chambers. But it’s good to know people like Remi, Kemi, etc can interpret objective views of history.

Its ironic to the nth degree that, as Remi says, those who blame colonialism effectively consign the formerly colonised to victim status. They are either naive or stupid.

I sometimes wonder if there is a huge conspiracy by a cabal of white supremacists to infiltrate the left and left-supporting media in order to promote black victimhood and ensure African countries and black culture generally cannot escape victim status, thus keeping them down forevermore. Then ‘useful idiot’ left politicians and media reinforce this victim strategy, erroneously thinking it’ll help them.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Stewart
Tony Sandy
Tony Sandy
1 year ago

Now the Queen has gone, the shift will hit the fan. Everything evolves then devolves or as Paul Simon put it, everything put together falls apart. This blame culture is like The Life of Brian and what did the Romans ever do for us, sketch

Tony Sandy
Tony Sandy
1 year ago

Now the Queen has gone, the shift will hit the fan. Everything evolves then devolves or as Paul Simon put it, everything put together falls apart. This blame culture is like The Life of Brian and what did the Romans ever do for us, sketch

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
1 year ago

I think this is a good nuanced article..something very rare on this topic really.
One bit that stood out was talking about South East Asia or South Korea.
These are places that I can remember being very poor, now they are some of the better off, fastest growing countries and economies on Earth.
I think over-idealogical elites are a possible linking cause, not the greedy rulers that stop Africa fulfilling it’s potential, so much as those in the west that focus on the idealogical concepts of a BLM or what have you and don’t get on with (not developing) but helping to develop Africa along the lines that worked in Europe and in South East Asia (Not to mention places like New Zealand,or Australia.
For most of the last century communism was the over-ideological weight dragging on the world.
Nowadays it is a crippling woke ideology in the West that is dividing people along racial lines, not uniting us…they don’t mean to do it, they think they are being *nice* but at the end of the day progress is slowing and bad things starting to happen.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

A lot of Africans are grateful to the British and others for bring faith to Africa, the rule of law, democracy, etc. etc. I fear too much is being dwelt on negative things. The books I have read show that the the witchdoctor ruled and that you could die or live according to his word. The gun actually brought protection to these awful systems. This writing would have us believe that Africa was a peaceful pleasant land ruined by the colonyists. I suggests Remi gets down to reading the true story of Africa when the British and others got there.
Granted that the slavery was very wrong and Remi’s points are taken on this. The slaves were actually sold to their slavers by African tribal chiefs and most if not all were taken to the Americas not Britain. Slavery was actually banned by Britain eventually and British ships actually went against and pursued slavers vessels. Your constant accusations of racism do not help when most people are doing their best to relate to thousands if not millions of black people in their country from another culture. It also has to be born in mind that many thousands of Americans gave their blood to end slavery during their civil war.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

A lot of Africans are grateful to the British and others for bring faith to Africa, the rule of law, democracy, etc. etc. I fear too much is being dwelt on negative things. The books I have read show that the the witchdoctor ruled and that you could die or live according to his word. The gun actually brought protection to these awful systems. This writing would have us believe that Africa was a peaceful pleasant land ruined by the colonyists. I suggests Remi gets down to reading the true story of Africa when the British and others got there.
Granted that the slavery was very wrong and Remi’s points are taken on this. The slaves were actually sold to their slavers by African tribal chiefs and most if not all were taken to the Americas not Britain. Slavery was actually banned by Britain eventually and British ships actually went against and pursued slavers vessels. Your constant accusations of racism do not help when most people are doing their best to relate to thousands if not millions of black people in their country from another culture. It also has to be born in mind that many thousands of Americans gave their blood to end slavery during their civil war.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tony Conrad
Angus Melrose-Soutar
Angus Melrose-Soutar
1 year ago

So what!

John Hilton
John Hilton
1 year ago

A transition is missing after about the 20th paragraph

Javier Quinones
Javier Quinones
1 year ago

Look up In Defense of Not Mourning Queen Elizabeth at the Reason magazine website.

Alpine Flower
Alpine Flower
1 year ago

I wrote a comment for cathartic purposes and then deleted it- in sum I don’t particularly like this author.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alpine Flower
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

A superb piece.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
1 year ago

But Akala was speaking about those who, like him, were born here, in the land of their former conquerors, and who can’t envisage living anywhere else. Britain is all they know. ‘

Britain is all they know!

Typical racist little Englanders. They don’t bother to learn a thing about other countries.

I’m betting they think everybody in Africa lives in a mud-hut in a jungle…..

Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Lol the author is a black, and you know a black person can’t be racist. How dare you claim a black to be a racist you little racist.

Aaron James
Aaron James
1 year ago

What an odd feeling I have, having read this all, read the conclusion, and then at comments section……and then must leave without making one……

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

The article was going well and was reasonably balanced (with one glaring omission) until the last paragraph: which in fact negates much of the article’s earlier assertions! Colonialism WAS at the very least, A root cause of Africa’s current problems.
The glaring omission is that current corrupt African leaders, if not actually installed (via dark ops) by former Colonial powers are certainly supported by them. The main support seems to be in the form of sophisticated and extremely expensive weapons supplied to all sides in the many conflicts there. And is it not also true that many of those conflicts are formented by the dark ops of their former masters?
Indeed is it not true that their former masters are STILL their de facto rulers with corrupt leaders merely doing their bidding and do those puppet masters not ALLOW those same corrupt thieves to loot their own countries. I guess you have to allow the latter to achieve the former?
Imagine how well African countries would be doing if people like Patrice Lamumba hadn’t been ‘removed’ in favour of a corrupt puppet? And doubly so if African resources were spent on national needs instead of extremely costly Western arms?
It is of course far easier to deal with corrupt leaders than genuine patriotic leaders unwilling to dance to the white master’s rule. A quick glance at which countries are supported will show that instantly.
Colonialism is clearly the root cause of Africa’s problems and de facto current “colonislism” is the current cause as well. The article is a well disguised whitewash in every sense of that word.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

No matter how sensitively you try to approach it, colonial history is an inherently divisive issue in Britain. It cannot be otherwise in a country where the descendants of those who were colonised live alongside the descendants of those who did the colonising. One’s story of successful expansion is the other’s reminder of humiliating subjugation.

This!

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Then how are we to live together? We cannot simply let this fester.

Last edited 1 year ago by Derek Smith
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

Truth and Reconciliation.. then move on. Sweeping it all under the carpet or clever whitewashing isn’t going to do it.. it will continue, as you say, to fester…

Last edited 1 year ago by Liam O'Mahony
Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

What is festering? It’s called big boy & girl time. It’s time for the black community to problem solve and work towards solutions for their communities themselves. There is no magic or fairies- it’s called good thinking, hard work and moving on.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

That doesn’t answer the question Derek – how exactly do you plan in not letting it fester,as you put it? Rasmus’ observation is how many people feel, and they are encouraged to feel this way by a leftwing establishment. You seem to be conflating his observation of something with an endorsement of the same. The question is, what measures would you put in place to combat this kind of thinking?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

Tough one. I note that while multicultural empires have been stable and common, multicultural democracies have been rare. Yugoslavia, anyone? India/Pakistan? Syria? Iraq? Malaysia is democratic, but heavily split along ethnic lines with the Malays claiming special treatment.
A start might be to accept that this is largely a zero-sum game – and that minorities are unlikely to get as large a piece of cake as majorities. Another point might be to aim consciously for an identity where both sides have a place, rather than pushing for the domination of your group. One might be to raise statues to colonial soldiers who fought for Britain, or otherwise can be seen as contributors or participants, as opposed to victims. Or keep Colston’s statue in place and put a statue for his victims in front of it, as a sign that neither side is being cancelled. Aim for a situation where the emphasis is on parts in a common past, as opposed to who is a victim of whom.
Winston Churchill, at one point, was trying to convince the King to name a battleship after Oliver Cromwell, but the King refused, Oliver Cromwell being a regicide after all. Churchill’s argument was that Oliver Cromwell was an integal part of Britains past, and all heroic people and deeds in this past belonged equally to Britain and to the King, regardless whether his ancestors had fought on one side or the other. Sounds like a good place to be, if one could get there.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Well at least we named a Tank after Cromwell, but not a very good one, it must be said.

Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

Grace. Humanity. Focus on what unites us as humans, not what has divided us. Focus on the quality of peoples’ characters, not the colour of their skins.

In fact, all the characteristics that proponents of Critical Race Theory condemn.

Quite telling, really.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I would argue, Rasmus, that such animosity is brought about in part by people being taught to see their host country like this. I grew up in Zimbabwe with black people in my school class who did not see life as a simple game of victim and oppressor….but this changed in many of them when they moved to the UK and were encouraged to feel this way by a particular kind of leftwing establishment.
(ps I haven’t downvoted you like some other muppets – It’s a valid perspective, I just happen to think it’s too simple an explanation and requires more caveats.)

Last edited 1 year ago by hayden eastwood
Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The vast majority of British, European and ‘Western’ people are also descendants of the poverty-stricken, exploited, voiceless and abused. ‘Colonialism’ exported a mindset that saw people as ‘superior’ and ‘inferior’ – the latter including the infirm, the poor, the underage and the female, all of whom were just beginning to be elevated above the status of ‘possessions’. As with all previous conquerors, the elites imposed their existing structures on the conquered peoples, relegating them to the bottom rung of (barely) human life, without any consideration of the cultures and values those peoples had already developed. The exception was the cruelties and debasements. For a conqueror, anything that already instils fear and horror in a conquered population makes them easier to control. Twas ever thus – and, during the nineteenth century, the idea began to be understood that ‘thus’ was no longer acceptable: had never been acceptable. ALL cultures – all peoples – are still working out how the equal value of every human life can be respected and protected.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kate Heusser
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Heusser

Good point that most people also inside Europe were subjugated and considered inferior. When the farmers party started getting to majorities in newly democratic Denmark, the opinion was voiced that the ministerial seats these people sat on would be so soiled that no decent person would ever want to occupy them again. But those divisions have not endured,

I think you have some gross oversimplifications in your view of conquest, though. Horror is not necessary – it makes more sense just to install yourself at the top of an existing power pyramid, like the British in India. All that takes is establishing the concept that your superiority is unassailable and in some way natural and right.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I think this more objective fact than feeling. One point of history is to tell the story of how people like you fared in the past, and use that to bind people into one ‘we’. And with colonial history, the natural story for the descendants of the colonisers is successful expansion, a point of pride, whereas for the descendants of the colonised it is subjugation and plunder. What story do you tell to bind both groups into a single democratic people, a ‘we’? This is simply objectively difficult. Truth and reconciliation sounds unlikely to work, because it starts by emphasising the existence of two antagonistic groups – and you are not going to get a long-term stable democracy based on two antagonistic groups. My proposal would be to concentrate on a story where both groups have a place in a shared whole, and where the story of both sides come up as separate parts of a common past. As it looks to me the English Civil war, the religious strife, to some extent the battles between workers and capital now look like parts of a common past, rather than my group v. your group. What we would need to do is the opposite of what is actually happening, where it is all about cancelling your opponent instead of adding your own side to the common mix.