Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (referred to as AMLO) has asked Spain to apologize for past colonial crimes. Spain has refused to do so. Many view this as a supreme virtue signaling, in which Spain refused to indulge.
Historically, the Spanish undeniably committed many crimes in Mexico, but given that the Aztecs were practicing human sacrifice – which influenced many aboriginal tribes to ally with Spain’s Hernán Cortés in his war against the Aztecs – it is a surely nuanced case. Would Presidente AMLO have preferred that the Aztecs have won?
Of course, though not stated, Presidente AMLO’s demand for apology is part of the present worldwide zeitgeist which can be roughly summarized as: People of Color: Good – Euro-White: Bad.
This is nothing new. Susan Sontag said as much in the 1960s:
The white race is the cancer of human history.
So AMLO is a bit late to the game, and a bit confused.
The Vatican has apologized for its past crimes in the New World.
Pope Francis offered a direct apology on Thursday for the complicity of the Roman Catholic Church in the oppression of Latin America during the colonial era… New York Times -- 2015
However, what is left out is that in many instances the Roman Catholic Church, though flawed, sought to curtail the excesses of the conquistadors. Sadly, the Protestant conquerors were not much better.
Still, I think most modern Catholics would be happier if the pope concentrated on the Catholic Church’s more recent crimes, such as the sexual predation scandals. Perhaps doing away with clerical celibacy would be a start – and leave the 16thcentury crimes of colonialism to the judgment of God.
I take a more pragmatic view of a lot of this.
What is the population of the natives before and after the European conquests?
For example: the population of Africa was 90 million in 1800. Today, it is 1.2 billion. Does anyone doubt that the introduction of Western (read White European) medicine, hygiene, and electricity is responsible for most of this?
This is not to lessen the horrors, for example, of the crimes committed in the Belgian Congo at the end of the 19th century, but it is to put them in perspective. For every native killed by the white man, how many Africans have been saved by medicines invented by the white man? The balance of good is weighted in favor of whites.
In almost every colonial case – there are some exceptions – the native peoples were often in better shape after the white man left than before the white man came. Yes, crimes were committed, but the overall trend of history has been general improvement under white Christian rule.
But what about those exceptions? Here is a short (and incomplete) list:
Spain itself -- I seriously think Spain would have been better had it not been occupied by the Muslims. I am contrarian to the present opinion regarding the glories of Muslim Spain. Indeed, a closer examination shows that whatever Spain got from the Muslims was something the Muslims stole from somewhere else, often from whites. The benefits would have come to Spain in any event, without the culture distorting horrors introduced by the Muslims.
North Africa – At one point, North Africa was totally Christian and prosperous. The Muslims took over and North Africa became a dump. Perhaps an apology is due, but, outside of the Copts, there are no indigenous Christians left to claim it.
Ireland and Highland Scotland -- There can be no doubt that English wars brutalized the Irish, and England’s policies aggravated the potato famine. That, along with the Highland Clearances, precipitated a mass exodus of Gaels to the outside world. There are far fewer Gaels in Ireland and the Scottish Highlands than there were in the early 19th century. However, that is mitigated by the fact that there are many times more Gaels in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina than there ever were in the Gaelic homelands. Unlike Aztec Mexico, one could make the case that Scotland and Ireland would have prospered, and possibly been better, without colonial intrusion. But, this was an intra-white contest, and so does not count with today’s virtue signalers.
The Old (Baltic) Prussians – They have disappeared to history. They were wiped out (or absorbed) between the Balts and the Germans. But they were only white, and could not possibly be real victims.
The Indians – At least 80 million Indians were slaughtered due to the Muslim invasions, but no one dares asks the Muslims for an apology, or recompense from the Saudis, the present owners of Mecca. King Abdullah of Jordan, a direct descendant of Mohammed, and his country, are too bankrupt to pay reparations.
Tibet – Tibet is iffy. While the Communist Chinese are cruel, the Tibetan culture was truly deranged with a demigod Dalai Llama. Children were put into enforced celibate monasticism before hitting puberty. The whole cult was bizarre. But whoever was right or wrong, they are not officially Euro-white, and so cannot be held up to condemnation. Just consider Tibet’s indigenous idiocy to be a proud heritage of color, even if Tibetans have a substantial amount of Indo-European DNA -- at least the Nazis thought so.
The Christian Lebanese – More than once, the Muslims tried to wipe out the Christians in Lebanon. Today there are more than 10 times as many Lebanese Christians in the New World than are left in Lebanon, which is evidence of the severity of the ethnic cleansing done by the Muslims. Were the Christian Lebanese to return, they would outnumber the Muslims many times over.
Much of what we consider the white race once occupied large areas out to the borders of China. The Uighurs, whom China considers a problem today, are genetically 60% Indo-European. But not only the Chinese caused problems for the Uighurs; they were also hammered by Islam, until they became Muslim.
Asian and African aggressions (the Huns, Islamic, and Mongols) permanently wrested large areas from white control and even advanced into Western Europe for a while. Muslims even made it up to Poland.
The Indigenous of the Americas -- Here, one has something of a case. But often the excesses or crimes were committed after the Europeans powers had left. For example: Argentina’s General Julio Roca started his Conquest of the Desertdecades after Spain had been booted out. While there were crimes committed, a good portion, if not the majority, of the deaths were due to disease, not genocide.
How far the present idiocy has become the new norm can best be seen by watching this comment from a Jewish returnee, Yehuda HaKohen, to Silwan in Jerusalem.
I got to New York the same way black people got to New York. White people invaded my country… Vice News – YouTube (10:40)
Though born in New York, Mr. HaKohen compares himself to the black experience. Well, while the Jews were victims of the Romans -- who often used local Mideastern tribes in their legions, according to Josephus -- someone should tell HaKohen that he, himself, is white.
In the diaspora, many Jews mixed, and HaKohen is living proof. He did not get to New York the same way black people got to New York, not unless black people came on steamships from Europe.
The origin of the Ashkenazi Jews, who come most recently from Europe, has largely been shrouded in mystery. But a new study suggests that at least their maternal lineage may derive largely from Europe. -- Live Science
Don’t you just cringe when blue-eyed, fair-skinned people claim to be people of color?
Now, I am not saying that the Spanish were innocents in Mexico or that Europeans were innocents everywhere; but let’s keep a sense of proportion. Overall, European colonialism, for all its faults, did more good than harm. And remember that people of color were sometimes the colonizers, while whites were sometimes the victims.
Ask yourself this question: If Mexico today were populated by Europeans (say the Belgians, or the Germans, or the French), or even by the Japanese, would it be a rich country or a poor one?
Take for example Scotland. The Scots do not seek reparations for the crimes of Edward Longshanks (a matter of the past), but many would like to be free of England (a present issue confronting the Scots today).
I would recommend that AMLO work on present issues and leave the conquistadors to history.
Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who wishes he had availed himself more fully of the opportunity to learn Spanish better in high school, lo those many decades ago. He runs a website, Latin Arabia, about the Christian Arab community in South America.