Saturday, May 12, 2007

Sound Familiar?

The new conservatives wished to impose not only British laws but also western values on India. The country would be not only ruled but redeemed. Local laws which offended Christian sensibilities were abrogated - the burning of widows, for instance, was banned. One of the East India Company directors, Charles Grant, spoke for many when he wrote of how he believed providence had brought the British to India for a higher purpose: "Is it not necessary to conclude that our Asiatic territories were given to us, not merely that we draw a profit from them, but that we might diffuse among their inhabitants, long sunk in darkness, the light of Truth?"

Man, I really wish more presidents and policy makers read history books.

This, though, was my favorite:

"The histories of Islamic fundamentalism and western imperialism have, after all, long been closely and dangerously intertwined. In a curious but very concrete way, the fundamentalists of all three Abrahamic faiths have always needed each other to reinforce each other's prejudices and hatreds. The venom of one provides the lifeblood of the others."

We feed each other.

1 comments so far. Got something to say?

Jennifer said...

Well, I don't know how illuminating that particular passage would be. Pres and policy makers might just think they're following in the grand tradition of imperialism, without thinking about how it's always been this mix of claims of a higher purpose versus the acquiring of resources that make them a lot of money.