Colonization of a number of countries brought to bear on the inhabitants of the colonized nations. There arose a clamor by individual natives of these countries and their leaders to free themselves from the shackles brought by such colonization. This desire to be emancipated from the yoke of the colonialists, however, did not just arise for the sake of it. The colonialists exploited, oppressed and subjugated the natives thus disenfranchising them of their rights. The authors in the articles discussed in this paper make the case of a desire to be freed and a desire of change for the better, one in which they aspire to be self-reliant, coupled with better tidings for their people. As such, the authors envisage a future for their countries full of opportunities, freedom and self-reliance. In this paper, I shall examine the situation in these colonized states during the colonial era as espoused by the authors and the future they envision for themselves and their people.
Mohandas Gandhi, the preeminent leader of Indian nationalism at the time of British colonial rule wrote a letter to the then British leader in India, Lord Irwin challenging what he perceived to be a blatant violation of the rights of native Indians. He deprecates the situation wrought by the British in his country and sets out to change the course of things through non-violent protest if the situation is not reversed. Gandhi was a vocal advocate for the rights of Indians and was particularly appalled by the subjugation of his people by the British colonialists. The 1882 Salt Act that proscribed private salt making and ensured government monopoly in salt collection and manufacturing was a target for Gandhi’s protest. He was particularly disturbed by the salt tax imposed by the government which forced Indians to pay tax to the government so as to collect salt. The move to tax collection of salt actually precipitated a protest which was marked by a 390 kilometer walk by thousands of Indians led by Gandhi. This move had the effect of casting the colonial government in bad light even among the international community.
In his letter to Lord Irwin, Gandhi makes known his intentions of launching a second non-violent protest until the salt tax is removed. He makes the case that the only way to avert the protest is to either abolish the tax, arrest Gandhi and his party or attack them. However, he warns that the latter options may not be useful in that other persons with similar ideology will arise to carry on the mission. He discounts the falsehood being propagated by the colonial rule that the Salt Works was in private hands rather making it clear that salt collection could not happen without the sanction of the colonial authorities. This portrays the situation in India at the colonial period which was characterized with flagrant breach of the law and state violation of rights. He cites examples of instances in which the natives involved in protests were not being treated in a civilized manner by the government. He decries the fact that several of the people were not dealt with according to the ordinary processes of the law. In his letter, he also seeks to discount what he terms as falsehoods peddled by the government in a bid to cover their repression and oppression. He condemns the inactivity by the government to act on the assaults on peaceful pickets by liquor dealers. He ironically justifies the failure to take action by the government on possible failure of reporting. This brings to the fore the application of double standards by government, on persons. This is in contravention of the principle of equality before the law.
It is such practices by the British colonial authorities that moved Gandhi and his people to action. However, Gandhi was arrested by the colonial government after the writing of this letter. He endeavors a situation in India marked by self rule, self reliance, equal opportunities, the rule of law and good governance.
Fawaz Turki on the other hand explains the numerous problems they encountered as Palestinian refugees. He recounts how they barely had enough to eat and how they caught asthma for sleeping on the floor. They looked forward to the times when the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestinian Refugees would offer some food at the end of the month for a day’s fill. These periods, marked by abject poverty for the refugees ignited in him the desire to return to his homeland. He recalls how he lost his job over an altercation he had with a man who called him a two-bit Palestinian. Instead of feeling sorry for the loss of job, he instead desired even the more to go back to his homeland.
In light of the above, it would be safe to conclude that the colonial rule presented a bad turn of events in terms of the rights of the natives. This brought the clamor for self-rule by the nations to which much has been attained in this day.
Goldmann, N. "Nahum Goldmann and Fawaz Turki : Conflicting Perspectives on Isreal / Palestine (1969, 1972)." Sebbah, H. The Three World Order. n.d. 345-351.
"Mohandas Gandhi: Second Letter to Lord Irwin." Of Masses and Visions of the Modern. n.d. 295-299.