Sometimes reading history is rather dry. Political movements, war machines, diplomatic manoeuvring. You don't get a sense of the life raging behind the recitation of facts. I'm beginning to get that feeling with this history...The authors go on blithely about the various machinations of European nations with apparently little consideration of what really was going on there.
Here's an example:
By 1885, largely as a result of diplomatic agreements imposed on Britain through Franco-German cooperation, Bismarck had succeeded in securing international recognition of Germany's claims to Southwest Africa, Togoland, the Cameroons, East Africa, and part of New Guinea. The French for their part were conceded French Guinea, part of the Red Sea Coast, and predominant influence in southeast Asia.I'm not sure what disturbs me more -- the bland presentation of the authors or the obvious arrogance of the actors. Probably the latter. "International recognition" means European states. And who "conceded" territory to the French? Not the inhabitants of French Guinea or southeast Asia, I think. I'm continually asking myself the question, "Where do people get the idea that they should have rights over any territory except the one they're standing on?"
I shake my head at the presumptions of politicians and so-called statesmen. This happened after WWII as well...they carved up the earth into spheres of influence, as if they owned these particular patches of territory, as if the people living in them were negligible. It's colossal arrogance. And of course, we well know that imperialism and colonialism continue to reverberate through our contemporary history. We need look no farther than Palestine.