Before I begin, I want to acknowledge that colonialism, in general, is bad. Regardless of its good intentions, the idea of invading someone else’s land is wrong. There are consequences to every action that leads to future unintended reactions. And no one knows how the past is going to shape its future, even when you are the rich and powerful!
Yet, we are able to see some good about colonialism. Although there are PEACEFUL WAYS of delivering these benefits for the natives!
Here are seven ways on why colonialism is good:
1). Modern medicine
European colonialism bought with it ‘non-native diseases.’ Think smallpox, cholera and more.
At the same time, they were curious about tropical diseases such as malaria. They found a way to cure malaria using quinine.
2). Modern Art
Picasso and Matisse got their inspiration from African tribal art, temples and other treasuries.
The new colours and designs inspire future European designers and architects.
3). Reducing language barriers
Before colonisation, Africa has over 3,000 different languages. When the Europeans came, they got the natives to speak in English, France or German. It helps with the native education.
Also, these European languages help different African tribes to communicate with each other.
We know European invaders are more knowledgeable in science, technology and war.
They introduce to the natives a standardised form of education that put them in good stead.
It helps them to interact with the Europeans.
5). It helped saved Europe from mass starvation
Mass starvations and famines were regular occurrences in Europe.
Some estimate put the number of deaths in millions every decade.
But thanks to the Spanish invasion of Peru, they came across a crop that can deliver them from starvation.
It’s the POTATO!
The crop is full of nutrients, durable and easy to farm. It almost always results in a bumper harvest (don’t mention the Irish potato famine).
All heil the potato.
6). Introducing democracy
People suffer from other peoples’ ambitions and greed, they become dictators.
Democracy helps to settle the score when the PEOPLE get to vote and choose who they want as their leader.
In my humble opinion, democracy helps settle the score to choose a leader that has the most votes.
Yet, being a democratic nation is one-half of the equation. The other half is delivering economic prosperity to its people.
At times democracy faces a crisis when both politics and economic interest become intertwine with each other.
It can lead to a breakdown of democracy in the flavour of another political system.
7). Increased level of peace
Before the European got to Africa or America, the natives were already fighting against an oppressive regime.
When the Europeans came, they created new states in Africa. Thus, forcing rival tribes together to swear allegiances to the Europeans.
That stop the cycle of killing.
Evidence of tribal warfare like the Rwandan genocide in 1994 claimed to kill over 500,000 people. The fighting was between the Tutsi, Twa and the government’s Hutu.
You can read about the Rwandan Genocide from Frugal Keane’s “Season of Blood: A Rwandan Journey.”
Or, by Philip Gourevitch’s “We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families.”
Again, colonialism is bad, regardless of its good intentions. It’s a way to display your strength on the weaker side.
These benefits to poorer and weaker nations should have been done through peaceful diplomacy.
Did you like this opinion piece or think it is far-fetched? Please comment below.