imperial apologists... a poisonous fairytale

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by armchair_jihad, Jun 28, 2006.

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  1. Ladies and Gentlemen your attention please! In answer to the popular Imperialism threads on ARRSE and in the interest of a balanced debate may I present the Guardians retort, snappily titled -

    'The story peddled by imperial apologists is a poisonous fairytale. Neocon ideologues are being given free rein by the media to rewrite the history of Britain's empire and whitewash its crimes'

    by a Mr Priyamvada Gopal who lectures in 'Postcolonial studies' at Cambridge University (on your taxes) and is the author of the bestselling 'Literary Radicalism in India: Gender, Nation and the Transition to Independence',,1807335,00.html

    I recommend it for its comedy value, including the Guardian readers comments at the end.

    should any of you wish to continue the debate with this renowned academic, his email address is
  2. Umm, unless she has had a sex change pretty darn sure that Mr Priyamvada Gopal is a Ms.
    But the less I say on the subject the better!
    PPS: She ain't a historian.
  3. Sorry Castlereagh showing my undoubted ignorance there always glad to corrected
  4. Utter twaddle from another pink panty wearing, treehugging, sandle wearing, meusli eating, nonsense writing Academic funded by the British public.

    I have been about the diminishing Empire [most has gone now] and everywhere I went they wanted the British straight back to sort the damnable mess they'd got themselves into.

    Won't be long before some self-important pr@t flies to Africa and prostrates himself in a gesture of an apology because we bought a load of slaves from a business minded Zulu a few hundred years mark my words.
  5. Bouillabaisse

    Bouillabaisse LE Book Reviewer

    Ms Gopal is an expert in feminist studies and a graduate of Delhi University, so she's a good advertisement for the counter arguement to her thesis and a prime advertisement for the spread of Anglo-Saxon liberal cultural and for the British Empire.
  6. She should be so lucky to be in a position to voice her issues and lecture at a university. If it wasnt for the Great British Empire she would be probably working as a farm hand in some backwater, and would certainly not have a Commonwealth passport that grants her rights and privalages to reside and work here
  7. She has real issues with Neil Ferguson (who's excellent book 'Empire' I've just finished). Professional jelousy perhaps? I like her comments about how rebellions were put down because the natives wanted to farm their own land. This would be the same type of farming as is now taking place in Zim would it? No wonder the authorities had to grip them. It was either that or mass starvation. Her comment about the cloth trade in India is a bit of a joke too. Yes, they did have better quality cloth, but they did not have an industrial revolution which mass produced it and drove down the cost. This is why we buy cheap eastern european produced Volkswagens and not expensive UK produced cars (bad anology I know).
    She does come across as one of those annoying ranty people who appear on TV and just raise their voice, interrupt and generally get annoying to try and win an argument.
  8. Bang on imho. No one pretends that the British Empire was a selfless expression of altruism but compared to the inevitable alternative of rule by our contemporaries it stands up well.

    With the Spanish dishing out 'Catholicism or death' and the Belgians prefering 'death or slow death' the old BE was not so bad at all and I agree with M_2003 above, many post-colonial countries are such a mess they would have us back in a heartbeat.
  9. This was one of the comments below the article.

    I'll bet this person is not one of the ones starving in Zim at the moment carting carrier bags full of cash around to buy the most basic of goods.
  10. No time for Empire bashers, there wouldn't even be an India if not for the British Empire.

    Look at those that came before we did, you think some Muslim Nawab, or the Islamic Mughal Empire, was just peachy with their Hindu subjects? Is some absolute monarch maharajah "self determination"?

    Ahh, the glorious days before us.
  11. I was in Sudan twice (Khartoum and its local out back areas) in 2003 and was talking to a UN guy who had been up north. He told me they had entered a village that had not seen a foreigner for years only to have a Sudanese man hug and embrace him and not let go while shedding loads of tears. He thought the British had returned to take over power again and everything would be better in a year or two, he was distraught when he was told that no the British were not returning and that it was only the UN.

    There was plenty of old beford lorries left by us in 1956 still being used for military and civilian transport around the capitol as well, and any of the really imosing buildings were the old colonial buildings.

  12. "Won't be long before some self-important pr@t flies to Africa and prostrates himself in a gesture of an apology because we bought a load of slaves from a business minded Zulu a few hundred years mark my words. "

    Sorry to say, but I'm sure I saw a report of just that nature in the paper a few days ago. Some utter nobody went to Ghana to apologise.

    I'd like an apology from the north african countries for their part in the slave trade. I was in Oslo the other week and found a fascinating exhibition about European slaves in Africa. Did you know that until the end of the 18th Century African slavers used to sail off the UK coastline and as far afield as Iceland to raid ships, then drag the prisoners back to Africa for use as slaves? And that there was a slave relief fund which existed to free captured slaves? Or did you know how the Africans used to torture many innocent europeans to death, for no reason other than their own entertainment? Hmm, anyone else spot the silence of the Left on this issue?
  13. Don't forget the African free State of Benin - another example of how 'happy Africans lived free from the yoke of Western imperialists'...


    The African kingdom of Dahomey originated in Benin. By the 17th century, the kingdom, ruled by an oba, stretched beyond the borders of present-day Benin, covering a large part of West-Africa.
    Dahomey was known for its distinct culture and traditions. Starting in 1729, Dahomey started a female army system, with legislation stating that all females would be inspected by the authorities at the age of 15. Those that were determined to be beautiful would be sent to the Palace to become royal wives while those that were ill or physically unattractive were executed, and the remainder were trained as soldiers for a period of two years. Human sacrifice was a common practice; on holidays and special occasions, thousands of slaves and prisoners of war were sacrifices for gods and ancestors.

    The slave trade was active for almost three hundred years. Dahomey had the habit of going inland for slave hunts every month, they ravaged villages and captured slaves for domestic use (also sacrifices) or to export to European countries. Due to the amount of Human sacrifices, the amount of slaves exported decreased from 20,000 in the end of the seventeenth century to 12,000 in the beginning of the 1800's; the decline is partly due to many colonial countries declaring slave trade illegal.

    Edited to add source.
  14. If we were so bad, may I suggest we bin the Coomonwealth? Isn't it a reminder of our evil Empire?
  15. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Strewth this is all very near the of the reasons I am struggling ( part from being thick ) with my current OU course is the unending Left Wing slant that the course material labours under.

    Here's a fairly typical extract from the chapter on 'The power of Colonial States "

    I listen to the course cassettes (quaint huh? ) on the way into work...passers-by will have seen me bellowing red-faced at the radio. One such incident was caused when I heard the female 'War Studies ' "expert" from Sussex University declaring quite unblushingly that:

    " counter insurgency was invented by the Americans following the succesful guerilla tactics introduced by Mao and Che Guevara " :frustrated:

    Le Chevre