Racism and racial discrimination are not recent phenomena in the world. The idea and practice of racism began long time ago in Europe. However, the climax of the practice came into the limelight in the 19th century. This period witnessed colonization of the colored people in the world and the extermination of the lesser races. Various literature exists where the entire idea of this racism is discussed in substantial measure. Some of the existing literature supports the practice while others expose its violence and brutal nature. Among such literature, the book Exterminate All the Brutes by Sven Lindqvist exposes the brutality and the violent nature of neo-colonial racism.
In his book, Lindqvist takes the reader on a haunting tour through the colonial past, coupled with a modern-day travelogue. He retraces the steps of European explorers, missionaries, politicians, and historians in Africa from the late eighteenth century and onward. Here, the author exposes the origins of mass homicide in Africa through his journey via the Sahara Desert. It was all about uncovering the foundations of twentieth century holocaust in Europe through nineteenth century colonialism in Africa. He tries to show the relationship between colonialism and the social development. This relationship was the foundation for the Nazi genocide to other nations later. Europeans used the theory of disappearance of less fit branches of the human family in the Nazi genocide. To be clearer, the author tried to focus on colonialism and the Europeans’ justifications for their horrific and brutal actions. Africa will become shared between France and England under the European statute wherein the Africans would dig the trenches as well as water the arid regions. It will become an uphill struggle and the Africans would perhaps become extinct. Lindqvist demonstrates that this result exemplifies the beneficent rule of nature, which states that the weak shall be consumed by the strong.
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He demonstrates that dreams not just of the white dominance, but also of the real extinction of the supposed minor races intensely versed the European colonialism plus racist greed. These fantasies were ultimately culminated in Europe’s own Holocaust.
In his book, Lindqvist demonstrates that the Germans had become scapegoats of eradication of what was an ordinary European heritage. Lindqvist wrote that Hitler’s ideas and all other western people of his childhood times had been immersed in the belief that imperialism was a biologically necessary process. This process, according to the laws of nature, results in the unavoidable extermination of the lesser races. It was this belief that already had claimed millions of lives before Hitler gave his highly personal application. He urged that looking at that the Holocaust as a unique situation was not true, and it was related to the past of colonialism. He also argued that the Western people still thought that empire and colonialism were beneficial to nations. For example, he wrote that Hitler himself was driven throughout his political career by a fanatical anti-Semitism with roots in a tradition of over a thousand years. This obsession had often led to killing and even to mass murder of the Jews. However, the stride from mass execution to genocide did not take place up to the time when the anti-Semitic custom met the habit of genocide cropping up during the expansion of Europe in Australia, America, Asia, and Africa.
Another theme is the connection between the Nazi genocide and all the similar crimes in previous times. Lindqvist also showed the reasons for the needed elimination of Africans and Native Americans before. It was the same situation with Jews when he wrote that the contemporary industrial extermination policy application was Auschwitz on which the European world dominion had long ever since rested. Lindqvist’s ideas are relevant to date, and not many changes have happened even if people refuse to say it loudly. The author shed light on the present day neo-colonialism in Africa by exposing the racist nature of imperialism where children die under the name of progress and democracy.
For example, Lindqvist writes on what Darwin’s cousin, a European racial biologist, posed to justify the genocide of non-whites across the globe. He puts himself in German scholars whose genocidal literature offers sham-intellectual justification for exterminating 6 million Jews. The hearts of darkness is set immediately after the scramble for Africa, a period of the late nineteenth century. A time when Imperial Powers divided partitioned Africa among themselves. None of the Western countries came off looking good in this whole debacle, however, Belgium, unfortunately, seems worst. The Belgians were after the valuable ivory hidden away in the African Interior. They were not afraid to dehumanize the Africans to get it.
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The book follows the disturbing journey of English ivory-trading agent called Marlow. He worked for a Belgian company and traveled into the deserts of Africa looking for a mysterious man named Kurtz. Kurtz appeared to have become a god-like figure and gone utterly mad. In Europe, colonialism was deemed to have an immense and noble basis. Europe took it as the operation of the white man to assist in civilizing and improving a primitive race. At the opening of the book, Marlow talks about the Roman conquest of Britain and the similar situation to that of Africa. The Romans considered the British people as primitive and singled them out because they thought that they had accomplished a lot. In Western Europe, the Jews were murdered under Hitler’s Nazism.
The 19th-century era was a time of liberation, patriotism, and imperialism. All these led to the expansion and escalation of philosophical racial discrimination in the United States and Europe. Despite the fact that, the emancipation of blacks from slavery and Jews from the ghettos received most aid from spiritual and material believers in a crucial human fairness, they had no good change. These changes lead to an increment rather than a reduction in racism. Race relationships became much aggressive and less paternal. The uncertainties of a budding industrialized free enterprise set up a call for scapegoats. Darwin’s ideas of struggle for the existences and survival for the fittest ruled the world. These ideas became favorable for the development of novel and more believable prejudice in a period that viewed race relation as a ground for divergence than a steady ladder.
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Racism had some effects in the 19th century. Although violent racism was already a daily reality, Darwin’s science and the social facet of systematic racist theories portrayed themselves as natural rationality for cultural prejudice. Scientifically based racism was applied to build imperialism into a responsibility of Europeans to aid those who were regarded far down the evolutionary ladder. In real senses, however, it was an excuse to rule over Africa and other parts of the world. The Social Darwinian thoughts that were dominant among the colonial rulers exposed themselves in laws espoused towards the local people.
The colonial governments did not consider the native people as a human, rather as primal, transitional life forms. Consequently, they induced and imposed torment, devastation, and sorrow to the indigenous population. The violent procedures implemented by imperialist deemed other countries as lesser and obtained fake legitimization via Social Darwinism. These states considered themselves adequately justifiable in approving such rules that just intensified their greediness and hostility. The Opium wars are a remarkable exemplar. When the Chinese declined a trade in opium, the British instantly pursued it with martial intercession. The people of China were forced to sign an oppressive accord, beneath which the drug commerce in China became legalized.
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On their part, the Portuguese applied their “dominance” by enslaving the indigenous people. They captured local people from Angola and shipped the captives far across the ocean as undertaken laborers. In many of the involved countries, imperial authorities grabbed for themselves large regions and assets that they deemed appropriate and assigned them to white pioneers or corporations. They gave no attention to the aboriginals who had lost their territories. They ultimately exploited their labor and resources. The imperialists received raw materials from the colonies and sent them to their industries in auto-repeat. Later on, they sent products to colonies at higher prices. Another activity of the novel colonialism was the disparagement and disrespectful behavior of the natives towards the leaders of the states they ruled. The racist idea brought with its impertinence and impoliteness toward local leaders.
Therefore, the Darwinist royalists exposed that colonization of the other states had emerged because the other races were considered lesser and primitive. In keeping with such beliefs, the law of the dominant race circulated across the whole world. If the globe were to develop, the lesser societies needed to be developed. In other words, the imperial powers claimed that their mission was to bring developments to the regions they had colonized. Using Darwinist thoughts, the 19th century imperial powers brought chaos, divergence, terror, and shame.
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Africa received a lot of violence during this period. The Belgian captured the Congo communities as slaves. Africans became a trade commodity in the hands of the European powers. The natives were no longer regarded as human. In fact, they became Europeans’ owned property. The kidnapping process was not a romantic but a brutal exercise. Some people even died. Even those who survived the shipping were very few. The imperialism caused fear and distrust in Africa. Such an atmosphere of cruelty could not lead to unity in Africa. Africa as a continent became divided. No Africa nation could trust another nation. The shipping of African resources to Europe gave rise to a decline in the African economy. The industrialist market replaced African conventional savings. The African modes of reproduction were seen as primal and barbaric. Ranching, mining plantation, and agriculture were seen as the only modern ways of production. In this way, African economy was eroded.
The culture was not an exception. A white God replaced traditional African religions under the umbrella of Christianity. The appealing of ancestors, sacrifice offering, and beer brewing were all discarded, and Africans were forced to adopt the new religion that had come with the colonialists. The African man remained landless in his country. The imperial powers took the fertile highlands of Africa and gave them to their white settlers or trading companies. Africans were confined to reserves were the soils were not productive. With this, Africans were forced to pay tax to the colonial masters, and they had to provide cheap labor in their plantations. The working conditions in the mines were also bad. Many African died as the mines collapsed while others died of breathing diseases due to dust.
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The Europeans saw that their divine responsibility to exterminate the lesser race. For them, killing of non-whites was not an offense but a sacred duty. Using Darwinism, they justified their inhumane actions against the blacks around the globe. They considered the blacks to be the geeks and the chimpanzee who had not fully evolved. Accordingly, seeing themselves as fully evolved creatures they decided to civilize the lesser races. The civilization, however, was so violent and inhumane that it led to mass killing of Africans and other dark races. As far as the other races show it as inhuman, the whites show it as a noble cause that was unavoidable. They wanted to modernize the world even if it meant killing the other races.
There is a close connection between the third Reich and the violence that happened in Africa. In both, the tortured victims faced the violence because of their race. The racist ideas led to the victims of violence to received inhumane treatment. In Africa, the Europeans considered the black people as barbaric. In this way, they saw it as their divine responsibility to civilize them. The civilization came through slavery, land alienation rape, forced labor, and forced taxation among others.
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On the other hand, the Third Reich describes the Nazi German regime from 1933 to 1945. The Nazi regime put almost every sector of the German nation under its control. This period marked fascism of the highest order. Hitler acted above the law of the state apparatus anytime he considered the need to use rules and make decisions that he saw essential for the German race’s survival. He had the final signature in both domestic policies and foreign law. The Nazi foreign policy worked on racist ideas. The belief had it that Germany was biologically obliged to enlarge eastward by military force. The idea also had it that an expanded, racially superior Germany should set up a permanent empire in the Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The ideology called for the extermination of inferior races that lived in Germany.
The extermination began by waging a war of annihilation against the USSR. The Germans planned the mass murder of the Jews, whom they considered the chief rival. Immediately after they took power, the Nazis’ brutality began. When the Nazis came into western Poland in 1939, the leading Jewish society in Europe fell into Nazi regime. For example, the Jews in Poland were captured and placed in ghettos, where they died of hunger and illnesses. With the Soviet Union’s invasion on June 22, 1941, the Nazis initiated a campaign against ‘Judea-Bolshevism’, the hypothetical Jewish-socialist conspiracy. While the massacres continued, the Nazis elsewhere were planning for a general remedy to the Jewish issue. Death camps began to operate in December 1941. People were murdered with exhaust fumes in mainly modified vans. The bodies then could be driven to nearby locations where they were mutilated and burnt. The killing of the Polish Jews occurred in three camps. In other words, the Jews were killed due to their race and their ideologies.
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Lindqvist’s ideas are relevant to date. The author shed light to the present day neo-colonialism in Africa by exposing the racist nature of imperialism. His ideas are relevant to this rapidly globalizing world. Such trends need unity and cultural intelligence. Indeed, Lindqvist’s ideas form the basis for one to learn the importance of cultural knowledge and apply it if at all the world is to become modernized. Furthermore, the book is Lindquist’s story or personal experience. The story rotates around exposing the racist nature of imperialism and the violence that came with it. In a way, the author exposes the way the imperialist used Darwinism to justify their brutality upon the colored people in the globe. In other words, the book is so relevant in the modern day that it will help in the fight of neo-colonialism and any racism experienced in the globe today.
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