Aime Cesaire's Discourse On Colonialism

Improved Essays
In 1950, Aimé Césaire of the French island of Martinique published his essay “Discourse on Colonialism.” He constructed this work to discuss the concept of colonialism in regards to Europe and Western civilization. Europe is guilty of three crimes: being incapable to solve problems that it itself has created, closing its eyes to serious problems, and using its principles for trickery and deceit. In return, Europe deserves the consequences they have faced as a result of colonialism. Césaire articulates that Europe’s existence had given rise to the colonial problem, the barbarism of Europe of the United States, and the proletariat problem. The colonial problem that Césaire talks about is Europe actively doing the opposite of what they claim …show more content…
Colonization only “decivilizes the colonizer, brutalizes him… degrades him… ” (pg. 35) because when colonialism commits a crime against the humanity of the colonized, there is a corresponding corrosion of the colonizer’s humanity. He brings this point to light with the example of Hitler. The arrival of Hitler in Germany brought about much suffering for Jews and even other European nations. Europeans were startled and wondered how a country could do something so terrible to its own people. Up until this point, all Europeans were blind to the fact that they had been committing the exact same abominations, just not to European people. Europeans viewed the colonized people as a different, lower level of human being, just as Hitler viewed the Jewish community as inferior to the Aryan race. Before Europeans were victims themselves, “they were its [Nazism’s] accomplices; that they tolerated that Nazism before it was inflicted on them, that they absolved it, shut their eyes to it, legitimized it…” (pg. 36). Therefore, for the people of Western civilizations to label Hitler as evil is simply hypocritical. Bartelome De Las Casas makes a similar point in “Destruction of the Indies.” The Spanish in Europe live unaffected by what is happening in their colonies because their colonies are in Hispaniola, and their colonies’ people are Indians. Every colonizer is a Hitler himself; he just does not realize it because the brutality he inflicts on the colonized people is not done to

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