Don’t you just love this from an Arab Sudanese?

Ms. Malik:

In messages leaked last week, Conservative MP and equalities minister Kemi Badenoch made these points, familiar to anyone who comes from a former colony. “I don’t care about colonialism,” she wrote. “They came in and just made a different bunch of winners and losers. There was never any concept of ‘rights’, so [the] people who lost out were old elites not everyday people.”

Idle nostalgia about empire, or indifference to it, can rarely be separated from the sort of worldview that established the empire itself: that there is some inherent natural order to the process of colonisation; might is right. If the British had the more evolved means – both in terms of technology and finance – to dominate a people and commandeer their natural resources, then they also had the right to do so.

This criticism coming from an Arab Sudanese. You know, the folks who were still slaving among those blacker than they to the south and west ooooh, what was it, a decade back? Who fought a substantial war for decades to maintain their hold on the colony which became South Sudan?


The propaganda that then sustained empire, which imbued the “might” with the “right”, was the lie that empire was in fact really a civilising mission – a burden on the white man who brought not only Christianity to the heathen but also the order and hierarchy of his more sophisticated society.

The suppression of both animists and Christians in favour of Islam?

In my native Sudan, colonialism was a relatively gentle and short-lived experience (Sudan’s resources were not easily extractable and most of its lands inaccessible).

Colonialism by Sudanese lasted quite a long time actually.

13 thoughts on “Don’t you just love this from an Arab Sudanese?”

  1. She doesn’t argue against the point Badenoch made, which is simply that ‘victims’ of colonialism merely swapped one lot of oppressors for another, somewhat paler, lot.

    European imperialists did not knock over any democratic republics.

    Also, there was very little colonisation of Africa by Europeans. I suspect the number of Africans currently colonising Europe is far higher than the largest number of European living in Africa at any point.

  2. In every single country that was ever under British rule, you will find a significant number of people who praise colonialism

    Yarp, because literacy and Christianity are superior to cannibalism and death by Bongo-Bongo.

  3. As Thomas Sowell says “compared to what?”.
    Sure, they may not have liked whitey coming to their lands, but it was hardly the land of milk and honey before we got there:

    Likewise, the US in VietNam. Suppose the Chinese had been free to take over the whole of South East Asia? Better for the locals or worse?
    ISTR one Singaporean politician thirty odd years ago ‘thanks to the US action, we had ten years to gather our strength against the communists’.

    Steve, exactly. I’m not racist but I am most definitely ‘culturist’.

  4. Sudan was a colony of Egypt a long time before the British turned up. Even then it was run as a condominium between GB and Egypt. British intervention in the Sudan was mostly to suppress the Mahdists and build the railway. The territory was run by a handful of civil servants.

  5. ISTR an African historian studied the Sudan under British rule. He was astonished to discover that the Sudan – a huge area, like France and Germany combined – was run by 150 British district officers, all men.
    No qualifications required, but you had to bring your own polo pony.

  6. @el Draque

    It’s one of the arguments for why aid is bad. Back in the 19th century the British Empire was run on a shoe string, because Britain was not that rich – yes by the standards of the past immensely rich, but by today’s standards dirt poor. Many African countries have enormous bureaucracies funded by aid (rather than by local taxes), which then make state capture very attractive. UK GDP per capita in 1850 was £3,000 in 2013 money. Stupendous by the past, but not dissimilar to the current level of GDP of a moderately well off African country. The tax take as a percentage of GDP in the 19th century in the UK was 10%- while running an empire.

    In Zambia today government spending as a percentage of GDP is 30% of GDP. Their tax take is 17% of GDP.

  7. Muslims can’t talk about the evils of colonialism, imperialism or slavery without addressing their own massive endeavours in those areas.

  8. The very phrase “Arab Sudanese” demonstrates that she is a descendant of brutal foreign invaders from a different continent who subjugated the indigenous inhabitants and ruled them by force both before Britain intervened and after it left.

  9. I’ve found Arabs to be very arrogant, whilst having nothing to be arrogant about and a lot to be ashamed about. Reminds me of that paragon capt potato.

  10. Living somewhere with a sizeable Persian population I can definitely say you only make the mistake of lumping them in with Arabs once…the response is vehemence and vitriol to a stupendous degree

  11. And yet the Persians, and anyone else the Arabs subjugated, can’t let go of the Arab’s bizarre religion. I think Islam’s problem / genius is that it’s such utterly puerile, nasty wank that people / cultures, in order to move on from it, have to face having been so unbelievably stupid to swallow such shit. It’s emotionally easier to keep pretending.

  12. Yep Otto. The Brits only wanted to hang onto Egypt because of the Suez Canal. And of course to make sure the loans to the Egyptian government were repaid. I understand these comprised 40% of Gladstone’s portfolio.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *