Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Speeches on colonialism

Caricature of  Jules Ferry  and the consequences of the conquest of Tonkin

Here you have the two texts I have read today in Spanish. They belong to a debate in the French National Assembly, which took place in July 1885. The debate was about the consequences of the French defeat at Tonkin, in Indochina. Jules Ferry was France´s former prime minister and he tried to defend the colonial policy his government had followed. Georges Clemenceau was the head of the Radical Party and he criticized Ferry´s arguments on colonialism 

This is what Jules Ferry said: 

Gentlemen, it is necessary to speak higher and more truth! it should be said openly that indeed, the higher races have a right with respect to the lower races... I repeat that there is for the higher races a right, because there is a duty for them. They have the duty to civilize the lower races... (...) "

And this is what Georges Clemenceau answered:

The Hindus, an inferior race? The Chinese, an inferior race? (...) Not there is no right of the nations known as higher against the lower nations. There is the struggle for the life which is a fatal need, that as we rise in civilization we must contain within the limits of justice and the right. But let us not try to cover the violence of the hypocritical name of civilization. Let us not speak about right, to have. The conquest that you recommend, it is the pure and simple abuse force which the man gives scientific civilization on rudimentary civilizations to adapt, to torture it, to extract from it all the force which is in him with the profit of alleged civilizing. It is not the right, it is the negation. To speak on this subject about civilization, it is to join to violence hypocrisy.

1 comment:

Silvia Castiblanque Sánchez said...

Very good post Paqui because in this post we can see the people that were against colonialism and in favour.