Tag Archives: native

Colonisation and “The Tempest”.

Say whose side you are on in the contest between Prospero and Caliban as it appears at the end of Act 1 Sc 2.

How do humans live without so called civilisation?  How do tribes of nomadic indigenous people even survive without the internet, mobile phones or the golden arches of a favorite fast food place.

Fast food for Australian indigenous people was an emu who could travel at 50km per hour or a kangaroo capable of speeds up to 70km per hour. The calling of a relative involved travelling to see them and spending time with them. Instead of Facebook, they had face to face.

We in the western world think that we are far superior to the natives of lands whom we rape for resources and riches. Natives of North America were conned into giving away precious land and resources in exchange for coloured beads. Now the American government just takes the land that has been in traditional ownership for centuries in exchange for nothing. This is sacred land. Land of great importance to the natives. Western man’s greed is greater and to him, more important, than a natives man’s sacred spots. For more on this issue follow the link.

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/01/us/standing-rock-sioux-sacred-land-dakota-pipeline/

Nauru is an island nation that was raped of its resources. The phosphate that was here was a result of an abundant bird life.here The Island has been inhabited by Polynesian and Micronesian people for over 3000 years. Prior to colonisation, this was a land which was plentiful. The people farmed the land growing fruits and vegetables and catching the fish in the waters that surrounded the nation. Then the Germans colonised it and began to rape the land of the phosphate to make their grass green in their own backyards. It continued under British,Australian, and NewZealand administrations after WWI.

nauru-phosphate-mining-1

Tall pillars of coral is what remains after the phosphate is removed. © PHILIP GAME/ALAMY

Nauru gained its independence in 1968 but by then the land was barren, the waters polluted and the people reliant on imported canned goods from the western world to feed themselves. This introduced obesity and disease to the land.

In The Tempest, by William Shakespeare we see Prospero come to the Island that was inhabited only by Caliban and Ariel. Ariel was a spirit, trapped in a tree by a witch who had since died and so had no way of release. Prospero released Ariel but placed the spirit in servitude to do his bidding.

Caliban was the son of that same witch. He was born with deformities and was seen in his state to be less than human. He wandered the island and knew it like the back of his hand. He reminds Prospero in his speech in Act 1 Scene 2

“…show’d thee all the qualities o’ the isle,
The fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile:”

Before Prospero came, Caliban was King of that Island, although he had no subjects. He would have not been able to procreate, and the Kingdom would have died with him.

Prospero was the coloniser, albeit an unwilling one. Again from that same speech, Caliban states:

“This island’s mine, by Sycorax my mother,
Which thou takest from me. When thou camest first,
Thou strokedst me and madest much of me, wouldst give me
Water with berries in’t, and teach me how
To name the bigger light, and how the less,
That burn by day and night: and then I loved thee”

and Prospero reminds Caliban

I pitied thee,
Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour
One thing or other: when thou didst not, savage,
Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like
A thing most brutish, I endow’d thy purposes
With words that made them known.

Caliban sought to procreate with Prospero’s daughter, whom at the time was quite young. Caliban did not know the harm he could cause to the girl, or the social graces of courting, wooing and consent. He sought to take her and thus gained the wrath of Prospero and indeed his daughter Miranda.

So the blog question is…Say whose side you are on in the contest between Prospero and Caliban as it appears at the end of Act 1 Sc 2. Is colonisation a good thing? I would have to say no. Colonisation occurs and did occur on the island in The Tempest, to the detriment of the natives who already inhabit the land.

Without Prospero, Caliban would have happily lived on the island, using its resources wisely, respecting and knowing the land intimately. Prospero spoilt that with his attitude of superiority over Caliban.Because he could speak a language which he thought others should be able to speak, and hence communicate, he thought himself better than Caliban whom he couldn’t understand himself.

The western world think they are so much better than the native people who inhabit a place before colonisation. The Australian Settlers deemed the land uninhabited when they landed, even though the natives of the land were clearly evident. The settlers did not think of the natives as human.

We boast our civilisation is a better way if living. In Whose eyes? We say that western medicine is good for helping the natives live longer, free from pain and disease. It was the white man who bought the diseases in a lot of cases. It was also the white man who introduced the indigenous people of Australia to alcohol, and tobacco. It was the white man who bought petrol vehicles to the country and allowed the young people to sniff it, infecting their minds.

There are very few areas in the world not colonised. I believe there are areas in South America and New Guinea who don’t know white man. North Sentinel Island near India, has inhabitants who shoot arrows at airplanes who come to close. Leave them be I say. These people do not need out western society with all the politics, greed and corruption.The people of North Sentinel Island have survived without modern man for 60,000 years. They are doing alright without us.

Sentinelese tribespeople, holding javelins, gather on the shore of North Sentinel Island, located in the Bay of Bengal 

Sentinelese tribespeople, holding javelins, gather on the shore of North Sentinel Island, located in the Bay of Bengal

So it is a good thing when Prospero is restored to the Dukedom and returns to Milan, leaving a freed Ariel Spirit and Caliban to inhabit the island alone. Perhaps no major damage is done and Caliban is able to restore the Island to the former beauty.

Dave

 

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