Decolonising The Mind

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Borrowing the title of this post from Kenyan author & activist Ngugi wa Thiong’o (who is appearing at Town Hall Seattle this Nov. 14th at 7:30pm), in light of George Monbiot’s article in The Guardian this past Monday, which echoes Ngugi’s point that the colonial mindset is so deeply injected/congenitally internalized in the lives and language of the colonized it has to be forcibly ejected by relearning that which was lost (in Ngugi’s case, with an emphasis on creating art & information in the native languages of his fellow Kenyans).

The kneejerk cynicism of lads like Max Hastings aside, the plaintiffs involved in this case continue to act in service to a cause greater than themselves: as living witnesses to the atrocities of colonial Kenya; as the fulcra across which the lever of decolonization is laid.

Commenting on the Kikuyu case in the Daily Mail, Max Hastings charged that the plaintiffs had come to London “to exploit our feeble-minded justice system”. Hearing them “represents an exercise in state masochism”. I suspect that if members of Hastings’ club had been treated like the Kikuyu, he would be shouting from the rooftops for redress. But Kenyans remain, as colonial logic demanded, the other, bereft of the features and feelings that establish our common humanity.

So, in the eyes of much of the elite, do welfare recipients, “problem families”, Muslims and asylum seekers. The process of dehumanisation, so necessary to the colonial project, turns inwards. Until this nation is prepared to recognise what happened and how it was justified, Britain, like the countries it occupied, will remain blighted by imperialism.

Ideological separation from the Community of Mankind predicates dehumanization.

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