In the last days of May of this year, four pieces of news were reviewed in the press that for most may have gone unnoticed, but that serve as a crude and hard example of the meaning of colonialism.
The first: "Emmanuel Macron recognizes in Rwanda the" enormous and overwhelming "responsibility of France in the genocide of 1994". Between April and July 1994 about a million people were killed. 27 years ago. Rwanda is a country in East Africa, with no coastline; currently with just over twelve million inhabitants and a territory of 26.338 square kilometers (a little less than the Monagas State). The country was conquered by Germany in the late 1926th century, taken over by the Belgians after the First World War. In 1962, Belgium introduced a system of identification with cards "according to race", the Tutsis were used to facilitate imperial rule and they were given access to "European education", as well as administrative and military positions. The Belgians left in 1994 and since then Rwanda has been a “privileged ally” of France. The French government supported the government that launched and facilitated the XNUMX massacre. The French responsibility was indeed "enormous and overwhelming."
The apology, however, does not appear to be due to a problem of conscience. Rwanda, according to different sources, is the world's leading exporter of coltan, although its own production is low. It is a neighbor of the Congo, and a good part of the precious mineral “leaves” through the Rwandan territory to Europe.
The second: "Germany recognizes the genocide in Namibia" and "the atrocities committed against the Herero and Nama ethnic groups during the colonial era," headlines the portal 20 Minutes. Some 65 of the 85 Herero, and about 10 of the 20 Nama, were exterminated under the German Empire, in what was then called German South West Africa, between 1904 and 1908; "Thousands more were held in concentration camps or forced to wander in the desert until they died." The German government has offered a hundred years later a "compensation" of 1.100 million euros. The Ovaherero Traditional Authority and the Namaqua Traditional Leaders Association have called the announcement "an act of propaganda on the part of Germany." Leader Ovaherero Vekuii Rukoro declared: “It is not enough because of the blood of our ancestors. We will fight to hell and back. We will go to bed with the devil if that gives us what we deserve ”. In 2015, Germany began formal negotiations with Namibia on the issue and in 2018 returned skulls and other remains of people from massacred tribes that were used in colonial-era experiments to assert claims of European racial superiority.
The third: "Biden commemorates the victims of the worst racist massacre." We now take data from the abc.es portal. It happened 100 years ago in a small town in Oklahoma. The excuse was "a false report from a white woman," Sarah Page, who "claimed to have been assaulted by a young black shoe shine," Dick Rowland. This unleashed “an outbreak of white fury. The racist mob looted businesses, set fire to buildings and even threw explosives from private planes, due to the passivity, if not the collaboration, of the authorities. Apart from the 300 dead, thousands of survivors were forced to live in internment camps, supervised by the National Guard (…) From that rich black neighborhood, with 30 blocks (it was known as the “Black Wall Street”), Biden only he was able to visit a pile of charred bricks and a church basement, which is all that remains a century later. "
The fourth is called in the headlines "diplomatic crisis between Spain and Morocco." Headlines that only sidelong with the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Arabs among whom many speak Spanish, as this territory was until 1975 a "Spanish colony." Desert town but with a territory rich in phosphates and fishing. Spain abandoned "its colony" leaving the free door to the Moroccan monarchy, which invaded the territory and displaced its inhabitants who, since then, have been forced to live in refugee camps, separated by a wall from most of what is their territory and their homeland. The UN (United Nations Organization) proposed a referendum to resolve the situation of occupation of the Saharawi territories and has postponed its implementation since 1991, thirty years ago. Meanwhile, the Moroccan monarchy has become a kind of aircraft carrier for the United States in Africa. One of the last measures of Donald Trump was the recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over foreign territories, in exchange for the support of the monarchy for the US plans against Palestine.
In all cases, open and living stories, with present repercussions, of the inheritance of death, persecution and, reduction and denial of entire peoples as part of European and US imperialism. But, in the case of the racist massacre, was it not "within" the territory of the United States? Someone asks me. But isn't that territory of the United States the inheritance of the conquest, extermination, and eradication of the original peoples of America? Isn't it also the product of the invasion and expropriation of Mexican territory at the end of the XNUMXth century? Are not racial segregation, the very idea of race and racism, legacies of colonialism that massively kidnapped people from Africa to try to turn them into work animals?
The car is director of the International Center for Decolonization Studies