Colonisers vs. folks back home

My closest friend, an English migrant, had been taught in school that the British were in all of those places on the world map coloured pink in order to teach the natives how to govern themselves. In reality, they (like all European colonisers) were exploiting the land, undermining local cultures and the associated religions through enthusiastic missionaries collecting coloured souls to the bosom of a coloured Christ (although he looked a little pale in various depictions), and damaging the local economy.

Imported goods from Britain replaced locally-produced goods. What was now grown locally was needed back home, or to enhance trade with other places. Disgustingly, opium was grown in India to be ‘shoved down the necks’ of the Chinese people (to coin a phrase)! The colonial mentality was neither Christian nor moral. This encapsulates the slave trade.

One might wonder at the grand homes ‘back home.’ How many of these were built from the proceeds of piracy, slavery, and colonial rapacity?

Fortunately for mankind, the ordinary people back home seemed untouched by all that immoral behaviour. My sisters and other relatives found them, by and large, to be ordinarily nice people. The descendants of the buccaneers, not all of whom would have become wealthy, may have been the exceptions.

Indeed, in White Australia, I found some ‘common-garden’ people of British stock strangely rude about my religion (primarily), my culture (communal values, food), and accent. They seemed to have a great need to express their assumed superiority – an attitude of the ignorant coloniser or invader of an imagined ‘terra nullius’ Australia.

Strangely, a couple of retired colonial officials I met were quite discomfited when I told them that we colonial subjects were not grateful for the intrusion of foreigners in our lives. I was accused by one of them of being ‘prejudiced’!  How could any self-respecting person not be prejudiced about foreign control.

Against that, all former colonial officials I have known (a couple and their wives as friends) were indeed nice people. This would suggest that those my elders described as ‘upstarts’ might have belonged to the lowest echelon. I guess that humanity is the same everywhere; and that power can corrupt.

Advertisements