The exclusivity of benevolence: a return to colonialism in a post-colonial world
I didn't mean for the title of this blog to be cryptic but it conveys a sense of the current conception of the world that has been lingering in my mind for some time now. The map above shows a world divided since WWII, enduring the cold war, to a large degree representative of the current allegiances. Upon looking at the map and once the distinct colours of red and blue begin to cancel each other out, my focus drew to the grey countries.
Famously known as the non aligned nations these countries choose their own path conditional on no one and nothing. Curiously China is grey in this image however we all know that China is well and truly red. Some of these non aligned nations; namely those in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, face ongoing economic and political burdens due to their courage to stay out of the umbrella of imperial aspirations of the blue and the red states. Essentially since the colonial era for some 500+ years these countries have faced constant humiliation, aggression and political & economic oppression from the imperialists.
What we are seeing today is a return to colonial aspirations with the reiteration of white man's burden. The only draw card for this anglocentric imperialist agenda is the war on terror. So how do we discuss a war which has no borders and defines itself by an endless battle against Islamist extremism. There is only one way to see this new card and that is as a product much like everything else in this new world made to order. What I am proposing is that you consider that the Islam you are being spoon fed is a product manufactured by our colonial masters writing a narrative for you with a quill pen dipped in the blood of innocence.
Islam has existed as a world religion for centuries, yet since the war on terror of 16 odd years we are being led to believe that Islam is an inferior ideology, not even a religion, but an ideology that is barbaric and backward. There appears to be no way to reverse this narrative because the terror attacks keep coming. So how can anyone offer an alternative version? Well, if we have a better way it is our duty to persevere.
What do I mean by the exclusivity of benevolence? Recent comments from ultra conservatives claiming not all cultures are made equal have started to resurface. They hold the view that western culture and values have achieved a superior status over other cultures. I started to think about how public relations have contributed to the image one has when thinking about the current divide between non western and western cultures. When one thinks about charity, kindness, being good, neighbourly, family values, progress, peace and harmony one tends to think about western culture and life. When one mentions Middle Eastern culture there is little sense of the kind of benevolence we imagine when we think of western culture. In fact, oppositionary thoughts of cruelty, oppression, barbarism, violence, hate and corruption come to mind.
This can be attributed to the fine tuned use of public relations tactics creating the linguistic associations mentioned above. There is no doubt that non aligned nations of Asia, the Middle East and Africa are in a public relations battle which they are vastly out resourced and out numbered in.
There is a glimmer of hope in new shared technologies of social media allowing people to break through the noise of new colonial aspirations. Large scale growing non western cultures, like Iran, are involved in humanitarian efforts yet we don't hear much about it. These cultures need to assert their relevance in the modern era by sharing the good values they uphold. We are starting to see this on social media platforms. They must increase the momentum across new tech platforms, in the fight against new colonial public relations networks, to reach people on the ground in western nations. This is a good start to help curb the rise of new colonialism that aims to belittle and redefine non western culture and traditions as irrelevent and useless.