Nastiness Diagnosis. Anthropology. Religion. Gender. Justice. A Personal Notepad For the General Public.
A great article. Residential Schooling of canadian Indians is but a metaphor, it is neo-colonization that we are facing.
*what is still essentially a civilizing mission cloaked as “humanitarianism,” the defence of “human rights,” or “democracy promotion”—that is, ideological narratives and their corresponding practices whose aim is sill that of “saving the natives from themselves” and to prepare them for life in the white man’s world (the “international community,” or “the community of civilized nations”), so that they may lead productive lives as law-abiding, well mannered servants of the global capitalist economy.
**Western “humanitarianism” thus works within an imperialist ideological framework:
First, we need to construct images of “Africa” as a dark place of gaunt, hungry, pleading quasi-humans, where we effectively open the door to ourselves, and usher ourselves in as their self-appointed saviours. This is not the same thing as abduction in the form of kidnapping (not yet anyway): it is more of a virtual abduction, an imaginary capture that places “Africa” on a lower scale of welfare and self-fulfillment, and implies our “duty” to rescue them by “raising” them “up” to where we are.
The same binary applies to the military instruments themselves: a US President can declare a “red line” against the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, while still using white phosphorous, depleted uranium, and various cluster munitions in the US weapons stockpile. Poisoned gas becomes the weapon of the “uncivilized,” and the cruise missile the weapon of the “civilized”.
The following is an extract from my chapter, “Imperial Abduction Lore and Humanitarian Seduction,” which serves as the introduction to Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Imperial Humanitarianism (Montreal: Alert Press, 2014), pp. 1-34:
In Canada, there have been official government apologies for the abuses committed during the residential schooling era (which lasted until 1996), plus monetary compensation, and a truth and reconciliation commission that was constituted and recently finished its work. Nonetheless the fundamental ethos of residential schooling has not only been preserved, it has been amplified into a template containing the basic operating instructions for how to approach peoples around the world who are understood to be inferior. Such inferiority can be understood, for example, in the way that other people’s governments, no matter how indisputably democratic or legitimate they may be, are consistently treated as if they were disposable.
Residential schooling in Canada and its counterpart systems…
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