Thursday, April 29, 2010

Colonial Camping

Jeffrey Goldberg has been beamed back to 1771, and is having problems blogging from the 18th century. Most people would - although David Ben Gurion, who has been dead for almost 40 years, does seem to manage to blog from the middle of the 20th century.

The reason I mention poor Jeffrey's predicament however, is to point out an interesting tidbit about language. Most Americans remember the colonial era sort of fondly: burning witches in Salem, having tea parties when it was still permissible, building your occasional sturdy farmhouse in New England which still stands till this day, and of course revving up to have that revolution against the English. That's how Jeffrey uses the term, in the context of an educative program with his kid.

Across the pond, meanwhile, Colonialism reminds the Brits of all their horrific crimes against the Asians Indians and Kenyans. There is no word worse for a proper Guardian reader than Colonial (unless it be Zionist - partly because they've decided the Zionists are colonialists). No proper self-hating Brit would ever send her kid to any program with even a whiff of colonialism about it.

As Churchill may have said: We are separated by our common language.


Anonymous said...

I'm currently reading Robert Graves' Sergeant Lamb books which is a cobbled together from diaries and letters of the time story of a real Sergeant Lamb from Ireland fighting against the then tea partiers.

The amusing thing is that in this told from an Irish point of view uprising/revolution/war the Americans are the SETTLERS and sometimes the colonialists.

Oh and regarded with Irish eyes the settlers were treated a lot better tax- and otherwise than the Brits themselves.


AKUS said...

1949:הקונסול האירני לבן-גוריון: פרס מעוניינת שבתוך
מדינות ערב תהיה מדינה חזקה לא ערבית

Bryan said...

The Brits are (rightfully) ashamed of their colonial past because the native populations put them to shame by throwing off colonial rule.

On the other hand, the Americans' successful near-destruction of the native population means that the Native Americans will never "throw off" American rule. As a result, we can revel in our own colonialism as a quaint habit from our past that will never come back to haunt us in any meaningful way.

I never looked at it that way before, but it seems obvious now how ridiculous our treatment of the colonial period is.

Christian Zionist said...

Except that Americans and Europeans both seem to approve of neo-colonialism when the victims are Jews.

Israel is clearly a functioning democracy, and so its policies should be determined in Jerusalem by its PM and Knesset.

However, it is remarkable how many think instead - in a gross display of neo-colonialsim - that Israelis should instead be governed by the EU in Brussels, by Obama or State in Washington, or by the UN or diaspora Jews in New York.