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My Thoughts XXI: Colonial Borders

Yellow Water Lilly, on Turtle Bay, Little Lake Joseph, Ontario, Turtle Island

Yellow Water Lilly, on Turtle Bay, Little Lake Joseph, Ontario, Turtle Island

Sitting and watching the kerfuffle In Afghanistan, while NATO troops are scrambling to get themselves out of Kabul airport where they have been stuck for weeks now, made me once again think of the failure to fully understand why this Afghanistan invasion was bound to fail. Or, maybe it was understood but the American war machine must keep going with its forever wars. After-all, we can't let defense contractors without wars. They might go broke.

British Imperialism created the borders between India and Pakistan, and thus, shaped Afghanistan's borders too, cutting through Pashtun territory with impunity. We now have a big part of Pashtun territory in Afghanistan and some, in Pakistan. Is it a surprise that if Pashtuns (Taliban) are attacked in Afghanistan, many more Pashtun people will send financial aid, or military aid, or trained fighters, from North Waziristan, in Pakistan? It really isn't and understanding that, would facilitate the understanding of why NATO troops could never fully secure Afghanistan.

In the next province to where I live, Quebec, the Kanien'kehá:ka (“People of the Chert”) territory is cut by the border of United States and Canada. After losing control on its American colonies, the British Empire still managed to hold on to parts of Canada and by 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed and the border between Canada and the United States was formally decided. Did anyone ask the First Nations people's opinion on the creation of the border? Of course not. That is why we have some Kanien'kehá:ka people, commonly known as Mohawks stuck in Quebec, Canada and some stuck in New York, United States.

Now what would happen if Mohawks came under some sort of attack in the United States? Mohawks from Canada would flood-into the United States, to help their own tribal members. Their territory, history and culture did not just vanish because a part of their land became called United States and another part called Canada, by white people who invaded their territory and imposed a different way of life. I do not think many white people understand this and they need to.

Not long ago, I had to explain to someone that all the chaos, multiple civil wars and tragedies of Sudan, have been in a big part a making of colonial powers. Belgium, France, Britain, even Egypt, all had involvement in Sudan from the 1800s to its independence in 1956, 65 years ago.

We now have a South Sudan and a North Sudan thanks to the "Anglo-Egyptian Sudan" idea, implemented by the said countries. Were the many different tribes who live in that region consulted on splitting the land of "Sudan" in two? Of course not. That is not how colonialism works. Colonialism works through brute force and through oppression. The intent is almost always to plunder resources. There is no care for the native people. Those are just seen as frustrating impediments, which need to be either silenced, or "neutralized' (military terminology, to make "killing" sound a little better).

And this has happened all over the world. Who gave the land of Palestine to the Jewish people? Great Britain because Great Britain had the Mandate for Palestine, while France had the mandate for Lebanon. France and Britain just decided what countries they "owned" in the Middle East, like it was some sort of a board game. So, that is the bloody truth in that case: Great Britain is fully responsible for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict after it ran away from the Middle East, like the Americans are running away from Afghanistan now.

We have to understand history, in order to be able to understand what is happening today. The Pashtun people have not disappeared because Great Britain created India and Pakistan. Their territory remains the same, just like Mohawk territory is still here and the people are still here. No amount of imaginary lines/borders are going to change their being and their way of life. No amount of military intervention is going to turn Afghanistan into whatever American war-hawks think it can be turned into. We have to learn this and we have to fix the many, many wrongs created by Imperialism.

I wish for peace in Sudan. I wish for peace in Israel and in Palestine. I wish for peace in Afghanistan and I wish for peace between Native people here in North America and the colonizing powers. This can only happen through mutual respect and by making right of the many wrong things which have been done by and through colonialism.

All the best to everyone!


'The death toll could be very high here indeed' Catherine Norris-Trent reports from Kabul


Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on September 06, 2021:

Thank You for the visit and comment, Mr. Spirit Whisperer.

The military equipment is often left behind. It has happened in Iraq too.That way, taxpayers have to cough-up more money and defense contractors/Military Industrial Complex are/is happy to provide new ones. Thus, keeping the flow of money coming their way. It's all about profit in this case.

All the very best!

Xavier Nathan from Isle of Man on September 05, 2021:

This is an excellent piece succinct and to the point. Without understanding the history it isn difficult to see why these places are experiencing so much suffering to this day. I fear the US has not yet finished with Afghanistan, why else would they leave billions of dollars worth of military equipment behind for the Taliban to use?

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on August 28, 2021:

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Almost missed your comment, Mr. Bill. Sorry about that.

"We have hundreds of years of wrongs to right" - As long as we can at least acknowledge that, we're on the right track.

Thank You for your visit and comment. Have a great weekend!

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on August 27, 2021:

Yes Mr. Carriere, Iraq is another good example of how borders which do not respect the territory of the people living there, will result in long-term conflicts. The idea has been put forth to separate Iraq in different regions. I would say, consulting the people there is the best way forward, as supposed to imposing on them borders, a constitution and a way of life which they might never agree to.

This is all very complicated stuff but certainly bullets, tanks and rockets will not solve these problems.

Thank You for the visit and for taking the time to leave a comment!

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on August 27, 2021:

Greetings Mr. Rupert.

"Pooh-bahs" sent me to the dictionary but yes, indeed I agree: they will be desperately be looking for the next possible war, like drug addicts look for the next high. Money is addictive.

All we can do is try to let people know the truth and perhaps then, popular support for engagement in wars will decrease.

"There are no winners in wars. There are only survivors" - A First Nation's Elder.

Thank You for the visit and all the best!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 27, 2021:

Any student of history, who has an open mind, would agree with your summation here. We have hundreds of years of wrongs to right, and correcting those wrongs will only happen if we acknowledge that they exist.

Blessings to you always

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on August 27, 2021:

Mr. Happy, you are absolutely right that borders artificially drawn by colonial powers are the cause of many conflicts we have around the world today. Iraq is another example I don't think you cited. Shias and Sunnis were mixed together in the same pot, and only a strongman bully like Saddam could bring any order to that mess.

Great work.

Rupert Taylor from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada on August 26, 2021:

Hi Mr. Happy. You and I have exchanged views on colonialism in the past and we are both on the same page. It was all about stealing resources from Indigenous people with the thin veneer of "civilizing the Natives" painted over it.

Afghanistan and Iraq have proven to be the golden geese for the military-industrial complex. But, as hostilities begin to wind down, the pooh-bahs that operate the defence contractors must be wondering who next can we bother?

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