GLEN COVE, NY – Colonialism was beautiful. It was safe. It was civilized. It was Christian. Today, the old colonial world has been replaced by a dangerous, uncivilized, and anti-Christian, post-colonial world. The ugliest recent manifestation of post-colonialism has been the martyrdom of hundreds of Christians and the reduction of even more to the status of refugees.
Islam, the Maghreb, and Andalusia
When the Moslems threatened to destroy European civilization in the Middle Ages, they came out of the Maghreb (the Northern coast of Africa west of Egypt) into Andalusia, the southernmost region of Spain. For centuries, they ruled Andalusia while the Visigoth Catholics of the region lived under their tyranny. Finally, in 1492, all of Spain was liberated; within the next hundred years, the Moslems were decisively defeated in Europe.
Ironically, the vulnerability of Andalusia was demonstrated by devout Catholics. In the 1930s, Communists and Masons took over Spain. The Communists martyred hundreds of priests, brothers, nuns, and sisters. Liberation from the Communists came out of the Maghreb when Francisco Franco led an army from the Spanish colonies there and saved Spain.
In the modern era, the Maghreb was colonized by the French, the Italians, and the Spaniards, liberating the region from its tremendous piracy problem. The Italians colonized Libya, bringing to it a high culture and an architecture that resembles Florence. In 1947, the Italians were forced to surrender Libya, which became a sort of Arab monarchy.
In 1969, a group of Libyan officers staged a coup d’etat, which began the two-generation-long dictatorship of Gaddafi. Even the new tongue-twisting name of Libya (“the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya”) became an international joke. This regime was only saved by the discovery of oil; it was so incompetent that it ordered supplies in numbers many times greater than the capacity of its ports to dock the ships that brought them. It was complicit in terrorist mass murder.
As bad as Gaddafi was, what followed was worse. Libya fell into misrule by armed roving bands that killed Westerners, Christians, and even the United States ambassador to Libya. The pattern of replacing kings with extreme socialist military dictators, and then replacing the dictators with murdering anti-Christian Moslem murderers, became a common one in the Moslem world.
The French created colonies in Tunisia and Morocco that extended south to equatorial Africa. The French Foreign Legion was one of the best fighting forces in the world until President de Gaulle humiliated it. The French treated Algeria somewhat differently, making it a part of France itself. It became a good place to live. The West, however, betrayed the French, first in Indochina and then in Algeria. Almost one million French Algerians had to flee to European France. Virtually everything disastrous that happened in the Maghreb could have been stopped by the French and Spanish Foreign Legions and a few legions of Carabinieri if the West had not lost its will.
The Apostles quickly spread Christianity, including Saint Peter to Rome, Saint James to Spain, Saint Thomas to Syria and India, and Saint Andrew to many countries. The Evangelist, Saint Mark, spread Christianity to Egypt.
As a result, the Middle East — particularly Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria — is the historic home of millions of Christians. These Christians belong to several branches of the Catholic Church, as well as several Eastern Orthodox churches. The Syriac Catholics possess the longest continuous form of the liturgy in Christendom, one composed by Saint Thomas the Apostle.
Lebanon used to have a balance of power among Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and Moslems. Its capital city of Beirut was called the “Paris of the Mideast.” All of that is gone. Extreme Moslem bands from Iran kill Christians and make sporadic war on Israel. An advanced Arab country has deteriorated to a failed state of deadly chaos.
In part due to our incompetent meddling in the aftermath of our wars against Iraq, the large Christian community that enjoyed freedom under Saddam is now in danger of persecution.
Saudi Arabia has never been evangelized. Mere possession of a Bible or crucifix, or act of public Christian prayer, can bring quick death. Some say that when Turkey became secularized after World War I, the intellectual life of Islam was transferred to the Arabs, whose theology is more violent.
The government-controlled areas of Syria still guarantee religious freedom, but the rebels have shown a shocking willingness to burn churches and martyr Christian clergy and teachers. Iran (originally Persia) is not Arab. It once had a rich mixture of peoples of different religions, including Catholics, Orthodox, Zoroastrians, Jews, and Moslems. Unfortunately, its Moslem clergy was extreme in its endorsement of all-out war against other religions, and the formerly large Christian community is gone. Under the monarchy, these clerics had been kept in check and religious liberty had flourished.
The problems of the Arab world cannot be discussed without considering Zionism. Many Moslem Arabs want to kill Israeli Jews. It goes beyond that, however. A lot of Israelis hate, or at least dislike, Arabs, whether Christian or Moslem. They do not want them in their country. As far as they are concerned, Judea and Samaria are the Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel) promised by God to Abraham and his descendants. There is no sense arguing this point; it is the matter of Zionist doctrine.
Israel, however, cannot slow the birth rate of Israeli-born Arabs. Furthermore, Israel has huge Arab populations that it has conquered, and its treatment of these populations increases their ill will toward Israel. Moslem Arabs who hate Israelis are far more vicious than Israelis who hate Arabs — not that either side is blameless.
In addition, the present United States administration, exceeding its other strategic failures, has wrecked the formerly close alliance with Israel. Slogans like “two-state solution” mean nothing without substance. Nobody is proposing any real solution to the problem of Zionist Jews and angry Moslems living together and hating each other.
The Congo and Katanga
If ever a country was not ready for independence, the Belgian Congo was it. The new independent government had to pass a law against allowing cans of food to have pictures of people on them for fear that purchasers might think the cans contained human flesh.
One region enjoyed modern civilization, Katanga. The enlightened United Nations bombed Katanga back into submission to the central government and its concerns about cannibalism.
In my lifetime, it was possible for a family to pick up a Land Rover in Capetown and drive it to Cairo in safety, never leaving British Commonwealth jurisdiction until it reached the Kingdom of Egypt. Today, it is unlikely that the family would get to Cairo alive.
Heading north from South Africa, the next country they would enter is Zimbabwe, formerly Southern Rhodesia and Rhodesia. It was a self-governing colony, the ideal kind of colonial government. It did not want to give up its government; when backed into a corner, it declared independence. It probably has the largest percentage of competent citizens of any African country south of the equator, except South Africa. The British government insisted on treating the people as a subservient colony and imposed a government whose monetary policies make the Weimar Republic seem thrifty. Huge confiscations took place. It is impossible to say that the British-imposed version of independence improved anything.
About half way up to Egypt, straddling the equator, is Kenya, the only success story in East Africa. It has a civilized government modeled on its old colonial government. Petty criminals are still whipped. The Kings African Rifles simply became to Kenyan African Rifles without missing a beat. I watched an inauguration of a Kenyan president. Three of the most prominent guests were the Cardinal Archbishop of Nairobi, the Anglican Archbishop Primate of Kenya, and a distinguished old British general. Great Britain has turned its back on those Britons who stayed behind and helped to build the new Kenya.
Kenya is a country that has learned to live with contradictions. They say that tribalism no longer has a place in Kenya, but the Kikuyu teach their children modern skills, and the Maasai teach their children to kill with spears. The Kikuyu are politicians, but their bodyguards are Maasai. Kenya, however, refuses to admit there was ever a Mau Mau uprising; this brutal return to barbarism was indeed real.
West of Kenya is Uganda, the kind of country where people believe in turning stones into hand grenades by blessing them. Kenya is overrun by refugees willing to serve a short term in a Kenyan jail for entering the country illegally in order to escape death at the hands of the government of Uganda. North of Kenya is Sudan, where they kill Christians on sight. Much of the Christian population of Sudan has fled to Kenya.
The northern end of East Africa is Egypt. Like Libya, it followed a path from colony to monarchy, to military dictatorship, to mob rule. Egypt’s mobs have killed many Christians and burned many churches.
Egypt was evangelized 2,000 years ago by Saint Mark. Its Christian culture is rich in both Catholic and Orthodox rites. There is a strong tradition of sending Moslem children to the best Christian schools in Egypt. All of this is threatened by the mobs and by radical groups like the Moslem Brotherhood.
India was the greatest colonial success story. In a single colony that included what is now India (except Goa), Pakistan, and Bangladesh, Hindus, Moslems, Christians, and others lived together and worked together. There were Sikhs, Bengalis, and the finest British civil servants in the empire. Within hours of independence, civil war broke out, and millions of people died.
India was evangelized by the Apostle Saint Thomas. Its two ancient liturgies are very similar to the Syriac, also composed by Saint Thomas the Apostle. In centuries of lost contact with the West, the Indians kept the Catholic faith intact.
The Malvinas and Northern Ireland
There are only three places where colonialism is respectable among the liberal elites: the Malvinas, which the British call the Falklands; Gibraltar; and the six counties of Northern Ireland. The Falklands are small islands off the Argentinian coast claimed by both Great Britain and Argentina; the British won the last war over them. Gibraltar is a tiny British colony in Spain, which the Spaniards would like back.
Ireland consists of four provinces. Three of them and about one-third of the fourth province are in the Republic of Ireland; two-thirds of the fourth one (the “six counties”) are part of Great Britain. The Catholic areas of the six counties held by Britain would like to be reunited with the Republic of Ireland, but a politically powerful Protestant faction opposes this.
There is no danger of offending cannibals by hanging on to those last three colonies, only of offending Catholics, whom our liberal elites hate, so the architects of decolonization never extended it to Catholics.
The old greater India, once the jewel of the British Empire, has been replaced by countries that hate each other and bring terrorism to Bombay. North Africa and the Middle East, once a wonderful mixture of English, French, Italian, and Spanish civilizations, is now one of the most violent and uncivilized places on earth. Saigon, with its marvelous mixture of French and Chinese civilizations, is gone. East Africa, once the model of enlightened colonialism, has returned to barbarism.
Decolonization has turned out to be a lot like giving a loaded machine gun to a 13-year old and telling him to make up his own gun safety rules. It is time for the adult countries, if there still are any, to take charge.
The Confederate Lawyer column is copyright © 2014 by Charles G. Mills and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfBooks.com. All rights reserved.
Charles Mills, Esq. has a B.A. from Yale in Latin and Greek; a law degree from Boston College; and an LI.M degree from Touro College in which he focused on veterans’ benefits and Constitutional law.