Παρασκευή, 5 Σεπτεμβρίου 2008

Elegant Colonialism

γράφει ο Rami Khouri

The agreement signed 30 August 2008, which sees Italy apologize and pay $5 billion in compensation for its colonial rule and misdeeds in Libya, is a powerful example of why it is so important to acknowledge that which many of our friends in the West constantly tell us to put behind us: history.

History matters, and endures, and its consequences constantly must be grasped, not ignored. In this case, we witness neither the end narabworld5or the resumption of history, but the neutralization of one aspect of history as a fractious force of resentment and discord.

History for many in the West -- especially the history of West's colonialism and imperialism in Asia, the Middle East and Africa -- is something to skim through in a high school class, and then to relegate to the past as irrelevant to today's conflicts and tensions. For many people in the former colonized world, however, history is a deep and open wound that still oozes pain and distortion. Libya is a classic example of colonialism's twisted and enduring legacy of nearly dysfunctional states governed by corrupt and often incompetent elites, whose people never have a chance to validate either the configuration of statehood or the exercise of power.

History is very much an active force in much of the Middle East today. It manifests itself, for example, in the form of bitter memories of the West's behavior in the past (Iran, Palestine), and explaijns the lot of poor and fragmenting countries that have never made a coherent transition to stable statehood, legitimate sovereignty, or credible governance.

Originally posted at Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and you may read the whole article here:

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