Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 34, No. 220. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: email@example.com Date: 2020-08-07 10:59:19+00:00 From: Gabriel Egan
Subject: Re: [Humanist] 34.215: memory Dear HUMANISTs A new kind of bigotry is being normalized in literary culture. In the essay "This Vast Conspiracy of Memory" by Khalid Warsame that Willard points us to, the author remarks "Think of Western civilisation: 500 years of war-making and theft and murder and for what? A barren hothouse of a planet to show for it". The essay recounts Warsame's thoughts from different places he has travelled to. With no apparent sense of irony, Warsame's very next sentence after his dismissal of Western civilization as all bad is "On a plane, while hurtling across the Indian Ocean, I found myself ...". Is not that aeroplane a rather good outcome of Western civilization? Warsame clearly travels a lot but doesn't seem to think that has any connection to the hothouse planet: it's all the fault of "Western civilization". But the really objectionable part of Warsame's essay is its casual anti-white racism. He describes the phrase "sites of significance" as "a white phrase--it reeks of detachment, a heinous dodge". Warsame describes Britain as "the birthplace of all the unpleasantness of this modern age". He says his "hope was that the British would ... feel embarrassed about centuries of colonialism". This is the religious notion of original sin. Warsame apparently believes that Britain's population is comprised solely of white beneficiaries of colonialism who ought to feel guilty about it. It seems that travelling has not broadened Warsame's mind or even opened his eyes. I feel tempted to invite him to develop his theme of British people's responsibility for colonialism by giving a talk at my university, which is in a British city of a third of a million people, the majority of whom are not white. Regards Gabriel Egan _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: firstname.lastname@example.org List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/ Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php
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