Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Is China the new Colonial Vampire?

Recently I heard on the news that Colombia is having some massive investment from China to build a big highway within Colombia that goes from inland cities out to the coast. The reporter added that China is giving aid and spreading its influence throughout Latin America because China is "hungry" for resources like mineral wealth and oil.

Over 500 years have passed since the Conquistadors came sailing over the Atlantic and put the Native Americans to the sword. The ones they couldn't work to death or murder were left to die more painful and drawn-out deaths through diseases for which they had no natural immunity.

In 2011, China can't roll in the tanks and rape and pillage so they have to be a lot more subtle. "That's a nice oil well you have there. Would you like us to build your kids a school nearby?" Suffice to say, they're not doing it for their health or because it gives them a warm, fuzzy feeling. They want to PROGRESS and their huge population is rapacious.

Now it would be hypocritical to say, "Colonialism is off the table, boys and girls." "Been there, done that," says the Western world. England, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Germany, France, Belgium...the list goes on. They all had a turn at stealing the Africans and other indigenous people blind.

But will Colombia and all the others be any better off? Maybe. They might raise their standard of living if it doesn't go into some dictator's back pocket. Fresh helping of Mubarak, anyone?

But, ultimately, mightn't the entire planet suffer? Neil Young, the Canadian singer-songwriter, had these great lines in a song called Vampire Blues (from the album, On The Beach, released in 1974:

"I'm a vampire, babe,
sucking blood from the earth.
I'm a vampire, babe,
I'll sell you twenty barrels worth."

Somehow we have to let China know that the new cash colonialism won't do any of us any favours in the long run.

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