european expansion

If you were visiting a Mediterranean harbour anywhere fro the 11th to the 19th century, you would have heard a strange yet familiar language.

Se ti saber, ti responder. Se non saber, tazir, tazir. *

Understood from Valencia to Istanbul, from Tunis to Venice, this was the language of commerce and diplomacy and commonly used among European renegades and the captives of the Algerian pirates.

This language, Lingua Franca or Sabir, flourished in the 10th century and was based on Toscan Italian and Occitan. (Back then, Catalan was a dialect of Occitan, so count us in as well!). It incorporated words from Arabic, Greek, Amazigh and Turkish, and later from Portuguese, French and Spanish, too.

[Image: expansion of the Kingdom of Catalonia and Aragon (green), its Consulates of the Sea (dots), and commercial expansion (orange lines). It is not hard to see why Sabir had such influence of Catalan.]

In the 19th century, with the expansion of European colonialism in northern Africa, Sabir was replaced by the colonizer’s languages.

Nowadays, lingua franca is used to mean any language or dialect which is used to communicate by people who speak different languages (nowadays, mainly English). This term originates from the Mediterranean Lingua Franca.

Sabir left traces in present Algerian slang and Polari, and even in geographical names. It also appears in literary works and theatre plays like Molière’s Le Bourgeois gentilhomme and different tales by Cervantes.

“Modernity” is in reality just another name for the European project of unlimited expansion undertaken in the final years of the eighteenth century.
—  Achille Mbembe, The Critique of Black Reason (54)

[T]he question of what constitutes European modernity is a complicated story of genocide, slavery, ecocide, and, most strikingly, the production of a new world not just for those colonized and enslaved but for those engaged in the project of expansion as well. The New World moniker is not a sentimental or history-denying term, but it does reference the brutal realities of life in the Americas as the bedrock of European modernity and its satellite campuses like Canada. The Enlightenment’s naming and ordering of peoples, places, and things has bequeathed to us those namings and orders as the very terms through which it might be challenged. The Haitian revolution of 1791 took up liberty as its central rallying cry from the same French Revolution that sought to crush it. In our time we have become Black and Aboriginal, among other names we have been forced to take on, and internalized them out of the very cartographies of Europe’s global expansion since the fifteenth century. It is indeed these names that only partially make sense in the logics of, and appeals to, the invented genres of European Man that apologies are meant to assuage. The question we are often faced with is: how are we to make other conceptions of being human and of traversing the globe appear? What intellectual, political, and cultural—not to mention economical—space do different conceptions of human life have to offer our present globalized, networked humanity?

In my view the politics of reconciliation throws these questions up without offering answers. The politics of reconciliation ask us to come into the apology as the people Europe invented, not as people we once were. And one cannot be romantic about a past, given that how history has intervened to be a part of the conversation often means one must in some way work with Europe’s violently profound re-ordering of the globe and the peoples within. Thus, one is often left asking: what is being reconciled, with whom, and to what?

Reconciliation suggests a past action. It suggests that some wrongdoing has been done for which the possibility of forgiveness is an act of coming together again. Reconciliation suggests a significant rupture of some kind has occurred. Above I have suggested that European colonial expansion from the fifteenth century onwards produced a rupture in the Americas, which in part produced the settler colonial nation-state of Canada, which also produced new states of/for being indigenous peoples and belatedly African peoples. Those kinds of collective namings—Indigenous, African, Indian, Asian, and even European—are the cataloguing evidence of the historical rupture for which European Man comes to overrepresent itself
as if it was indeed Man. As Paul Gilroy suggests, the “[b]lood–saturated histories of colonisation and conquest are rarely allowed to disrupt that triumphalist tale,” and one that apologies and the politics of reconciliation attempt to make invisible in the contemporary moment. Thus reconciliation also suggests a certain kind of suturing is possible in the aftermath of the brutalities that makes it a necessary response in the first place. But what reconciliation does not appear to do is dismantle the institutional basis of the present arrangements of human life. Reconciliation does not ask us to rethink where we are; it asks us to accept the present as an accumulation of injuries for which apologies must suffice as the entry into the flawed ecocidal, genocidal, anti-human, late-modern world still premised on Europe’s partial conception of the human as the only option for being human in this world. Reconciliation might provide us a view towards new and, or more, hopeful human relations, but it does not allow us to seriously grapple with the brutalities that have brought us together in these new geo-political zones and their multiple disadvantaged relations of Europe’s invented Others. 

“Into the Ranks of Man: Vicious Modernism and the Politics of Reconciliation”, Rinaldo Walcott

The state of Israel was achieved by means of a Zionist colonization of Palestine, a colonization that continues today on remaining Palestinian land. To provide historical context, it is useful to review the general nature of colonization, as well as the defining European attitudes toward colonization during the late nineteenth century when Zionism began.

A working definition of colonialism might be “the policy of a state or a national group seeking to extend its authority or formal control over another peoples’ territory, usually through force and migration of its own settlers.” Colonization is usually imposed by a mother state though it can also be imposed by a nationality or people without a state.

The Zionist colonization of Palestine, like that of North America by the Europeans, is primarily that of the settler type involving displacement of the indigenous (native) population and replacement by the colonist’s own settler population. It may be contrasted with the commercial type of colonialism in which the indigenous population is retained as a source of cheap labor and future market, (e.g., the British colonization of India). Although the Zionist colonization of Palestine was intended to be, and ultimately became, that of the settler type, there were long periods during which the commercial aspect (retention of local Palestinian-Arab labor) remained. As to be expected, settler colonizations, with their dispossession of indigenous populations, are marked by conflict between the colonist and colonized. Maxime Rodinson observes:

Wanting to create a purely Jewish, or predominantly Jewish, state in Arab Palestine in the twentieth century could not help but lead to a colonial-type situation and to development of a racist state of mind, and in the final analysis, to a military confrontation.

Historically, justifications for colonialism have been linked to ethnocentric beliefs about the colonialists superior national character and culture. Consequently, colonization has typically been rationalized as good for those colonized. The spread of nineteenth-century-European colonialism throughout Africa, Asia and the Americas was considered by the Europeans to be their gift of high civilization to the natives—a more or less “altruistic” injection of high culture, religion, and national character that could only be an advance for backward peoples. Herzl, the father of political Zionism envisioned a Jewish state in Palestine as “an outpost of civilization against barbarism.” Although most Europeans viewed the natives around the world as genetically inferior—viewed them as “a kind of undifferentiated brown-stuff” (Orwell)—others more generously saw the natives as a backward yet earlier form of the European himself. In either view, colonization was considered to be a gift. Some viewed this injection of civilization to be the ultimate path to world peace. …Moreover, the natives, seen as devoid of government, culture, civilization, or political significance, would, it was claimed, profit from proper government imposed by Europeans. The Palestinians, for example, were dismissed by most Zionists as politically and culturally unworthy, an insignificant people who could only improve under Jewish rule.

In the mid-nineteenth century, colonization of other peoples was still well accepted. Metternich asserted that colonies could be “freely placed, not in opposition to but in the midst of more or less backward peoples.” At the time of the First Zionist World Conference in 1897, colonial expansionism was still the accepted “way of the world.” It was a time when Herzl was comfortable writing about the “expropriation” of Palestine for a future Jewish state and a necessity to “spirit the penniless population” across the border to Arab countries. Maxime Rodinson notes that colonizations by the Zionists and Europeans seemed “perfectly natural, given the atmosphere of the time.”

[Herzl’s plan] unquestionably fit into the great movement of European expansion in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the great European imperialist groundswell. There is no reason whatsoever to be surprised or even indignant at this. Except for a section of the European socialist parties and a few rare revolutionary and liberal elements, colonization at the time was essentially taken to mean the spreading of progress, civilization and well-being. …There is no need for us to moralize by applying to the Zionist leaders or masses of that time criteria that have become common today. But neither do we have the right to deny that their attitude was what it was, nor to disregard its objective consequences.

The Dark Side of Zionism: Israel’s Quest for Security Through Dominance. Baylis Thomas. 2009.

i have some quotes from the jewish state by herzl queued up and it’s so funny how zionists can deny that israel is a settler colonial state when:

a. zionism emerged around the time european colonial expansion was considered acceptable

b. theodor herzl literally calls palestinians barbaric and expresses the same sentiment towards them as other european colonialists expressed towards their subjects

c. herzl explicitly uses the words “occupation” and “occupying land” when describing the jewish takeover of palestine and proceeds to explain how exactly jews will take control of the land

obviously zionists have not read the work of their beloved father of zionism because if they had, they would be swallowing their own words.


October 12th 1492: Columbus lands in the Americas

On this day in 1492 the Genoese explorer Christopher Columbus landed in the Bahamas, thus ‘discovering’ the Americas, though he believed he had found India. He claimed the land for Spain, as his voyage had been sponsored by the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, and in his next three voyages claimed more areas of South America. His arrival ushered in a new era of European exploration and colonisation of the Americas, which included the expeditions of Spanish conquistadors in Mexico and Puritan settlers in New England. This day is celebrated in America as ‘Columbus Day’, though many now consider the day a distasteful celebration of an event that was followed by persecution and attempted genocide of indigenous Americans. Columbus’s arrival in America marked a major turning point in world history, as it set the stage for the expansion of European empires and trading routes through ruthless colonisation.

poo189  asked:

I'm a history major, and I tell you right now, people who are offended by Columbus Day are too sensitive. This day celebrates an explorer going through uncharted waters and leading to European expansion, which in turn makes the world we have today. It doesn't celebrate slavery. EVERYONE had slaves or would have happily had slaves back then. We might as well be offended by 'talk like a pirate day' since Pirates were actual thieves and murderers. Calm down everyone

Watch on

 Racism: A History [2007] - Episode 2/3: Fatal Impacts

-This Documentary series explores the scientific, social and political Racism. Which when hand  with European expansion, an ideology that drew on now discredited practices such as phrenology and provided an ideological justification for racism and slavery. These theories ultimately led to eugenics and Nazi racial policies of the master race. This has some upsetting scenes.

Areas where it is inaccurate: Britain was not the first Nation to Abolish slavery it was Haiti.

anonymous asked:

The Taliban wouldn't have been using IEDs if you weren't there.

Bullshit.  They were using IEDs and other forms of violence on their own population before we were there.  And we wouldn’t have been there if they hadn’t blown up the WTC.  And they wouldn’t have blown up the WTC if we hadn’t trained them to fight the soviets in the 80′s and then left them hanging.  And we wouldn’t have done that if…. ad nauseum all the way back to Franz Ferdinand’s assassination and the colonial expansion of European power hundreds of years before that.  You can trace this shit all the way back to the Roman empire, so don’t give me that bullshit.