November 6, 2011
Colonization: When Things Fall Apart
History is peppered with the expansions of cultural influence through the use of force. Egyptians ruled through the belief of pharaohs being the incarnation of living gods, enslaving at will, and creating a state of absolute power over anyone within its reach. They are the original model of colonization in its most brutalizing form. Later, the “discovery” of North America was different in that cunning exploitation was used to overwhelm the natives, of course, in addition to a technique utilized in Africa, where foreigners used clan rivalries to help enslave African natives. Chinua Achebe’s African novel, “Things Fall Apart,” depicts in great detail the story of one man who sees his whole world begin to change, with no end in sight, every custom and belief is brought before “the council” for scrutiny. Similarly, the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs and Incas is another example of cultures rich in ancient tradition, which crumble with the introduction of technological advanced colonists and their government. There does not seem to be an exception where colonization did not bring change to moral and spiritual standards, and for better or worse, aspects of replaced native cultures merely transform into folklore.
The Great Sphinx of Giza and Pyramid of Khafra, Egypt. “Old Kingdom,” approx. 2500 B.C.
The notorious debate of the details behind the history of these great works of Egyptian architecture will probably never be resolved, but there are a number of attributes obvious to all, such as a huge, probably peasant-indebted, workforce. Chronicles of this era depict a nation rich with the “fruit of the Nile,” and prior to the undertaking of these monumental works of art much of the land along the Nile was predominantly tribal chiefdoms. Eventually, one rose above and conquered the others, united they became the “Old Kingdom” of ancient Egypt.... [continues]
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