11

DECOLONIZATION HALTED

The liberated peoples thought that “a new order would rise from the ruins” and that the instability arising from their struggles for freedom would cease. But “the violence of the soldiers and of the officers, the heroes of victory, their pride, their lust for power culminated in a militarization of power whose victims happened to be the urbanized classes…”. “Even though this movement terminated in a relative democratization of the local political system…, the inequalities of the past made room for others, ensuring at the same time the promotion of a few…” On the whole the regimes that were instituted were such “that they cast discredit upon those who had advocated change, upon the elites and the urban middle classes who had generated the political awareness that finally led to independence”.

This diagnosis may seem to have been taken straight from René Dumont's L'Afrique noire est mal partie (1962). It is not. The diagnosis explains what happened a century earlier in Latin America, in the aftermath of the wars of independence. Its author is the Argentinian historian Tulio Halperin-Donghi. It may be observed that both colonist independence and the freedom movements of colonized peoples have brought about similar results, at least in the short term. In fact some of these features can be seen in many other countries besides those of black Africa, countries which became independent after the middle of the twentieth century.

One of the reasons for this similarity is that the independence movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were overtaken by the perverted continuance of pre-colonial relationships, at the same time as they collided with a wider movement which has not ceased getting stronger.

Certain features of pre-colonial history come back, though they have been altered by the experience of colonization. In Upper Peru pre-conquest conflicts have reappeared: the conquest may be said to have “preserved” them. The same pattern has been seen in Vietnam which, scarcely after it won its independence, tried to seize Laos and Cambodia. This situation obtains also in the Caucasus where conflicts have survived

-344-

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Colonization: A Global History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1 - Colonization or Imperialism 1
  • 2 - The Initiatives 24
  • 3 - Conflicts for an Empire 52
  • 4 - A New Race of Societies 104
  • 5 - Rose-Coloured Legend and Pitch-Black Legend 163
  • 6 - The Vision of the Vanquished 186
  • 7 - The Movements for Colonist-Independence 211
  • 8 - Leaven and Levers 239
  • 9 - Independence or Revolution 262
  • 10 - Liberation or Decolonization 305
  • 11 - Decolonization Halted 344
  • Chronology 361
  • Filmographic Selection 370
  • Bibliography 376
  • Index 390
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