A definition of colonialism
Colonialism refers to the arrangement taken by a country or society to take over full or partial political control. Upon takeover, the dominating country fills the host with its settlers and proceeds to exploit the host economically and socially. Its mandate then turns to the expansion of the colony and persistent domination (Césaire 41).
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Aimé Césaire – Europe is a sick civilization
Even as many refugees seek to enter European nations due to war, some nations like Britain still consider them marauders escaping poverty. With a population of about 740 million, Europe is hypocritical claiming that the arrival of fewer than 1 million people into the region can lead to its economic collapse. Rather than help others as part of humanity, the civilization of Europe only seeks gains. It would rather shut others out because they are yet to appear exploitable in any way. The action of Europe, in its quest for civilization, has been without any human value. It is a fact that current progress in Europe is the result of tremendous inhumanity across the world. Tolerance towards harmful practices has also created a regression and a continued movement towards savagery (Césaire 35-36).
Summary of current refugee crises in Europe
About half a million refugees have arrived at European shores since January 2015. A significant number of refugees coming to Europe in the recent surge are from Syria. In September, 51,000 people crossed from Syria into Croatia. The United Nations reports that half a million refugees are leaving their homes because of civil war. Other than Syrians, making up half of the population, there are about 13% Afghans, 7% Eritreans, and the rest coming from other top refugee-producing nations (McHugh Para. 3-4). Most of the refugees are men accounting for 69 per cent of the total number, while women are 18 per cent and children are 13 per cent. These are the numbers for the current year only. Many of the refugees get to Europe through assistance from smugglers. Nations on the Mediterranean Sea have been the biggest recipients of the smuggled refugees.
Most nations have closed borders after the sudden influx of refugees to their countries. These are mainly Eastern European countries like Hungary lacking capacity to provide for all the refugees seeking to enter the country and closing the borders has disrupted refugee routes to other European countries like Austria and Germany. Refugees appear attracted to northern European nations. This explains why many of them do not seek asylum in the initial countries that they reach. Other than closing borders, some nations have come out strongly with a quota. They are willing to accept a particular number of refugees over a given period. The UK wants to accept only 20,000 refugees in the next five years. Germany wants to accept 800,000 refugees by the end of 2015 (McHugh Para. 8-10). However, the countries continue to close their borders, and refugees must first seek asylum status before being let in.
Overall policy changes for the European Union include the adoption of country quotas for accepting refugees so that the continent shares the burden according to the capacity of respective nations. Those supporting the plan see it as a way to deal with European problems of an ageing population and dwindling affordable labour supply. For Eastern Europe nations, a preferred response has been to build walls and make barbed-wire fences that keep refugees away. Policies are influenced by fears of Muslim invasion, economic difficulties, social challenges (McHugh par. 10-15).
Relation between the current crisis and the legacy of colonialism
Poison has been distilled into the veins of Europe is a phrase that Aimé Césaire uses to explain the profound source of the current problems that Europe is facing regarding its relationship with societies that it colonized. Besides, the author points out that the existing definition of humanity, which narrows it to a regard for human rights, is narrow and fragmentary. As an incomplete definition, it supports the discrimination of people based on their relation to power. It allows the bourgeoisie to twist circumstances for the protection of these rights to suit their interests (Césaire 37). Eventually, it has created humanity crises all around itself, hence the influx of refugees (Tisdall Para. 19).
Europe chose to exploit idle resources in the rest of the world, with the idea that populations living in areas where the resources were would continue leaving them idle because they were incompetent. In this regard, Europe saw it as a right to push through with whatever policy that it saw fit to meet its interests. Right now, many Europeans do not want the skeletons of colonization pulled out because they show the dehumanization of even the most civilized people in the world. On the other hand, there are signs that are impossible to make amends, but for the forceful conquests and the furnishing of the colonial enterprise whose ideology exists even in the invasion of the Middle East, the result is the mass movements of people away from the destroyed regions (Césaire 42).
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Through colonization and eventual treatment of different societies deemed inferior by European powers, there was systematic draining of essence, trampling of cultures and undermining of institutions. In other cases, land confiscation, the smashing of religion and destruction of artistic creation was common. These actions are copied by current destructive regimes in the Middle East that is taking over after the European influence. On the other hand, people’s ability to achieve extraordinary possibilities in their lives is no more (Césaire 43).
Césaire, Aimé. Discourse on Colonialism. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2000. Print.
McHugh, Jess. “Refugee Crisis 2015 Explained: Who is Coming to Europe; Where They’re Headed and Why.” IBTimes, 2015. Web.
Tisdall, Simon. “Migrant Crisis: West Reaps what it Has Sown.” CNN, 2015. Web.