Colonialism casts a long shadow. The history of European colonialism spanned over 500 years and was marked by exploitation, human rights violations and atrocities. European colonial powers brutally exploited local people, enslaving and killing millions and looting raw materials and cultural artifacts. Yet, while these facts are well established by historians, many former European colonial powers have still not admitted the full extent of their historical crimes.

The long-term consequences of colonialism can still be felt: they shape economic realities in former colonies and are the basis for existing global inequalities and power relations; underlying racism still affects the lives of people of colour in Europe today. The EU recognised this fact in a resolution in 2019 calling for action against structural racism, including promoting a discussion on public apologies and reparations for colonial crimes.

Statues, street names, and museums remind us of the past. There are still traces of colonial history all over Europe today. After years of campaigning, however, some of this historical legacy is being re-examined. Traditions are also being modified: for example, after years of protests, the popular Dutch “Zwarte Piet” character is now commonly daubed with rainbow facepaint or chimney soot instead of the blackface boot polish which is increasingly condemned as racist and degrading.

What do our readers think? Bruno sent us in a comment arguing that Europeans don’t have a moral obligation to confront their history of colonialism and slavery because it is in the past. These were historical crimes perpetrated by people (and against people) who died a long time ago, so we don’t need to dwell on them.

To get a response, we put Bruno’s comment to Dr. Valika Smeulders, head of the history department at the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands and curator of an exhibition on slavery. How would she respond to Bruno?

Some people have used this argument to prevent colonialism being discussed in public. For a long time, Europe’s colonial past was not really examined critically in museums, but we can see that it is very much an important issue in today’s public debate. So, I think hushing it up didn’t work. What we see in the media and on social media shows that this topic is very relevant to a lot of people.

I think, in order to understand today’s societies in Europe, we need to know more about the past. In the case of the Netherlands, the colonial era lasted 250 years. The relationship between the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Caribbean part is 400 years old and still exists. By talking about all aspects of their common history, countries build a common sense of connectedness.

We had a very different perspective sent in by Bernard, who thinks that all Europeans have to grapple with the history of colonialism because our nations have historically enriched themselves at the expense of other countries and people.

We put Bernard’s comment to Dr. Karamba Diaby, a Member of the German Bundestag and integration commissioner for the Social Democratic Party’s parliamentary group, as well as a member of the committee for education, research and technology assessment and a campaigner against racism and hate speech, particularly online. Would he agree with Bernard?

[Former European colonial powers] should work together to develop concepts and ideas about how to come to terms with their history… They should work together to create a culture of remembrance in general, not only for [one country], but also for all other European countries.

Colonial injustice must be recognised from all sides as part of the culture of remembrance, anchoring it in textbooks, in museums, but also in depictions of all kinds. This colonial history must then be dealt with without clichés… I think the approach I am describing indicates that we should not adopt a Eurocentric view of these matters, but that we should always see that the other side in this history – the countries that were colonised – also want to have a say. Europe should try to find a solution together with them in dialogue, in international exchange, looking forward together.

Next up, our reader Rick believes that many traditions in Europe, such as Zwarte Piet in the Netherlands, are a direct result of colonialism. Should we abolish or change these traditions? How would Dr. Valika Smeulders respond?

Discrimination is something that is universal. It took place in the past and is still happening today all over the world, at all times. However, something unprecedented happened during the colonial era: racism was institutionalised. Slavery has always existed, but in colonial times racism was used to legitimise slavery. It was used to create a hierarchy between Europe and Africa and other parts of the world.

Since that era, we have seen that black people are depicted in a special way in art. They were stereotyped, portrayed as servants in portraits. When slavery ended, racism continued to be used as a legitimation for what was happening before, and now it was done through pseudoscience. In this context, the figure of Zwarte Piet was created. So yeah, I think it’s time to ditch this tradition and rethink it. Actually, I think it has already happened. I think we’re already celebrating Sinterklaas in a much broader way by leaving the idea of Zwarte Piet behind. In this new form everyone can enjoy the festivities.

Our reader Filipe, on the other hand, argues we should not judge European history with today’s moral standards. How does Dr. Karamba Diaby see it?

Of course we can judge European history with today’s moral standards… How else can we judge stories of historical injustice that still affect people today, including the children, grandchildren and descendants of peoples who have experienced injustice?

For example, the story of Namibia, the injustice and the annihilation of the Nama and Herero. I would call that genocide. And a lot of similar injustice also happened in the colonial era. You cannot ‘put that into perspective’. You cannot say that it was right back then and wrong today. No, injustice is injustice. We cannot say that one is more serious than the other. We have to approach the past openly and deal with it critically so that we can really remain equal in today’s world in international dialogue.

How should Europe confront its colonial past? How should we deal with traditions that date back to the colonial era? Can you judge the past by today’s moral standards? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

Image Credits: “Kaiser Wilhelm II, 1905. By Eric Bieber” by Royal Opera House Covent Garden is licensed under CC BY 2.0Portait Credits: Ute Langkafel


93 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Craig

    It shouldn’t. It’s the past. No other way things could have turned out then how they did. Move forward. Learn from mistakes. Be better.

    • avatar
      Alexander

      like colonialism is a think of the past. We need then a better term for establishing dictatorships for extracting local resources. Imperialism? :/

  2. avatar
    Tuija

    European and Global watch and help to limit harmful actions of predator companies or otherwise colonialism type international business, such as mining, infra etc. The help and support should benefit the countries that own the resources, no matter where the country is. Im sad about foreign mining and electricity transfer infra in Finland, for example! Help us to better our legislation and rules to avoid economical and environmental abuse

  3. avatar
    Jesper

    Of cause. We need to learn from history. However, it will have to be balanced. We don’t learn anything from destroying or denying our history, but from talking about it and confronting the wrong turns we took along the way. When confronting our history, we will have to take into account the way the culture was at the time. We can’t compare the actions to what we think, know, and do today, but we can – and should – certainly learn and grow, from the mistakes we have made.

    • avatar
      Jan

      I think Jesper’s reply is spot on, I only add that just because societal norms change that there are often specific agendas fueling those changes, some for the better some not. Cultural acceptance is not the stand for right and wrong.

  4. avatar
    Daniel

    Confront? Why?! We can not judge History or the past with the wisdom of the future… How Egyptians deal with their past, or mexicans with aztecs that would kill people to praise Gods, and eat human flesh… We can’t change the past, but we all can accept it, recognize and make it a better future.Not all was bad, language, culture, behaviors lead to better points now a days, per example, people from both places were able to travel, have more knowledge about science, health and improve life quality over the years, of course it was not immediate but fortunatelly we have had people with enough enlightment to support people, per example, having Ramanujan was amazing, but also in other points of history having Schindler, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, and others wether in or not in the context of colonialism.So looking onward, looking to the future, we must be aware that we have language in common and cultural values, if we pass integrity, if we provide support in terms of development, educational, health, economical, we can built future countries of tremendous strength in Africa and South America.The other thing we must have in consideration is why we are talking this, and here the problematic is not so different as the point of ISIS in which certain persons on society would go rogue and join the extremist group, this as two points, one is social media, that makes the loop to keep on feeding on those points, and then is support by other entities, foreign entities that take advantage of the caos of having creating issues where they don’t exist, the thing is that those entities finance directly and indirectly to trigger more wider movements, and this is just strategy, “if there’s no enemy within the enemy outside can do us no harm”.So we must understand what is triggering some movements and in other perspective work proactively to make better relationships with countries that share some equal culture, we can start by language per example, and expand economical growth in both parts. We all must seek to find our equalities and not our differences.

  5. avatar
    Michał

    Stop forcing Eastern Europeans to accept your worthless definitions of things (eg ‘rule of law’) and threatening them if they don’t.The parts of Eastern Europe in the EU were, in many cases some of the first to be colonized, many centuries ago.If European governments were sincere about making amends for colonialism, this would be totally obvious.

  6. avatar
    Edgar

    I will not ask the Arabs about why have they colonized parts of Africa before everyone else, or the Iberic Peninsula.Secondly, you have the horrendous colonizations of the French, English and Spanish speaking countries. Then you have the case of Portugal.

  7. avatar
    Rick

    Confront? Why confront the past? Overcome the past? That’s easy. Study it to understand why it happened and what to do to avoid repeating it (or not) in the future.

  8. avatar
    Xirristi

    How about confronting our colonial present? Hey, I’m Catalan, you see… We are a few million actually, with a GDP above those of Greece or Portugal, and the tenth most spoken language in Europe. Yet, for the sake of “convenience”, Europe turns a blind eye on Spain’s colonial grip of our country, using systematic disinformation, violence and perversion of justice. Europe wants us invisible, swept under the carpet. Dead.

    • avatar
      Jan

      Xirristi Mirristi If the main challenge of Europe is uniting under shared values then why is independence such a fundamental issue for the Catalans.

  9. avatar
    Dion

    How should Turkey, Mongolia, Iran, saudi Arabia & co confront their colonial past?Which europe you mean btw? Finland sweden Bulgaria? Start from improving your geography knowledge. History is a mess without it.

  10. avatar
    Natasha

    Why confronting what we can’t change? Just do better next time. Destroying monuments, works of art and rewriting historical books is not a good idea, by the way.

  11. avatar
    Daniel Tanque

    Confront? Why?! We can not judge History or the past with the wisdom of the future… How Egyptians deal with their past, or mexicans with aztecs that would kill people to praise Gods, and eat human flesh… We can’t change the past, but we all can accept it, recognize and make it a better future.
    Not all was bad, language, culture, behaviors lead to better points now a days, per example, people from both places were able to travel, have more knowledge about science, health and improve life quality over the years, of course it was not immediate but fortunatelly we have had people with enough enlightment to support people, per example, having Ramanujan was amazing, but also in other points of history having Schindler, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, and others wether in or not in the context of colonialism.
    So looking onward, looking to the future, we must be aware that we have language in common and cultural values, if we pass integrity, if we provide support in terms of development, educational, health, economical, we can built future countries of tremendous strength in Africa and South America.
    The other thing we must have in consideration is why we are talking this, and here the problematic is not so different as the point of ISIS in which certain persons on society would go rogue and join the extremist group, this as two points, one is social media, that makes the loop to keep on feeding on those points, and then is support by other entities, foreign entities that take advantage of the caos of having creating issues where they don’t exist, the thing is that those entities finance directly and indirectly to trigger more wider movements, and this is just strategy, “if there’s no enemy within the enemy outside can do us no harm”.
    So we must understand what is triggering some movements and in other perspective work proactively to make better relationships with countries that share some equal culture, we can start by language per example, and expand economical growth in both parts. We all must seek to find our equalities and not our differences.

  12. avatar
    Fábio

    Most of European countries nowadays are being colonized by germany and I dont see anyone doing anything about that…

  13. avatar
    Olivier

    We must be proud of our colonial past. France created Algerie built hospital schools road train tracks petrol industry… Same in Africa where GDP per head dropped after indépendance.. Our history has not to be updated…

  14. avatar
    Μάρκος

    You mean the behavior that Germany reserve to all the other countries in the E.U. on 21st century, that dont permitt any other economy to rise ? Or the “Dictatorships” that imposed from 2010 and after to the countries of the South E.U. due to full implementation of the Austerity Programs that Ruined the E.U. ?

  15. avatar
    Jan

    it’s a challenging issue especially if you broaden the scope of discussion by not focusing only on the transgressions involving European empires, kingdoms or nations

  16. avatar
    catherine benning

    How should Europe confront its colonial past?

    Exactly how do you plan to change history? In fact, the rest of the world needs to come up to our standards before we ‘confront’ anything to do with our history. Whatever confront means in this circumstance. If you believe present day people of Europe must pay ridiculous subsidies to other parts of the planet, then you need to explain why you think that and how you plan to scam todays expanded Europeans to do so. Half of whom presently have very little to survive on in the first place. How do you plan for Europeans to shell out that way? More important, why would they want to do that? For what? Ancestry decisions made light years before we existed?

    What I think you need to take an in depth look at is, the ancestry of the planet as a whole. And equally as importantly, what is going on in other parts of the world today where they once felt colonised. Slavery being a big issue as it’s still carried out in 160 countries where the cultures enjoy that kind of economy. Do you seriously believe you are going to change that situation?

    On the other hand, Europe and the West in general may want to ask what right they believe they have in considering interfering in others internal affairs when they have starvation, homelessness and illiteracy right here on our doorstep which must be put right first.

    Once you have accomplished the good for our tax paying public in their own lands, then you can teach others how to do it by example. That is, if they want to receive such instruction. Educate the UN on that issue before you contemplate their insistence on scamming our people of their tax money in order to improve their own conditions at home.

    This is an absurd question to put here. It is psychotic thinking. What is it the profferers of such ideas feel they are going to make from this notion? Prosperity for those who pay their wages? Prosperity for the citizens being the vote grabbing intention they sell, in order to get into such enormous positions of power.

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/confront

  17. avatar
    Rose

    Accept that they took away with force what was others in order to get rich and letting others no choice but being poor.

  18. avatar
    EU Reform Proactive

    Pity you don’t know!

    The ever martyred, disadvantaged, lamenters & opportunists at it again!

    Sorry, but Dr. Karamba Diaby is neither a legal nor an authority on Europe’s history & law but just a German politician & SPD member. He has to follow the rules of his SPD Masters & the Party’s Constitution! Does he?

    His opinion is private and as good or bad as anybody else’s in the EU, Europe, globally, or here on this comment page. He introduces more confusion than clarity & was a controversial choice by the DE/FoE.

    There exists the law of “prescription”- limitations. Debt becomes null & void (prescribed) if no legal summons has been sought or issued between ~3-15 years since its occurrence- depending on countries. Should that be an EU oversight & not clear-such a law has to be introduced to cover historical claims going back centuries- before the UN or the EU came into being.

    First responders have to be all ex Feudalists, Royals & Nobles in Europe- but never ever today’s taxpayer- who were equally previously disadvantaged.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statute_of_limitation

    Even if our confused EU politicians, FoE or DE journalists might want to bankrupt future generations and extend this limitation to say 40 years or even three generations (~75 years) for occurrences during Europe’s period of “Feudalism” (1500-1850) & nationalism until the end of WWII (1945) when the UN was formed & Supranationalism came in vogue.

    It is the 27 Members taxpayer’s money that is thrown into the devil’s (mainly African) corruption pit. I consider that wasteful & unlawful expenditure! Sorry- no ways, no-deal & would require first a referendum!

    Even miss-deeds in history “prescribe” eventually and become part of the evolution of human history= history books

    https://www.britannica.com/topic/feudalism

    https://quizlet.com/128287371/middle-ages-feudalism-to-nationalism-flash-cards/

    https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/supranational.asp

    The search to hold someone accountable in 2020 can be seen as either a mischievious attempt by the ex-Feudalist & Nobel’s in Europe or African opportunists’ to shift historical deeds” & guilt onto today’s taxpayers. Or- a game of quid pro quo- on the back of all taxpayers to protect e.g. “the new French aspiring Napoleon’s” Uranium mines in Africa, etc. Politicians who suddenly act like angles are a suspicious species!

    Priorities: Continue to develop Europe’s scientific advancements & its economy, reduce debt, eliminate unemployment- specifically help the youth and apply the law- not pipe dreams!

    For those who wish to continue to hold the “Feudalists” of the past accountable- please go ahead- try your luck! Today’s taxpayers have enough political nonsense & financial burdens to deal with!

    If that is unsatisfactory- here is another pipedream option:

    Introduce an EU version of a “Hajj- Umrah” to Brussels. Reconstruct King Leopold’s gravesite & build the EU ‘jamarat’ where 27 EU pebbles & rocks can be thrown at this Feudalistic Satan. To conform to the EU circular economy- these rocks should be locally produced & sold on-site by the unemployed EU youth during the day & recycled at night by a 2nd shift- to be sold once more and thrown again & again. It would help the tourism industry, heal trauma & fix posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). How wonderful!

  19. avatar
    Vijaykumar

    Europe remains responsible for the consequences and effects of its colonial past. Consequences can include institutional racism, discrimination, oppression and inequality to date, created in the past. In the Netherlands, for example, besides controversial statues and streets- they still glorify blackface, a racist stereotype whereas African people still are being dehumanized and the newer generations are therefore still responsible for as they still benefiting from it by dehumanizing Africans. So the common argument: ‘it’s all in the past” remains a worthless and stupid excuse. Europe’s colonial past belongs in the museums.

    • avatar
      EU Reform Proactive

      @Vi….

      Isn’t it easier to climb up a high horse than to get off?
      A gentle reminder of one of the countless similar problems humankind is saddled with. Example India:

      * Is India’s Caste System Still Alive?
      * Who introduced such a shameful & dehumanizing concept?
      * Who will financially compensate all lower casts?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyCQDIwHlXY
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1J4dKnYYIYk
      https://asiasociety.org/education/jati-caste-system-india

      PS: I am not sure if I posted/sent it or not. If duplicated, my sincere apology.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      Vijaykumar

      And the rest of the vast world, where the origins of those who look for compensation have no responsibility for their own situation. Or, I take it, for the situation they revel in today? Where do you get the idea these people are children? You don’t see yourself as dehumanising these childlike individuals then? Excluding the fact you put forward the assumption they are brainless is not a reduction of respect. Especially as they know where to emigrate in order to find a better life. They really felt our lifestyle was an option they didn’t want to lose when we pulled back on colonisation, did they. They followed us home in their million and fight tooth and nail not to be returned ‘back home.’

      Let’s take the life and times of Shamima Begum, shall we? She is murderous in her chosen country, assisting in the severing of heads and putting them in bins and agrees this was the right thing to do. Now she expects the tax payer she despises and everything of this lifestyle, seen by her as abhorrent since a child, yet is pushes relentlessly to get back to our horrid, colonising, lifestyle and the country that raised her from birth. Additionally, wants us to pay for her horrendous disruption to us, along with her wrapped up financially in it, via our law system. Do look into the reality sector for a little while. And reject the indoctrination you seem to admire so deeply. Please…. It doesn’t wash any more.

      https://uk.search.yahoo.com/search?ei=UTF-8&fr=crmas&p=responsibility+definition

      https://www.telegraph.co.uk/shamima-begum/

  20. avatar
    Tony

    Don’t judge the past with the eyes and values of today. What has been done is done. Look to the future and stop trying to modify the past. People going hungry in Europe and here we are worried about things from hundreds of years ago.

  21. avatar
    Kahraman Marangoz

    How Europe should confront it’s colonial past?
    Hole Europe should together confront this past to be united that it is of the past and not of the Europe of today. Together confronting brings more equal minded Europeans together. Europeans from all colours, Europeans from all different backgrounds. Together confronting is how I think Europe should deal with it’s colonial past, that can be done with holding a week or long an event where attention is given to this subject.

  22. avatar
    maskedman

    The Europeans who have a colonial past are still living in the past. Do not forget that the colonization of the Americas, Africa and Australia was triggered by the invasion of the Ottoman Turks in Europe.

    The Europeans should be ashamed that Constantinople or (Istanbul) which was an ancient Byzantine Greek city was left to be captured and looted by the Muslim Turkish Invaders. This is just so unfair. Rome is free, but Constantinople is surrounded by Mosques. All of the Christian world should be ashamed by this.

    The second Roman empire was slayed by the Moslem barbarians such as the Turks. I thought that Christianity and Jesus Christ meant something to the European civilization and to all Christians. This is the reason why Europe had to colonize. Some European counties, because of this still live in the past.

  23. avatar
    Крис

    I don’t know. My country never had colonies. My nation owes former colonies nothing.

    • avatar
      Paul

      Крис Караджов colonies arent restricted to Africa, Asia, south America….every country has a dark past some indeed have an equally dark present.

    • avatar
      Piratul.ro

      Paul Vincent Not at all. Balkans were hundreds of years under white slavery with ottoman occupation, hungarian occupation or russian occupation.Don’t put your western colonialist empires in the same equation as eastern europe and balkans, it’s more than disrespect. It’s false, abusive and stupid.

    • avatar
      Paul

      Piratul.ro ah.. so your countries history is whiter than white !

  24. avatar
    Nacho

    But how can we regret something that we didn’t do? If your grand father was a serial killer, should you bear any responsibility, guilt or remorse for his acts? I cannot feel guilty for what other people did some centuries ago. History belongs to the past, and, of course, many of the problems of these days have their roots in the past, but we need to think solutions for the future, not to continue living in the past and arguing about things that cannot change.

    • avatar
      Arnout

      Nacho Ibh the nation did do it. There is a difference. And we also still live thanks to that wealth and still trade in a similar way. So a humble and improving approach would be nice.Solutions start with recognition.

    • avatar
      Nacho

      Arnout Posthumus “the nation did it “ well, not at all. Our modern nations have little to do with those nations. And, being Spaniard myself, should I ask the Romans, the Arabs, or even, the French, to apologize for invading my country centuries ago? What’s the difference between what “they” did and what “we “ did? The history of mankind is made by conquests and every single People has been both conqueror and conquered. My own country would have never been the same without the Arab invasion, but also without the Conquest of America or the conquest of The Philippines… We are what we are because of all those things, for good or for bad, our language, culture, traditions and idiosyncrasy are the result of all those events, and we cannot judge with our 21st century eyes the actions that “our people” did centuries ago.

  25. avatar
    Boyko

    Europe does not have colonial past, some countries do. It’s their problem.

    • avatar
      Arnout

      Boyko Vesselinov some? I feel if some have a colonial past then so does europe as they are part of it..But it ain’t “some”

    • avatar
      Boyko

      Arnout Posthumus really? I don’t share yor feelings.

    • avatar
      Arnout

      Boyko Vesselinov it’s not about feelings. It’s about the fact that europe is a continent with nations on it that have a history in colonialism. And thus the continent itself has a history in colonialism. That does not mean that certain nations do not have a colonial history.No matter how large or small one finds the colonial history in europe, it is there.

    • avatar
      Boyko

      Arnout Posthumus BS. We did not steal African resources. SOME countries did. Meanwhile, we were providing free education to them. Further, the continent Europe is much different than EU.

    • avatar
      Maria

      Arnout Posthumus i urge u to read some more as you clearly lack some historical knowledge. not all European states share the same development speed so not all have a colonial past. Europe is not just Western Europe.

    • avatar
      Arnout

      Boyko Vesselinov idd. The continent consists of all it’s nations and if only 1 had a colonial past then europe has a colonial past. It’s just fact.Besides that all major nations have including Russia.

    • avatar
      Arnout

      Maria Kardzhieva I think you did not read my comment at all. As I never stated all nations in europe are. I’m.just sticking to the fact that if even 1 nation has a colonial past then so does europe.And idd Russia is very much a colonial power.

    • avatar
      Boyko

      Arnout Posthumus this is your own conclusion?

    • avatar
      Arnout

      Boyko Vesselinov no this is a geographical and historical fact…Just because bulgaria didnt have colonies it doesnt mean that europe does not have a colonial past…

    • avatar
      Boyko

      Arnout Posthumus this is not a fact of any kind, except of a liberal agenda. Please keep it on your side of the Alps.

    • avatar
      Arnout

      Boyko Vesselinov it is a fact. Europe has a colonial past.Our side of the Alps doesn’t matter when we speak about europe as a continent. Which we are.Besides that Russia is very much a factual colonial power.When speaking about something as a whole then everything that makes that a whole is part of it. Aka what ever bulgaria has done is past of europe’s history, just as italy, poland , sweden or Germany..

    • avatar
      Boyko

      Arnout Posthumus Bulgaria was under Ottoman oppression at the time. Any liberal view on that?

    • avatar
      Michael

      Arnout Posthumus You are barking up the wrong tree. Bulgaria has been historically on the receiving end of Europe’s colonial past. :p This is what I mean by totally un-nuanced approach.

    • avatar
      Piratul.ro

      Arnout Posthumus Balkans were hundreds of years under white slavery with ottoman flag. Hungarian and Russian empires also held hegemony in the regions. They never left us in peace. We were never free. We were constantly exploited up until the European Union project.Your western and central colonial empires are crooks and evil even nowadays, they brainwash you to put us balkans in the same equation as your colonialist abusive empires.Keep your history to yourself, we were never part of it. Your empires made sure that we are kept out of anything good in the world. Your western and central empires enslaved the slavs, gave them their name as you hear it nowadays. Your colonial empires still hold outter-Europe markets, bleeding non-europeans dry of their resources and finance.Don’t put balkans and eastern europeans in the same equation, it’s false, morally wrong, grotesque and utterly stupid. We were not a united continent. Your forefathers made sure of that.

    • avatar
      Arnout

      Michael Šimková so then they are part of the colonial past and thus we should deal with it no?

    • avatar
      Arnout

      Piratul.ro so you admit there is a colonial past. You cant say A and then B.Russia is also a colonial power. And no one put the balkans under there imo, they just said europes colonial past. If you feel you where no part of it recieving or taking. Then I dont see why you are responding.You constantly assume you are part of it.

    • avatar
      Arnout

      Piratul.ro if you are not then why are you talking?No 1 is forcing anything but yourself. But you keep unwilling to read. Bulgaria or w.e isn’t named in the article or is it? You are including it no one else. And it seems like you are on an emotional rant and thus isn’t capable of reading clearly. When ever you read europe you read balkons or w.e. which is a falsehood.Europe has a colonial past, if you like it or not. If a nation did or didn’t have a colonial past if a different question..Stop changing what people are actualy saying to fit your emotional nerrative. Instead please read it as it is stated without adding.Yea I ofc I don’t care about history because you said so.We never said you should accept a sin you didn’t commit. It’s again you filling in your own story that no one has written.

    • avatar
      Piratul.ro

      Arnout Posthumus No. I said that we don’t. You are trying to force that onto us for neocolonial reason. You’re trying to force share your sins.Whenever there’s something bad in Europe, somehow you western pigs always include balkans.When there’s something bad in Europe, you point to eastern europeans and/or balkans.Whenever western Europe did something good, you somehow exclude balkans and eastern europeans.No. We did not have a colonial past. We were ottoman, russian and hungarian colonies for hundreds of years. We revolted years after years against your empires.And we were slaves because we were white. Whenever a ottoman saw white people, they enslaved them. Whenever ottomans took white children, they brought to the ottoman rulers to rape them.But I guess you don’t care about our history. You just trying to share the blame, that’s all.Thank you, but we are not accepting it, it’s YOUR sins alone :)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_slavery#Ottoman_slave_trade
      [PHOTO] https://external.fmzt3-1.fna.fbcdn.net/safe_image.php?d=AQF2unTtvD9JlI2Z&w=307&h=396&url=https%3A%2F%2Fupload.wikimedia.org%2Fwikipedia%2Fcommons%2Fthumb%2F0%2F0f%2FMeccan_merchant_and_his_Circassian_slave.jpg%2F1200px-Meccan_merchant_and_his_Circassian_slave.jpg&sx=1&sy=0&sw=1198&sh=1545&ccb=3-5&_nc_hash=AQGAZnZlzvp9WTCq

    • avatar
      Arnout

      Piratul.ro europe does. Again you can say it didn’t but europe is not bulgaria.So stop forcing your own bs on others as no one is forcing it on you except yourself. No 1 is saying that bulgaria had colonoies…

    • avatar
      Piratul.ro

      Arnout Posthumus Oh. I completely understand what you say.You say “Europe has a colonial past”, but isn’t that like 50% correct?Are we accepting half truths now?Wouldn’t it be better to say that “a part of Europe has a colonial past”?

    • avatar
      Arnout

      Piratul.ro it is correct as no matter how small or large, europe is a continent. And if someone on that continent did it then one can say it’s europe’s colonial past.And more specifically it could be better individual but the thing with the post is that it tries to address all of the colonial past, and thus europe is a better term in that sense. As with europe one can address Russia or spain or italy or the netherlands or whom ever that in europe that had a colonial past.

    • avatar
      Piratul.ro

      Arnout Posthumus I now understand that you refer in terms of semantics.But I prefer the individual blame, I will point the finger to whoever did it in the past as individual nation, because back then – even if the continent is named Europe – I prefer to say that germans started nazism, italians started fascism, russians started bolshevism + stalinism, netherlands did the Rawagede massacre.You know, actually pointing the blame to the right colonialist countries.But on the other hand, there indeed is a partial truth saying that “a continent had colonial past”, just like Asia, Africa or America. All continents had colonial past.But in order to start repairing that past, we should start naming the actual criminals. You can’t mend anything without knowing who did it.Preferably, each colonial country should start recognizing its own history and take the blame.Then we can talk about the past.

  26. avatar
    Gabor

    Aknowleqdge and move on. You cannot change the past.

  27. avatar
    Natasha

    Problem with going too much to the left or to the right is that there will inevitably be a counter movement and the pendulum will keep swinging wildly. All extremes become their opposite. A good middle path is needed.

  28. avatar
    Karel

    Trying to give us a guilty feeling? Visit e.g. African states and you will see what happened after they became independent. I happen to witness this in many African countries myself personally. Ignorant arrogant woke bureaucrats are a danger for the society btw…

  29. avatar
    João

    Don’t make me laugh!! You have never stepped Africa land!!

    • avatar
      Arnout

      João Nuno Sérvulo Correia only lived of the earnings. This is kinda also how trade agreements work.

  30. avatar
    Manuel

    Historical crimes? What do you mean?

  31. avatar
    Christian

    I am not responsable for my father ’s sins

    • avatar
      Arnout

      Christian Chopin true but you are living in his riches.

    • avatar
      Christian

      Arnout Posthumus My father had no money. My riches I made

    • avatar
      Arnout

      Christian Chopin so what has that to do with a nation bases colonialism then? Countries took advantage, even if you as an individual feel you did not.

  32. avatar
    Paul

    No need to “confront” it….just recognise what happened.You cant judge historical events through the prism of today’s moral values – otherwise, you’ll be castigating every nation and every civilisation that ever existed.

  33. avatar
    Michał

    My country only had colonies in Ukraine, and we’ve made amends for that. Also, plenty of the non European countries have imperialist histories (China, Japan, India, Iran, Syria, Mali, Peru) some of the inside Europe (Turkey, Morocco, and Russia depending if you consider it European). Some European countries have been colonized rather than colonizers – everything between Russia and Germany. You guys can apologize if you want, but count me out. This is just a fact of human nature, not some unique European evil.

  34. avatar
    Piratul.ro

    Not Europe, but Western and Central european countries. My country never had colonies.

    • avatar
      Arnout

      Piratul.ro well russia still has so not rly just the west.

    • avatar
      Piratul.ro

      Arnout Posthumus Russia, Ottoman Empire are included.

  35. avatar
    Miguel

    Is in the past!!! Is gone!!! Those territories and its people are living in their own for a long time. Oh, they live in worst conditions than before? They can’t make it on their own? Is that supposed to be our fault, then? Well, listen to this: I do not feel not even a little guilt about it, no matter how much stupid propaganda you throw on me. They want to live in wealth? Well, then is about time they wise up and start working, don’t you agree?

    • avatar
      Arnout

      Miguel Cruz its not about you. You can make it all personal like you should feel something but thats not what it is about. Its about nations recognizing they where wrong, admiting it and in the future do better. As we still live of trade agreements that are rather bullish then fair. And that has its roots in riches.The simple argument of them should go work, is just racist.

  36. avatar
    Siniša

    NOT Europe, only countries such as UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy.

  37. avatar
    Yannick

    I think it would be more constructive to acknowledge, apologise for and fix the climate. The same countries are still ruining it for everyone, just in a different way. Rich countries are rich because they plundered other countries, then they went on to plunder the earth. When will it stop, really?

  38. avatar
    Rick

    The term Balkans is a geographical designation for the southeastern peninsula of the European continent. It isn’t a country.

  39. avatar
    Drogeanu

    …WHY should Europe confront its colonial past ?

  40. avatar
    Olivier

    Why confront? History must not be manipulated or changed but can be commented.. Everything is not negative anyway about colonialism and indépendance did not bring welfare… Democracy… Peace…

    • avatar
      Tristan

      Olivier Dutreil, but one reason why so many ex-colonies struggle after their independance is because the colonizers rarely prepared their colonies for independance.

  41. avatar
    Крис

    My country never had colonies. The colonial past of Europe is no concern of my nation.

  42. avatar
    Kovács

    Critical race theory is inherently racist, as it takes a univariate approach to social phenomena. Meanwhile, it indoctrinates an artificial sense of guilt in the majority society and labels ethnocultural groups as collectively privileged (guilty).

  43. avatar
    Stop

    Here we go again. The only racist are those who speak about race. Cuz normal people don’t see or dont care, but all the leftist,femist see race and racism on every corner.

  44. avatar
    Fernando

    Critical race theory is an extreme view and a very basic one. Mixes causes and consequences establishing causation when there is correlation.Doesn’t really help the debate But it’s polarizing as American politics loves.

  45. avatar
    Stop

    What IS everyone’s DEFINITION of what constitutes RACISM??? Without an agreed upon Definition… pointless debating on the Topic!

  46. avatar
    Władysław

    “Europe’s colonial past”? Only like 7 out of 44 european countries had even had colonies

  47. avatar
    Julia

    I feel like slavery exists now. In EU member country Cyprus, there is something called a <> which locals have dubbed as <>. EU citizens are forbidden access to doctors and supermarkets, which are essential basic needs without this <>. Additionally, they are charging EU citizens over the age of 12 €10 for a rapid test, which a negative is required for unvaccinated people every three days to acquire this <>. There are pensioners and vulnerable groups who cannot afford the tariff in order to shop and see doctors and workers on a low wage see a huge chunk of money leave their wages every month. The ‘safe’ aspect of the <> is a blatant lie as the vaccinated can still get infected and are contagious. Rapid tests, as stated by their manufacturers must only be prescribed to people “SUSPECTED of COVID-19 by their HEALTHCARE PROVIDER within the first seven days of SYMPTOM ONSET” and “CANNOT be used as the basis to DIAGNOSE or exclude SARS-CoV-2 infection”. Symptoms and a positive DNA test are required to correctly diagnose a COVID medical case. We have medical tyranny and slavery in an EU country in 2021. What kind of improvement is this to colonialism?

  48. avatar
    Olivier

    Europe should be proud of its colonial past. French Dutch English have created new modern countries which were not existing before just composed of tribes always at war such Algeria. Europe created hospital roads schools and create the conditions for their Independance. But still few of these countries are still unable to manage themselves. GDP per capita is still at the level of the 60 ‘s… Maybe it s time to think about a smart and democratic recolonisation of Part of Africa..

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