Tag: Colonialism

JANGALI: 1947

 

EVERY YEAR, about October/November a cattle tax of one-shilling-a-head was levied on every bull, steer, cow or calf throughout all the cattle-holding provinces of Northern Nigeria. This was in accordance with the principle that in order to establish sovereignty of the Crown, every adult in the territory had to pay an appropriate yearly tax to the government. Each Native Authority was responsible for collecting the tax in its own area. The greater part of it was retained by the NA that collected it, and this paid for the salaries of its servants and for the public services that it provided, but a small portion each year was directed to the central government and was then paid into various local government treasuries, thereby maintaining the principle of an appropriate tribute.

Farmers, craftsmen, and employees paid haraji (general tax) set at around ten shillings a head each, while traders, entrepreneurs, and the wealthy were assessed by the NA at sums that could go as high as 10% of estimated profits. (Complaints were heard through a formal review process led by the District Officer, and could result in the tax being decreased or, in rare cases, increased.) In really primitive areas things were simpler, with living-huts being made the basis of taxation and assessed at one shilling each per annum. Nomads, however, who were never settled in any one place, created their own problems and chief amongst these was the question of what to do about taxing the Bororoji (wandering Fulani).

For centuries, the Fulani people had been regarded as an elite. By the eighteenth century, they had fully emerged all over the Western Sudan as brave, resourceful, learned, competent, and capable, with a bent for religious orthodoxy and proselytization, as well as for administration and government.

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For decades, the Left has attacked colonialism. Under it, stronger countries would take over weaker ones. In the new version, approved by the Left, open borders can result in the indigenous population being overwhelmed by immigrants and the country’s population changed over time. Where there are affirmative action programs, recent immigrants may be favored over […]

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300: A Man, a Horse, and a Missionary Woman

 

The events related here took place a little over seventy years ago. They tell the story of a man and his horse. Together. Alone in the bush. The man, very ill. And afraid. The horse, very tired. He was probably afraid, too. And they tell the story of the extraordinarily brave woman who saved them both.

Some of you will recognize it as the récit d’enfance of Gagara Yasin, at the time a 29-year-old newly-minted colonial officer, the “lowest form of animal life” in the British administration of Sokoto Province in Northern Nigeria. He’d arrived in country the previous Spring, and had spent several months learning the ropes while his resolve, and his ability to think on his feet, were tested on a few small assignments (collecting the cattle tax from the nomadic Fulani farmers, investigating a case of witchcraft in Giro, delivering a baby in Bakin Turu). Finally, he was set (somewhat) free on his own, as a “Touring Officer,” a sort of roving junior Justice of the Peace, in and around Yelwa.

And so our story begins with our hero setting out on his first excursion, to reconnoiter the territory, and to meet the natives.

Linguistic Colonialization

 

My biggest pet peeve in the last two years is the term “Latinx.” It is the most ignorant neologism that I can think of from the last round of language revisions in the past few years.

I teach Latin, and so I am used to a gender structure to language. But I didn’t start out the way. My primary language is English, and most words in this language are genderless. What gender would you attach to “English” if you could? The only gender left in English is those words that are intrinsically gendered: man, woman female, etc. and pronouns.

Cauliflower Colonialism: Why Socialism Doesn’t Work

 

When an important member of society, like a member of Congress, criticizes a vegetable for being too “colonial” we may want to take notice. So what vegetable is trying to colonize our nation against our will? According to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, growing cauliflower is a colonialist pursuit.

Defending cauliflower is a bridge too far for me? Taste is one issue, but why would she give political credence to vegetable. It is because . . . well it’s like . . . Oh, just watch her video.

But Always As Friends

 

My Nigeria, the one that died on January 15, 1966, celebrated its independence from British rule 58 years ago today, on October 1, 1960. I was six years old. We stayed in country for another three years, with Dad working for the Nigerian government, charged with cleaning up tribal rivalries and corruption in the ancient Emirate of Kano.

You may never have heard of the ancient walled city of Kano. If it’s at all familiar to you, it’s probably because it was featured in one of the first news stories in which the use of underage and intellectually compromised female suicide bombers came to the attention of the Western world, as they blew themselves, and dozens of others, up in Kano Market.

I loved Kano Market. My heart broke for it then, and breaks for it now. For my friends For the stalls. For the vendors. For the lepers. For the Berbers. For the goats. For the camels. For the indigo wells (OK, so sue me. I’m a crafter and a dyer.) For the smells (well, perhaps not for the smells). But especially, it breaks for the vulnerable victims of the bastards who prevail. For now. I pray that it is just “for now.”

The King’s Shilling

 

The events recounted below are true, and took place in Sokoto, Northern Nigeria, in the Summer of 1947. The author was a young, newly arrived, civil servant in the British Colonial Service, recently separated from active duty in Italy and North Africa as a Major in the British Army. The gentleman in the photo to the right is a former slave, and the iron rings he is holding were his manacles. The term “The King’s Shilling” is used facetiously in this story: it is generally used to refer to the payment of one shilling to military recruits (and sometimes reluctant ones) in the United Kingdom between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries.

One morning Mallam Muhammadu Azare presented himself and announced that a girl was outside urgently asking to see me, as she was anxious to be officially manumitted from slavery. I must confess that at first I thought he was pulling my leg! Recourse to the legal books on the office shelf and a somewhat more careful inquiry of my mentor, convinced me, however, that this was not the case.

In the early 1900s, when Sir Frederick Lugard, began the process of replacing Sir George Goldie’s loose administrative system in Northern Nigeria with a formal British Protectorate, the issue that loomed largest (almost to the exclusion of all else) was the question of what he called “domestic slavery,” that is, the fact that most (if not all) of the domestic retainers of the Sultan and his Emirs (as well as of minor chiefs and many office holders too) were either people who had been born into slavery or who had actually been enslaved by capture.

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“Up in this air you breathed easily, drawing in a vital assurance and lightness of heart. In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be.” ― Karen Blixen, Out of Africa (Qtd on Goodreads) Out of Africa, by Isak Denison (actually Karen Blixon), was for sale on Kindle a […]

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Neocolonialists and Immigration

 

Mark Steyn made a fascinating observation recently, as he is wont to do. Referring to “neocolonial condescension” in comparison with the supposed condescension of Western colonialism, Steyn noted a similar attitude among people who think all the world should be eagerly welcomed as immigrants into our great nation.

A century ago, a proud imperialist would claim the citizens of poor and war-torn nations would benefit from the Anglosphere’s legal, moral, and political examples. By imposing these models, or at least arguing for their adoption in foreign societies, Western citizens sought to aid poor peoples by exporting a superior culture.

Who Are the Real Colonialists?

 

Last week, some of us got into a sort of side-conversation about Israel and the Palestinians, one in which it was suggested that Israel could be seen as a “settler-colony” of the United States because the US provides considerable aid to Israel.

The question then arose: if US aid equals colonization, there are an awful lot of colonies around the world that don’t seem to have gotten the memo that they’re part of America’s Colonial Empire … including the Palestinians themselves. Meanwhile, it strikes me that there is at least one situation in the world that does resemble settler-colonialism.

Tall Tales: Gagara Yasin

 

dadweb2The year was 1956.

I knew something was horribly wrong that night, when Ahmadu dropped the soup! Normally exquisitely self-possessed, immaculately groomed, and imperturbable, our man-servant and friend was disheveled, the color of cement, and shaking like a leaf with acute anxiety and palpable fear.

Our little family—myself, Kay, and our imperious eighteen-month-old daughter, known behind her back as “She Who Must Be Obeyed”—were living in Idah at the time, among the people of the Igala kingdom.

In Praise of Western Colonialism, White Men, and Modernity

 

AerialPPThe existing leftist social environment backed by political organizations, academia, and media is for white men, especially Europeans, to be eternally responsible for their colonial and imperial past. I consider white guilt to be one the most dangerous mentalities poisoning the western world.

Western civilization has done a world of good in human history. Western culture has given us Bernini, Mozart, Montesquieu, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, and Newton. The western world has given us individual liberty, freedom of expression, a culture of human rights, and the rule of law. It has given us electricity, clean water, airplanes, computers, medicines, and automobiles. The west has given the world modernity.

Undoubtedly, there were many problems with western colonialism, but there were also a lot more decent things westerners had done for other races as well. British imperialism did a lot of good around the globe, from India to Hong Kong to South Africa. We think of French colonialism as problematic in comparison to British imperialism. Just look at the differences between Haiti and the Bahamas. Even so, French colonialism was a force of good in some parts of the world. France had done worthy things for the Khmers in Cambodia. I probably sound biased since I come from a Francophile family. My maternal grandfather was influenced by French culture. He grew up speaking both French and Khmer as his native tongues. His father was very French in the way he thought and talked. So I’m quite fond of France and the French in general.