The craven fear of truth in imperial zones, bordering on psychopathic dread, has sustained systemic racism and hegemonic power domestically and globally.
“In America especially, the false promotion of democracy, the rule of law and human rights, do not tally with realities at home or abroad.”
In his celebrated play Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare famously said, “Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste death but once.” The matter of death being subject to taste presents a biological conundrum. Unlike food where one can switch dishes at will should the taste of one dish fall short of titillating one’s palate, the afterlife is not scientifically verifiable via the taste buds. If death could be tasted, those experiencing it would return to tell the tale, in a manner of speaking. Save for what may be gathered from the annals of fairy tales and fables, the returning dead have not been reliably documented in their imagined homecoming to relate to their fellow humans the “taste” of an irreversible event.
Shakespeare coined this ageless maxim almost exactly 400 years ago to the day, a couple of centuries before Shakespeare’s Britain was to achieve unparalleled colonial and imperial status that quickly became global. Suffice it to state, the British unwittingly did the dirty work in laying the foundation for the handing of the imperial baton over to their American cousins. Britain has now switched roles from being a global empire to becoming America’s helot, content at playing second fiddle and equally happy with gobbling American leftover scraps in matters of global import. That is aside from now turning into a fawning, unquestioning accessory in America’s modern genocidal proceedings, especially in the Middle East.
“Britain has become America’s helot, content at playing second fiddle and equally happy with gobbling American leftover scraps in matters of global import.”
The craven nature of imperial racism is amply demonstrated in phobias that target entire peoples, known as c-phobias (communal); phobias are defined as sore beliefs about things, creatures, events, peoples, and nations. Their upgrade has been integral to the colonial and imperial projects. Collective derision along with scorn and denigration were necessary precursors and justification for the tutelage of the colonized and unsolicited rule by colonizers. Societies simply had to be designated inferior, their state of being criminalized to pave the way for colonizing societies and institutionalizing bigotry as an indispensable tool for control and containment. At the stroke of a pen, the British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper erased the history of an entire continent, claiming that “…Africa had no history there is only the history of Europeans in Africa. The rest is darkness."
Trevor-Roper’s sentiments were the living embodiment of the British colonial mindset long before he lent them a faux scholastic face of a disappeared history. Beneath phobias lie gutless fears by rulers of victims at some later point exacting revenge for their subjugation and humiliation and the dismantling of the colonial edifice. In part, armed resistance to colonial rule in Africa could be seen in this light when the colonized turned on their colonizers to regain their self-esteem by ejecting the colonial yoke. Bullies are known to get especially brutal with their victims to preempt payback at some future point. Abusers are themselves known to suffer self-esteem problems that often occasions transference of abuse to victims via perpetration of the cycle of abuse. The Freudian response may therefore lie in the repetition of the cycle of abuse with role reversals.
“Beneath phobias lie gutless fears by rulers of victims at some later point exacting revenge.”
The rulers’ psychological fear of the ruled is implied acknowledgement of the criminality of governing without consent of the ruled. Belief in the justice of one’s cause need not always coincide with the abrupt changing of rules. As matters stand, neocolonialism is the conjured-up alternative to classic colonialism but with the same lopsided relationships between victors and the vanquished, after the initial African euphoria displayed in the aftermath of gaining political independence had dissipated. This derivative of colonialism had the intrinsic advantage of absolving any direct responsibility of the ex-colonizers toward their former colonial subjects – ending the “White Man’s Burden”, save for the occasional military interventions when former colonial powers, France especially, perceived threats to their economic interests.
Failure of Africa’s post-independence leadership to follow through with sound economic, educational, health and political measures to consolidate their independence made African countries perfect targets for the later parasitic versions of neocolonialism. Warriors of African liberation wars who became leaders of their countries quickly turned into self-aggrandizing potentates betraying the public trust and sacrifices invested in them during the struggles against colonial rule. Beyond that, they put their countries on the imperial auction block selling them on the cheap and lining their pockets along the way.
“Warriors of African liberation struggles quickly turned into self-aggrandizing potentates betraying the public trust.”
Palliatives were fashioned in neocolonial metropolises in their varied forms, the British Commonwealth – headed, naturally, by the Queen of England, not by King Mswati III of Swaziland, being one of such pacifiers. It is reasonable to presume that appeasement was part of a craven imperial measure to preempt nativist uprisings against imposed rule, knowing full well the lie of civilizing natives would be exposed and backfire. The neocolonial emollient carried a spiritual dimension, with the Church of England currently boasting of an 85 million strong worldwide membership. This Church is headed – again and naturally, by the Queen of England.
In the America, the pacifiers have come to us in the forms of Supremacist labels: civil (not human) rights for African Americans, to keep them from taking their grievances to the UN and global fora. Then came along the notion of Affirmative Action, a palliative meant to coerce African Americans into thinking Uncle Sam really cares for their well-being, but the net effect being accepting what James Baldwin said about “Negroes being … expected to make peace with mediocrity” and the attendant abandonment of the pursuit of excellence; White Supremacy scarcely tires of pursuing endless strategies of “keeping niggers in their place.” Then came the sweeping notion of “political correctness,” while ostensibly intended to protect Blacks from unjust censure, was in effect a tool and cover designed to protect America’s Israel firsters from indulging themselves in promoting Israeli control of America’s domestic agenda.
The British seizure of a Christian denomination later went hand in hand with the indulgence of British colonial and imperial schemes conferring spiritual dimensions to condescension and theft. In the words of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, British colonialists carried the Bible in one hand and the gun in the other. Kenyans were instructed to close their eyes in pre-conversion religious rituals. No sooner had they opened their eyes, their most productive ancestral lands were stolen and renamed the “White Highlands.” In modern day England, no Zimbabweans, Kenyans, Malawians, Nigerians or citizens of other member countries of the British Commonwealth are known to own sizeable chunks of land (“the Black Paddocks”) in the lush meadows and farmlands of the English, Welsh or Scottish countryside.
“British colonialists carried the Bible in one hand and the gun in the other.”
The French, with their mission civilisatrice were more blatant in expressing the need for civilizing and Christianizing natives in as far-flung regions as Indochina, Lebanon, Syria, West Africa, Algeria, Madagascar, Haiti, Tahiti. The 3 C’s are shared by Britain and France in their colonizing missions: Civilize, Christianize, Commercialize. America did away with the niceties of European empires, starting with genocide of the native population, their dispossession and corralling them into reservations in tandem with the enslavement of Africans. The art of diplomacy was discarded in the transference of atrocities from the homeland to foreign lands, a phenomenon still vigorous to this day in the Middle East. Infantile palliatives offered ad nauseam and reserved for natives of color, are now totally bereft of meaning: promotion of democracy, the rule of law and human rights, with the companion genocide carefully excised from any serious discussion. Institutionalized racism failed to tally with the nonsensical principles enunciated by the Anglo-American empires by their purported “founders” that were more for domestic Supremacist consumption than for those incorrigible natives.
An important aspect of what passes as imperial cowardice is perception of overarching imperial powers over societies accompanied by hollow declarations of liberty, equality and fraternity. Beneath such declarations lie subconscious craven fears of imperial subjects echoing cries for justice, equality and fraternity to their imperial overlords. Regardless of the setting – colonial or neocolonial -- parity is never achieved, not even approximated, between imperial hegemony and those forced to submit to it. Were that to happen, the edifice upon which imperial projects are constructed would crumble. Economic inequalities – the backbone of hegemonic control favoring imperial metropolises, necessitate the dissipation of the exploitation of abundant natural wealth in dominated societies. This implies that a prime source of the inordinate wealth of empire would be under serious threat.
“Parity is never achieved, not even approximated, between imperial hegemony and those forced to submit to it.”
Fear is tacit acknowledgment of crimes perpetrated against the vanquished. Bullying is founded on disparities in power and perceptions of superiority, placing the loathed in the lower rungs of humanity, an artificial construct of racist overriding power/hegemony. There can be no escaping that the fear of equality is cowardice. Noble sentiments on equality have no bearing on reality. Since power is reflected in appropriation of the last word on any issue of import, taboos have been made out of issues in order to delimit meaningful discussions on issues of concern to the subjugated and their interminable struggle for justice, fairness and equality. In America especially, the false promotion of democracy, the rule of law and human rights, do not tally with realities at home or abroad. Therein lie the reasons for the great absence of honest discussions on systemic racism.
This extends to yet another even more egregious taboo: criminalizing any criticism of apartheid Zionist Israel a measure spearheaded by America in her submission to Zionist power. Academics have been forced to walk on egg shells when it comes to speaking obvious truths about Israel. Celebrity journalists who could easily escape censure for criticizing their own country had no such luck criticizing Israel firsters or the mere mention of a proven fact of the overrepresentation of Jews in the American media. Worse yet, mention of Palestinian rights is a no-go zone as Marc Lamont Hill was soon to find out. Anti-Zionist Jews themselves are not exempted from this criminalization of criticism of Israel and support for Palestinian rights, as denial of tenure for Norman Finkelstein, himself of Jewish extraction and son of a holocaust survivor after publishing his book aptly labeled The Holocaust Industry. The anti-Semitism card has been, and continues to be a highly effective silencing tool employed in lockstep with the MSM, which itself is largely controlled by Israel firsters. A convergence of supremacist interests – White and Zionist, are on full display.
The craven fear of truth in imperial zones, bordering on psychopathic dread, has sustained systemic racism and hegemonic power domestically and globally. China’s ascendancy in the global economic arena may be a blessing even for those averse to any notions of hegemony. This may, in the end, not become a question of alternative hegemonies, but one of competing hegemonies, and one that might – by default, ensure the safety and relative well-being of those imperiled by a single, dominant White Supremacist one.
Dr. Kweli Nzito is a retired scientist currently living in Thailand.
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