Orientalism And Colonialism Essay, Research Paper
Edward Said describes Orientalism as the
ethnocentric way Europe approaches the Asian territories. Europeans
looked upon the people of the Orient and Arabic states as “gullible” and
“devoid of energy and initiative.” The invasion of European nations
proved a drastic decline in the natural prosperity of every nation they
encountered. Europe forced the destruction of these once great lands
by three methods; Anglo-based propaganda as a method of education, the
deletion of history from the invaded land, as well as, the assimilation
of their culture.
European propagandists played an important
role with the conquering of foreign lands. Domestic support fostered
in the European belief that they were improving the lives of valueless,
shiftless imbeciles. There is no doubt that the West felt significantly
superior to the East. This theory not only holds true to the Arabic
and Asiatic states, but also for colonized countries in South America and
Africa. Europe used their technological might and arrogant
attitude to exploit the globe. However, to gain support of domestic
citizens, European writings were used to paint a picture of a clan of people
living in darkness and void. The scholars of that day carefully
selected the publicity of their new conquests by cloaking it with a sentiment
of charity and Christianity.
Little recognition was given to the past
cultures of these people. The plan was quite simple.
They wanted to invade the territory, strip it of all its history and rebuild
its past in the manner the Europeans saw fit. This is a very wise
move in the tactics to strengthen the West’s cause. Not only does
wreck the morale of the invaded country’s inhabitants, but it sends a loud
and clear message that the history is insignificant and inferior to western
history. Deporting of local treasures, deleting historic
records and documents and defacing historic structures intended locals
to forget about the past grandeur and focus of the supposed bright future
of the West.
The third method used by the Europeans
is the assimilation of culture to the countries they colonized. Eurocentric-based
training and education children of the colonized states proved the modeling
of natives that were European in mind and values however unchanged in the
exterior. By assimilating native culture into their own they gain
more control and authority in that area. Indigenous children learning
western ways of culture and natives who aid in the European exploitation,
successfully gives the West control the land. In addition,
once a new culture is introduced to one generation, the possibility of
successful reinstatement of the past culture is nill.
In my opinion, the entire destruction of
the majority of the world’s nations was caused by Western influence.
Before European intervention, ways of life were individualistic.
In fact, the third world as we know it would not have been so if they were
simply left alone. There are still clans of people in the world
that live a perfectly natural and healthy life with their indigenous ways.
Greed and competition for raw materials caused Europe to branch out and
destroy the ways of life for millions of people around the world.
After decades from the end of colonization, what has the third world received
for the West? For the Aborigines, they have received the affliction
of diabetes. For the Native American, there is an affliction of otherwise
unknown ailments and sexually transmitted diseases. For the Inuit,
they have been stripped of their land and are now the poorest population
in America today. For the African, they have received a triple treat
of enslavement, broken families and the rape of their land’s resources.
Orientalism is quite possibly the most
inhumane theory the world has ever seen. By bringing destruction
in their wake and their dawn, colonization has brought starvation, illness
and poverty to infinite generations. We are now faced with countries
that once ruled the world lying helpless until support comes from the industrialized
nations. Exotic and priceless treasures of ancient civilizations
now lay in the libraries of rich western men. What would possibly
make men do this to millions of men, women, and children? Greed?
Power? I disagree with both, I believe the word is indifference.
This indifference comes from the bitter marriage of social Darwinism and
Any humanist would see that before the
west intervened, each individual culture conformed to their habitat, past
experiences, and past knowledge. Even though they were not “modernized”
they still would have survived on their own just as they had been for centuries.
However, a race of people could not be heartless enough to admit their
destruction with a clear conscious and no remorse. They would not
their pack bags and leave a deserted crippled country.