The Slave Complex
Why the colonised looks up to Imperialists with high regard and still revere the Europeans.
Franz Fanon first explores the psyche of regard and reverence of imperialist invaders in the minds of the invaded and colonised who in this context translates to our own reverence of Europe and its inhabitants. He writes extensively on the mental slavery present in the colonised and how they are in turn indoctrinated to consider these individuals as not only superior to the colonised but also as benevolent figures of extreme kindness, wisdom and compassion.
In our own classrooms we are taught of mighty European explorers and travelers, who circumnavigated the globe and discovered new lands and worlds when in reality they acted as barbaric thugs who raped and pillaged through the lands of lesser races.
Let us first tackle the figure of Christopher Columbus. Here is a man who not only has his own dedicated day in the United States of America but is also considered to be some kind of a biblical messiah who brought the tribes of North America out of their caves and thrust them into the modern world.
Christopher Columbus’ entire voyage consisted of a pattern of abuse, subjugation, pillaging, looting and kidnapping. He slaughtered entire tribes for gold, spices and pagan relics and returned to Europe to live a lavish life. He conceptualised the modern model of European slavery and also instituted in his ships clear rules of racial segregation.
But in reality he does not matter much to India and by extension Indians and so we must shift focus to Vasco De Gama. The explorer has entire streets, four-ways and cities named after him in post Independence India.
Neither was he a man who explored new routes and passage-ways and truly traced the earlier voyages of Diogo Cao and other Spanish explorers. He did however surpass the earlier mentioned explores in one aspect: brutality.
Vasco’s crew is believed to have been responsible for more than a dozen different massacres perpetrated on the Malabar Coast’s tribes most of whom we unarmed and did not pose any threat whatsoever. He also took back from his voyage various ‘Dravidians’ as slaves which he used to row the oars of his massive ships when his fleet was caught in the doldrums.
A man so brutal and ruthless in his treatment of peaceful, primitive tribes had to be backed by someone and the Portuguese Royalty extended full support even promising him a share of the bounty he could bring from India.
Individual examples aside the European treatment of any race other than theirs has always been characterised by extreme racism and ruthless suppression. So the question that now arises is why have we not learnt yet? Why do we revere the men who came here not to extend a hand of friendship but to thrust their cutlasses into innocent children and steal what little those tribals had?
This is the ‘Slave Complex’. So deep rooted is our slavery, our oppression in our hearts and minds and memories that we continue to believe the lies told to us by foreign oppressors who wished to not only enslave us physically but mentally too.
They used positive forces such as education and faith to bind us to tyrannical overlords who saw us as nothing more than human capital to be exploited and used without a shred of empathy and compassion. This is the lasting effect of the European hegemony on civilization and their terrible misuse of technological advances.
The way forward lies in revamping the education systems of every single nation so that the true nature of the earliest European penetrations into the ‘uncivilised’ world can be revealed to the youth. Breaking the cycle of indoctrination and regurgitation of sugary words and titles for the greatest criminals of their respective centuries is the only way that any semblance of true justice can be brought those who lost their lives and liberty to these barbarians posing as the proponents of civility and greatness.