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Colonial Racism

Posta: Tysdag, 10 mars, 2009 under Ymse
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The racist attitude among many of Britain’s colonialists towards «natives»  is well-known. I recently found another example in a quote from the British Consulate in French Syria dated 5th of September 1924. Syria was at the time not so fond of the Britain, especially if you believe the Syrian newspapers. The Consulate, who represented the merchants from Nejd in Arabia at the time, was frustrated by this anti-British attitude and it’s influence on Nejdian merchants:

«The local Newspapers, in common with others in the Near East, are filled with artilces [sic] that are anti-British, either openly or by insinuation and poison the minds of unthinking simple folk like Nejdians, and in fact most Arabs» and «the erroneous news is widely accepted as the truth.»

Representing the Sultanate of Nejd in Syria was apparently not the easiest task in the world. According to the Consulate:

«the Oriental is always on the look out for verbal traps, and it is not easy to convince him that none are intended.»

This attitude might not be so strange considering Britain’s diplomatic history of verbal traps.

Source: FO 684/1

Etter førti år med okkupasjon av Vestbreidda og Gaza held Israel framleis tradisjonen om å svare på eld med meir eld i hevd. At det snarare har vorte verre på Gazastripa enn betre ser ikkje ut til å ha endra stort på taktikken. Det at amerikanske styresmakter støttar Israel til det fulle og legg all skulda på Hamas er so innlysande at eg eigentleg ikkje treng skrive den ein gong. Det same gjeld for at alt det Israel drep frå no av kjem til å vere vonde terroristar og at alle sivile dødsfall, same kor mange det er, kjem til å omtalt med eit skuldertrekk og eit «synd, men slikt skjer i krig» (i alle fall so lenge det ikkje er snakk om israelske dødsfall).

Aftenposten sin Midtaustenkorrespondent, Per A. Christiansen, har skrive ei lita analyse so langt: «Forsøk på nødløsing«. Harald Stanghelle i Aftenposten har seinare skrive ein artikkel om konflikta sitt vidare omfang, «Ekstremismens triumf» (6.1), og om media si rolle i «Kampen om virkeligheten» (8.1).

Det er ikkje mykje ein eigentleg kan seie, men eg tykkjer det passar å sitere den tidlegare amerikanske presidenten Dwight D. Eisenhower:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

In the early 1920’s the power balance in Arabia changed. Sultan Abdul Aziz ibn Saud of Nejd was expanding his realm in all directions and defeated longstanding enemies. Ibn Saud was supported to a certain degree by Great Britain, but one of his main rivals, Hussein b. Ali, Sharif of Mecca and King of the Hejaz, was also supported by the British. A former British Agent once said that «ours is a Hussein policy» and there was no doubt that Britain focused most of their energy on Hussein. Britain’s ideas on Arabia, however, slowly changed as Ibn Saud grew more and more powerful and as Britain found Hussein more as a burden than a valuable ally. The same Agent, Col. Vickery, spoke of this growing power in November 1922:

I see also in Arabia, a growing power, a power not of our forging, a power which will eventually overrun the very homes of these we have so openly and so prodigally supported … The custodianship of the holy places lies now with the Sharif of Arabia [sic], but I feel that peace will not descend on Islam till the cities of the Prophet are once again under the aegis of a Mohamadan nation which unites both spiritual and temporal power.

Three years later the Hejaz fell to Ibn Saud’s fanatic fighting force, the Ikhwan, and thereby ending Hashemite rule over the holy cities of Islam. Hussein fled to Aqaba and was then «invited» by the British to Cyprus.

(The quote is from Randall Baker’s book King Husain and the Kingdom of Hejaz.)