This entry was originally published in BuzzFeed.
Bloody settler colonialism has been trending recently (for about 522 years). All the hip and powerful nation-states are doing it these days!
(7 July 2014)
1. United States of AmeriKKKa
Americans were responsible for propagating what might very well be the worst genocide in all of human history: the genocide of the Native Americans. European settler colonialists murdered 100 million indigenous Americans, 19 out of 20 of those who had lived on the continent before their arrival, as American historian David Stannard shows in his book American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World. Adding extra insult to injury (a custom as American as apple pie, violence, and imperialism), the country continues to torture the remaining Native American population to this day.
The US has been involved in violent military conflicts almost without pause since it was founded. It has bombed, invaded, occupied, destroyed, and robbed countless countries around the world. Overthrowing democratically elected governments and propping up bloody, draconian dictators is basically the country’s favorite pastime (nope, it’s not baseball, sorry). Americans have been violent settlers (and supported other violent settlers) in way too many countries to adequately do justice to here. (Ha—the US and “justice”? Ha!)
Even if American exceptionalism isn’t true (spoiler alert: it isn’t), the United States of AmeriKKKa has certainly been one of the worst settler colonialist states in history.
In the 1947-8 war establishing Israel, settler colonialists violently expelled 800,000 Palestinians from their land, destroying over 400 towns. In his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Israeli historian Ilan Pappé reveals that, in 1947, in the midst of proto-Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine, David Ben-Gurion, the founder of the state of Israel, and later the ethnocracy’s first prime minister, told the military to no longer differentiate between “innocent” and “guilty” Palestinians. “Every attack has to end with occupation, destruction and expulsion” of the indigenous Arab population, he insisted.
This case of brutal ethnic cleansing is referred to as Al-Nakba, or “the catastrophe.” Palestinians have been under brutal attack from Israeli colonialists ever since.
From 1967 on, in complete violation of international law, Israel has military occupied the small territories the Palestinians have. Israeli settler colonialists increasingly (and illegally) encroach on Palestinian land. The Israeli Offensive Force regularly kidnaps, tortures, and kills innocent civilians. Between 2000 and 2013, 1,518 Palestinian children were killed—one every 3 days. Israeli colonialists do this with enormous support (in the nice, meaty sum of $3 billion per year, or $8 million per day) from another notorious settler colonialist group, the United States of AmeriKKKa.
Al-Nakba is not over—Palestinians continue to endure ethnic cleansing to this day.
Great Britain once boasted the largest empire in the history of human civilization—and, boy, was it a violent one. At its high point, around 1938, Britain controlled 22% of the planet’s land area and brutalized 20% of the world’s population.
The British might not have always been settlers, but they were always violent and they were always colonialists. In his book Britain’s Empire, Resistance, Revolt, Repression, journalist and historian Richard Gott explains that, while the British empire existed, there was a popular uprising somewhere within it approximately every week. These uprisings were always violently repressed by British settlers. With bullets.
The Great Famine of 1876–78, in which approximately 5.5 million Indians died (this was at a time when its population was less than 1/4th of the size it is today), was entirely instigated by the British colonizers. In his book Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World, historian Mike Davis explains how Britain pushed for a strictly laissez-faire, “free” trade policy on all food grown and drastically cut expenses on evilz, “inefficient” welfare. The Invisible Hand shook the empire’s slimy tentacles, and in its quest for higher profits, Great Britain, the ever-enterprising “entrepreneur,” was absolutely unfazed by the loss of the lives of millions upon millions of its colonial subjects.
In similar circumstances, in the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-52, Britain’s never-ending Quest for Capital led to the death of over one million people, reducing the population by around 25%.
Scholar Tariq Ali explains that, after “150 years of British rule in India, when they finally left, 95% of the population was illiterate. 95%. Had they educated the population, they would have been chucked out long ago–which is why they didn’t.”
Ali has a great point: violent settler colonialists are always afraid of educated populations. Because educated populations are much more difficult to profit off of—and if there is one thing that violent colonialists of all stripes are after, it is profit.
Thankfully though, in the Age of the Almighty Infallible Internet, we don’t have to worry about not being educated about imperialism and settler colonialism—after all, that’s why we have BuzzFeed!
(lol. what. jk.)