“You should be grateful for Colonisation”

This is my response to somebody who this morning kindly informed me that I should be grateful for colonisation.

Dear kind soul, and anybody who else who holds these same sentiments.

1. Colonisation was never carried out for my sake, nor for the sake of the nations that were subdued. It was never a matter of ‘superior’ white people trying to make my ‘inferior’ life better. No, the system of colonialism was selfish in its very nature, and the empires involved in this were aware of this – unlike you. It was never about us, but always about you and how much power and resources and control you could thieve from us. Imagine somebody coming to your home and persecuting and murdering your loved ones and neighbours in order to establish their own system, then telling you you should be grateful. Please inform me how forcefully acquiring political control over a region, occupying it with your settlers and ultimately exploiting it economically is something I should be grateful for. Tell me how stripping a region of its economic and social system, that it has ultimately successfully operated on for hundreds of centuries before your arrival, is necessary. Colonialism was always about empires disenfranchising indigenous people in their own lands, in order for these empires to grow in power. Your nations today were built on the very backs of people who were mutilated, marginalised, treated with contempt, murdered, enslaved, disenfranchised, starved, just in order for you to meet your greedy lust for power. So do not tell me I should be grateful.

2. Who are you to tell me I was not civilised before your arrival? Who set the standard of what works and what does not? Oh right, you did. Oh, it suddenly makes sense now. It makes sense that because one system that worked for one people did not align with your system, it means they were uncivilised. Do you see how ignorant that sounds? The only reason this narrative has been propagated is because the white man has the most power, and has thus convinced everybody that the order in the West is perfect and every other one should conform to it. How silly. Difference is not a bad thing. What works for one group of people may work terribly with another. You claim that your people successfully brought civilisation to us. If that is the case, please enlighten me on why after your arrival, wars, genocides and corruption increased significantly in our nation. European empires (Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain) literally drew a map on our nation, dividing lands for themselves with no regard to the actual people that owned them, and scrambled for a land that was never ever theirs in the first place. If those are the characteristics of a perfect, civilised nation, I don’t know if I want a part of it. And no, I am not saying that all European countries were involved in this. But if you have such a big problem with immigrants from these nations entering your own, complain to those in power of the empires that destabilised those nations, and ask them to pay back the necessary reparations and undo the damage that they did. Isn’t it ironic how the ‘developed’ world built itself on the backs of the ‘developing’ world? Surely, they should be named the other way around?

3. You are a racist. How dare you tell me I should be grateful. How dare you speak to me in such a condescending, patronising manner. Your demeanour reeks of a white saviour complex. You are ultimately telling me that I should be grateful because I was seemingly nothing before your kind helping hand met me. You are telling me that your race is superior to mine, whether in intellect or behaviour, and that the fact that you would go out of your way to dwell amongst people of my kind should be considered a favour. Excuse me. You are no higher than I am. You are no smarter than I am. You do not inherently have a higher IQ than I do, despite what you believe. You are not better than me simply because you have different facial features and a different skin colour to mine. Your ways are not superior to mine just because you are white. You are no less inclined to criminal behaviour than I am. Despite what you believe, I am not naturally uncivilised. I am not naturally prone to criminal behaviours. I am not naturally barbaric. I am not naturally stupid. I am not naturally inferior to you in any way, shape or form. We are the same, no matter how much that damages your poor ego. We are the same, no matter how badly you look at other people who are not of your race. I am sorry to say it, but we are the same. We are both human. You and I have nothing between us that makes one naturally better than the other. Fix your ignorance.

4. I thank God for the generation that is rising today that is going to disgrace you. We are going to shame you. We will disappoint you in that we will not carry these same racist attitudes that you have. We will not see another as inferior to us, no matter how much that hurts you. I am so sorry that we are better educated, us blacks and whites and browns and yellows, and we are bringing about a new age of enlightenment. An age that seeks to begin to tear down every teaching that one set of people is greater than another. In years to come, our governments will be occupied by people who look nothing like you – in character and in morale. We are a generation who will not accept the dominant story until we hear the counter story. We will not accept the story of the lion before we accept the story of the prey. We will be better.

So I am grateful to the people who look nothing like you. I am grateful to the governments that accept people into their country that clearly need it. I am grateful for those who are accountable to the wrong that they have done and do not say “you should thank us” but rather “how can we be better?” I am grateful for the country that I live in and the wonderful people that live here who support the rights of people that the world seems to have been against for so long a time. I am grateful for the young people of today, who will not accept attitudes like yours. I am grateful for a lot of things, but never will I say thank you for ripping my nation apart.

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  1. Ekemena says:

    I felt the emotion and power in this one Aghogho. Truly beautiful and inspiring while including everything needed to be said and heard. Can’t wait for future posts!

  2. Anonymous says:


  3. Anonymous says:

    This was beautiful ?

  4. Leona says:

    This is so amazingly powerful. You’re an excellent writer!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Such a powerful piece!

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