Wednesday November 29, 2023

The non-white’s burden

March 24, 2022

“Your new-caught, sullen peoples, half devil and half child, take up the white man’s burden”. These lines are from a Rudyard Kipling poem titled ‘The White Man’s Burden’. A hymn to imperialism, it branded non-whites as beings of “sloth and heathen folly”.

The poem urged the US to take over the white man’s burden, a crass euphemism for imperialism, from a waning British Empire. Kipling was glorified as a citizen of the world and Bard of the Empire. When he was in fact an unabashed racist and supremacist. The ‘White Men’s Burden’ became the anthem of Washington’s genocidal imperialism.

After a two-year murderous rampage in the Philippines by the US, Mark Twain remarked in 1901: “The White Man’s Burden has been sung, who will sing the brown man’s”? Henry Labouchere took up the task with ‘The Brown Man’s Burden’. He wrote: “To gratify your greed, pile on the brown man’s burden, and through the world proclaim that ye are freedom’s agent and, should your own past history, straight in your teeth be thrown, retort that independence is good for whites alone”.

Lulu Baxter presented ‘The Black Man’s Burden’, saying: “Take off the black man’s burden, this boon we humbly crave, to those who crush us down, will come the words of God to Cain”. H T Johnson foretold the fate of the brown man: “you’ve sealed the red man’s (Native Americans) problem, and will take up the brown”. Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ described these horrors; Francis Ford Coppola immortalized it in his magnum opus, ‘Apocalypse Now’.

Imperialism and racism have remained conjoined. It has been described as a relationship between the colonizing Occident and the subjugated Orient. The Occident with claims to moral, intellectual and cultural superiority has always regarded the Orient as what Frantz Fanon referred to as “the wretched of the earth”. The consistent theme has been that ‘benevolent’ conquerors are ordained to vanquish and civilize the savages. Kipling’s assertion of “East is east and west is west, and never the twain shall meet” linked the survival of Orientals to being subsumed into the Occident which was the White Empire.

This ingrained racism manifested itself in the West's mainstream media as Ukrainians started fleeing the devastation of war. The Telegraph’s Daniel Hannan wrote: “They seem so like us that makes it so shocking. Ukraine is a European country”. NBS correspondent Kelly Cobiella lamented “they are not from Syria; they are Christians, white and very similar to us”. In his comments on BBC News, Ukraine’s Deputy Chief Prosecutor David Sakvarelidze, laid out the imperatives to revere human life: “It’s very emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed”.

Peter Dobbie, a BBC news presenter, described the Ukrainian refugees as “not trying to get away from the Middle East or North Africa. They look like any other prosperous European family”. CBS’s Kyiv correspondent, Charlie D’Agata sermonized that “this isn’t a place like Iraq or Afghanistan that has seen conflict raging for decades. This is a civilized European city”. The sheer gall and shameless hypocrisy is a stark manifestation of the imperialist mindset.

This racism allowed white refugees to enter neighboring Poland. Ironically, many Africans (thousands of Poles took refuge in Africa during WWII) and Asians, most of them students, were turned back at the Medyka border crossing into Poland. Amit Lath, vice-president of the Indo-Polish Chamber of Commerce, claimed that women (of colour) were held and beaten up at the Ukrainian border posts. The lucky few who made it across were abused and assaulted by roving Polish nationalist gangs.

French poet and politician Aime Cesaire’s writes in his ‘Discourse on Colonialism’: “Hitler applied to Europe, colonialist procedures which until then had been reserved exclusively for the Arabs of Algeria, the coolies of India and the blacks of Africa”. Germany was a European country. It was led by Hitler, who claimed to be the standard bearer of the blond haired, blue eyed, white coloured master race. This was the Occident colonizing and terrorizing those of its own.

The American Holocaust, the most brutal in human history, acted as a template for the Jew Holocaust and African Apartheid. In ‘Adolph Hitler’, bestselling biography of Hitler, John Toland writes: “Hitler’s concept of concentration camps and the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and US history. He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the Wild West; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America’s extermination, by starvation and uneven combat, of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity”.

Joseph Biden recently seized 3.5 billion dollars of a devastated Afghanistan as compensation for families of the 9/11 victims. This remorseless arrogance is a testament to the convoluted belief that the blood of the innocent 9/11 white victims is far more valuable than that of the equally innocent non-white millions that were killed or maimed ruthlessly by the West’s military juggernaut. The sanctity of the citadels of Manhattan remains far superior to the razed abodes of Ghazni, Gaza, Fallujah and Damascus.

It is also a heartless contention that the agony of the loved ones that the 9/11 victims left behind is more heart-rending than that of the millions that Washington’s atrocities leave in its terrible wake – many perishing for want of a meal or medicine. This abhorrent and immoral set of values, based on the melanin in one’s body, debases humanity itself. Never has history chronicled hypocrisy and savagery of such inhuman intent and consistently horrendous proportions.

Nobody could ever sum this better than American writer and statesman Frederick Douglass Keith whose timeless speech of July 5, 1852 reads: “Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, search out every abuse and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival”. This is the non-white’s burden.

The writer is a freelance contributor. He can be reached at: