Orientalism and Colonialism Orientalism and Colonialism 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 old-fashioned insolence. 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.