The Need for Reparations

To this day, the evil of colonialism has not sunken in. The exhibition on Thomas Stamford Raffles in the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) in Singapore on the occasion of the bicentennial of the 1819 founding of the British colony has provided an opportunity for reflection. I was inspired by posts and remarks from Faris Joraimi […]

Indies Literature: Thoughts on ‘This Earth of Mankind’ by Pramoedya Ananta Toer

The Dutch lack of awareness of its colonial past has almost become a cliché. Anticolonial activists clamouring for compensiation and pundits nostalgic for a past where the Netherlands once dared to dream of a permanent seat on the UN Security Council both lament the uneducated state of the public. Their oft repeated complaint has actually […]

Before Europe Can Come Back, Does It Need A ‘Kniefall’?

For large numbers of peoples in the world, the decline of Europe meant their liberation. On his recent state visit in China, President Macron confidently stated ‘France is back. Europe is back.’ It is good for the European Union to stake out its own place in the world and develop an independent foreign policy. However, […]

Carving up the Girdle of Emerald: colonialism’s violent cleavages

The evil of colonialism is not expressed in a sum of its benefits and downsides. These debates over British railways in India and economic development miss the point of colonialism entirely. Colonialism is violence. It is not just that it entails violence as an inevitable product of its system, colonialism itself is an act of epistemic […]

Section 377A is racist

Former High Court of Australia Justice Michael Kirby once termed the sodomy offence ‘England’s Least Lovely Criminal Law Export.’ Much has been said about this nefarious side-effect of the supposed rule of law exported throughout the British Empire in the form of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. There is a certain irony in seeing […]