Quotes About Colonialism

Quotes tagged as "colonialism" (showing 1-30 of 161)
Edward Said
“You cannot continue to victimize someone else just because you yourself were a victim once—there has to be a limit”
Edward Said

Martin Luther King Jr.
“Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shore, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it. Our children are still taught to respect the violence which reduced a red-skinned people of an earlier culture into a few fragmented groups herded into impoverished reservations.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

Christopher Hitchens
“Actually—and this was where I began to feel seriously uncomfortable—some such divine claim underlay not just 'the occupation' but the whole idea of a separate state for Jews in Palestine. Take away the divine warrant for the Holy Land and where were you, and what were you? Just another land-thief like the Turks or the British, except that in this case you wanted the land without the people. And the original Zionist slogan—'a land without a people for a people without a land'—disclosed its own negation when I saw the densely populated Arab towns dwelling sullenly under Jewish tutelage. You want irony? How about Jews becoming colonizers at just the moment when other Europeans had given up on the idea?”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir

Barack Obama
“The worst thing that colonialism did was to cloud our view of our past.”
Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

Sukarno
“I hate imperialism. I detest colonialism. And I fear the consequences of their last bitter struggle for life. We are determined, that our nation, and the world as a whole, shall not be the play thing of one small corner of the world”
Sukarno

Kurt Vonnegut
“The darkest secret of this country, I am afraid, is that too many of its citizens imagine that they belong to a much higher civilization somewhere else. That higher civilization doesn’t have to be another country. It can be the past instead—the United States as it was before it was spoiled by immigrants and the enfranchisement of the blacks.

This state of mind allows too many of us to lie and cheat and steal from the rest of us, to sell us junk and addictive poisons and corrupting entertainments. What are the rest of us, after all, but sub-human aborigines?”
Kurt Vonnegut, Bluebeard

Christopher Hitchens
“Suppose that a man leaps out of a burning building—as my dear friend and colleague Jeff Goldberg sat and said to my face over a table at La Tomate in Washington not two years ago—and lands on a bystander in the street below. Now, make the burning building be Europe, and the luckless man underneath be the Palestinian Arabs. Is this a historical injustice? Has the man below been made a victim, with infinite cause of complaint and indefinite justification for violent retaliation? My own reply would be a provisional 'no,' but only on these conditions. The man leaping from the burning building must still make such restitution as he can to the man who broke his fall, and must not pretend that he never even landed on him. And he must base his case on the singularity and uniqueness of the original leap. It can't, in other words, be 'leap, leap, leap' for four generations and more. The people underneath cannot be expected to tolerate leaping on this scale and of this duration, if you catch my drift. In Palestine, tread softly, for you tread on their dreams. And do not tell the Palestinians that they were never fallen upon and bruised in the first place. Do not shame yourself with the cheap lie that they were told by their leaders to run away. Also, stop saying that nobody knew how to cultivate oranges in Jaffa until the Jews showed them how. 'Making the desert bloom'—one of Yvonne's stock phrases—makes desert dwellers out of people who were the agricultural superiors of the Crusaders.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir

Chinua Achebe
“Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”
Chinua Achebe

“Though many non-Native Americans have learned very little about us, over time we have had to learn everything about them. We watch their films, read their literature, worship in their churches, and attend their schools. Every third-grade student in the United States is presented with the concept of Europeans discovering America as a "New World" with fertile soil, abundant gifts of nature, and glorious mountains and rivers. Only the most enlightened teachers will explain that this world certainly wasn't new to the millions of indigenous people who already lived here when Columbus arrived.”
Wilma Mankiller, Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
“Why did Africa let Europe cart away millions of Africa's souls from the continent to the four corners of the wind? How could Europe lord it over a continent ten times its size? Why does needy Africa continue to let its wealth meet the needs of those outside its borders and then follow behind with hands outstretched for a loan of the very wealth it let go? How did we arrive at this, that the best leader is the one that knows how to beg for a share of what he has already given away at the price of a broken tool? Where is the future of Africa?”
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Wizard of the Crow

Christopher Hitchens
“Long before it was known to me as a place where my ancestry was even remotely involved, the idea of a state for Jews (or a Jewish state; not quite the same thing, as I failed at first to see) had been 'sold' to me as an essentially secular and democratic one. The idea was a haven for the persecuted and the survivors, a democracy in a region where the idea was poorly understood, and a place where—as Philip Roth had put it in a one-handed novel that I read when I was about nineteen—even the traffic cops and soldiers were Jews. This, like the other emphases of that novel, I could grasp. Indeed, my first visit was sponsored by a group in London called the Friends of Israel. They offered to pay my expenses, that is, if on my return I would come and speak to one of their meetings.

I still haven't submitted that expenses claim. The misgivings I had were of two types, both of them ineradicable. The first and the simplest was the encounter with everyday injustice: by all means the traffic cops were Jews but so, it turned out, were the colonists and ethnic cleansers and even the torturers. It was Jewish leftist friends who insisted that I go and see towns and villages under occupation, and sit down with Palestinian Arabs who were living under house arrest—if they were lucky—or who were squatting in the ruins of their demolished homes if they were less fortunate. In Ramallah I spent the day with the beguiling Raimonda Tawil, confined to her home for committing no known crime save that of expressing her opinions. (For some reason, what I most remember is a sudden exclamation from her very restrained and respectable husband, a manager of the local bank: 'I would prefer living under a Bedouin muktar to another day of Israeli rule!' He had obviously spent some time thinking about the most revolting possible Arab alternative.) In Jerusalem I visited the Tutungi family, who could produce title deeds going back generations but who were being evicted from their apartment in the old city to make way for an expansion of the Jewish quarter. Jerusalem: that place of blood since remote antiquity. Jerusalem, over which the British and French and Russians had fought a foul war in the Crimea, and in the mid-nineteenth century, on the matter of which Christian Church could command the keys to some 'holy sepulcher.' Jerusalem, where the anti-Semite Balfour had tried to bribe the Jews with the territory of another people in order to seduce them from Bolshevism and continue the diplomacy of the Great War. Jerusalem: that pest-house in whose environs all zealots hope that an even greater and final war can be provoked. It certainly made a warped appeal to my sense of history.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir

Christopher Hitchens
“I regard anti-Semitism as ineradicable and as one element of the toxin with which religion has infected us. Perhaps partly for this reason, I have never been able to see Zionism as a cure for it. American and British and French Jews have told me with perfect sincerity that they are always prepared for the day when 'it happens again' and the Jew-baiters take over. (And I don't pretend not to know what they are talking about: I have actually seen the rabid phenomenon at work in modern and sunny Argentina and am unable to forget it.) So then, they seem to think, they will take refuge in the Law of Return, and in Haifa, or for all I know in Hebron. Never mind for now that if all of world Jewry did settle in Palestine, this would actually necessitate further Israeli expansion, expulsion, and colonization, and that their departure under these apocalyptic conditions would leave the new brownshirts and blackshirts in possession of the French and British and American nuclear arsenals. This is ghetto thinking, hardly even fractionally updated to take into account what has changed. The important but delayed realization will have to come: Israeli Jews are a part of the diaspora, not a group that has escaped from it. Why else does Israel daily beseech the often-flourishing Jews of other lands, urging them to help the most endangered Jews of all: the ones who rule Palestine by force of arms? Why else, having supposedly escaped from the need to rely on Gentile goodwill, has Israel come to depend more and more upon it? On this reckoning, Zionism must constitute one of the greatest potential non sequiturs in human history.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir

Frantz Fanon
“Colinialism hardly ever exploits the whole of a country. It contents itself with bringing to light the natrual resources, which it extracts, and exports to meet the needs of the mother country's industries, thereby allowing certain sectors of the colony to become relatively rich. But the rest of the colony follows its path of under-development and poverty, or at all events sinks into it more deeply.”
Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

Frantz Fanon
“To speak pidgin to a Negro makes him angry, because he himself is a pidgin-nigger-talker. But, I will be told, there is no wish, no intention to anger him. I grant this; but it is just this absence of wish, this lack of interest, this indifference, this automatic manner of classifying him, imprisoning him, primitivizing him, decivilizing him, that makes him angry.

If a man who speaks pidgin to a man of color or an Arab does not see anything wrong or evil in such behavior, it is because he has never stopped to think.”
Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

Arundhati Roy
“It is such a supreme folly to believe that nuclear weapons are deadly only if they're used. The fact that they exist at all, their presence in our lives, will wreak more havoc than we can begin to fathom. Nuclear weapons pervade our thinking. Control our behavior. Administer our societies. Inform our dreams. They bury themselves like meat hooks deep in the base of our brains. They are purveyors of madness. They are the ultimate colonizer. Whiter than any white man that ever lived. The very heart of whiteness.”
Arundhati Roy, The Cost of Living

Edward Said
“كلما ازداد تعدي أوروبا على الشرق في القرن التاسع عشر ازدادت ثقة الجمهور [الغربي] بالإستشراق. لكنه إذا كانت هذه الزيادة في الثقة قد تزامنت مع نقصان الإصالة، فلا ينبغي لنا أن ندهش كثيراً، لأن أسلوب الإستشراق منذ البداية كان يقوم على إعادة البناء والتكرار”
Edward Said, Orientalism

“When two brothers are busy fighting, an evil man can easily attack and rob their poor mother. Mankind should always stay united, standing shoulder to shoulder so evil can never cheat and divide them.”
Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

Thomas Pynchon
“Colonies are the outhouses of the European soul, where a fellow can let his pants down and relax, enjoy the smell of his own shit.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

Malcolm X
“America is subsidizing what is left of the prestige and strength of the once mighty Britain. The sun has set forever on that monocled, pith-helmeted resident colonialist, sipping tea with his delicate lady in the non-white colonies being systematically robbed of every valuable resource. Britain's superfluous royalty and nobility now exist by charging tourists to inspect the once baronial castles, and by selling memoirs, perfumes, autographs, titles, and even themselves.”
Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

George Orwell
“A dull, decent people, cherishing and fortifying their dullness behind a quarter of a million bayonets.”
George Orwell, Burmese Days

Joseph Conrad
“She walked with measured steps, draped in striped and fringed cloths, treading the earth proudly, with a slight jingle and flash of barbarous ornaments. She carried her head high; her hair was done in the shape of a helmet; she had brass leggings to the knee, brass wire gauntlets to the elbow, a crimson spot on her tawny cheek, innumerable necklaces of glass beads on her neck; bizarre things, charms, gifts of witch-men, that hung about her, glittered and trembled at every step. She must have had the value of several elephant tusks upon her. She was savage and superb, wild-eyed and magnificent; there was something ominous and stately in her deliberate progress. And in the hush that had fallen suddenly upon the whole sorrowful land, the immense wilderness, the colossal body of the pensive, as though it had been looking at the image of its own tenebrous and passionate soul.”
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

“Les personnages de nos autres vies sont des fantômes que la littérature fait revivre.”
Olivier Weber

“No one starts a war warning that those involved will lose their innocence - that children will definitely die and be forever lost as a result of the conflict; that the war will not end for generations and generations, even after cease-fires have been declared and peace treaties have been signed. No one starts a war that way, but they should. It would at least be fair warning and an honest admission: even a good war - if there is such a thing - will kill anyone old enough to die.”
Alexandra Fulller

Tariq Ali
“[Taken from a BBC documentary]

Tariq was born in Lahore, now in Pakistan, then part of British-ruled India, in 1943. A Catholic school education did nothing to shake his life-long atheism, which he shared with his communist parents.”
Tariq Ali

Thomas Pynchon
“What's a colony without its dusky natives? Where's the fun if they're all going to die off? Just a big chunk of desert, no more maids, no field-hands, no laborers for the construction or the mining--wait, wait a minute there, yes it's Karl Marx, that sly old racist skipping away with his teeth together and his eyebrows up trying to make believe it's nothing but Cheap Labor and Overseas Markets... Oh, no. Colonies are much, much more. Colonies are the outhouses of the European soul, where a fellow can let his pants down and relax, enjoy the smell of his own shit. Where he can fall on his slender prey roaring as loud as he feels like, and guzzle her blood with open joy. Eh? Where he can just wallow and rut and let himself go in a softness, a receptive darkness of limbs, of hair as woolly as the hair on his own forbidden genitals. Where the poppy, and the cannabis and coca grow full and green, and not to the colors and style of death, as do ergot and agaric, the blight and fungus native to Europe. Christian Europe was always death, Karl, death and repression. Out and down in the colonies, life can be indulged, life and sensuality in all its forms, with no harm done to the Metropolis, nothing to soil those cathedrals, white marble statues, noble thoughts... No word ever gets back. The silences down here are vast enough to absorb all behavior, no matter how dirty, how animal it gets....”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

“This is where people misunderstand war. When you attack another country for its resources, you are the pirate. But when you protect your country from the pirates, you are the hero.”
Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

E.M. Forster
“And Englishmen like posing as gods.”
E.M. Forster

Nayana Currimbhoy
“I really knew nothing about the dancing habits of the Scottish. But I wanted to help. "I could teach them Indian folk dances," I offered, scrounging my mind for school dances in gaudy garments.

"Well, I'm not sure that they would be complex enough for competitions," she said. Pursing her lips, she blushed a dark, deep red. I knew I had said something wrong, but it took me a few days to understand the reason for Miss Manson's disapproval and discomfort. She blushed a beetroot red because I had unwittingly questioned the core belief of the school: British was Better.”
Nayana Currimbhoy, Miss Timmins' School for Girls

“Modern colonialism won its great victories not so much through its military and technological prowess as through its ability to create secular hierarchies incompatible with the traditional order.”
Ashis Nandy, The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism

“In fact, the anti-Muslim stance of much of Hindu nationalism can be construed as partly a displaced hostility against the colonial power which could not be expressed directly because of the new legitimacy created within Hinduism for this power. Such a dynamic would seem to roughly duplicate the displacement of Oedipal hostilities in the authoritarian personality.”
Ashis Nandy, The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism

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