Is Britain to blame for many of the world’s problems?

Here is a BBC article Is Britain to blame for many of the world’s problems?

No, prime minister, Britain is not to blame. Our history is full of oppression and war. Pick up a world history book and have a quick scan through the contents. And how does blaming anyone help improve things now?

What gave me a headache is a view by a historian (he is actually a historian at a university in England, King’s College London). Some excerpts,

Not only did they oversee the spread of good government, western education, modern medicine and the rule of law, they also put in place local works, famine relief, and irrigation projects, most notably in the Punjab, which benefited enormously from what was then the largest irrigation project in the world.

Perhaps the most priceless asset of all was the English language itself, which gave a unity to the subcontinent that it had never known before and which is allowing India’s people to do business around the world today with great success.

So I ended up emailing him,

I was just reading BBC and I came across your view on the impact of British colonialism of India. I think it’s quite reasonable. It’s a bit unfortunate that other countries didn’t get the chance to learn the English language very well. Look at China. They didn’t learn English and they are the least powerful people in the world. It’s understandable why Kenyans didn’t develop as well as the Indians. They were a bit slow at picking up the language. Indians would also not even come close to a good government structure by themselves if colonialists haven’t helped them. It was the colonialists who thought them fair practice through exploitation and discrimination. All priceless.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. getere
    Apr 12, 2011 @ 22:40:37

    I feel sorry when I hear people from colonized countries speak English. Their pronunciation is bad. I recently saw a series of African documentaries. I frequently saw people mixing English with the local language, resulting in a new hybrid language that only a local person can understand. Maybe I’m wrong … but I can’t help feeling that way. I’m happy that I can speak “tirit yale amarigna”. Now that is priceless.

    That dude can go to Bole road and ask white people to take him as a slave. If Ethiopia was colonized our Ethiopian identity would have been lost. No religion, no history, no tradition, no background to make us feel confident and believe in ourselves. Bridges and roads and hospitals are all good. But I doubt if any of those can be equated with our strong identity.

    I visited Baltimore, USA last year. A friend took me to a run-down neighbourhood populated by black Americans. We went to a black museum there. There’s stuff like pictures of whipped slaves and history of famous black Americans. I also came across Queen Sheba’s history and some writings about Ethiopia. Some Black Americans have chosen to show Ethiopian history in a museum that tells their history. Isn’t that something? If Ethiopia didn’t have any history at all, what would they say, where would they say they came from? Can they prove, not to someone else but to their very own mind, that black people can ever stand powerful in the world? I doubt it. Look at how black Americans were excited about Obama becoming president. More than his political views, I think what matters for most black Americans is seeing how far a black American can reach. They may be in a tough situation themselves. But success needs hard work. And hard work needs motivation. For the mind to be motivated, it needs to be convinced success is achievable.

    See here what Mandela thought about Ethiopia,


  2. tibebe
    Apr 11, 2011 @ 14:50:47

    You reminded me of a seminar that was held at BDU about a month ago. The presenter actually said “andande kigne alemegezatagne godtonal biye asbalehu”. He was a quack anyhow, and the audience had a lot of laughs inside and outside the hall. His conclusions went something like ” since X is not bad, then it must be useful. but there are some documented cases of X being bad. but since ethiopians already have experience with X during the times of famine, they must build up on that”

    The presentation was about a plant called amaranth and how it could be used in ensuring food security for ethiopians.


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