We need a global cultural revolution. A bringing to a sudden end this half-millennia long faith healing show where a perspiring West preaches humanistic values and economic prosperity while cutting holes in the pockets of an entranced colonised world.
We need not only an end to the world order set up by Western hegemony but an end to the appreciation of the West. We need the rage we feel after looking out at the charred remains of our earth under centuries of Western rule to mature into an act. The act of putting the West aside.
There must be an ushering in of a new day on earth where pulling our bodies, our lives, our lands back from the hammer-pry of colonialism is not deliberately misreported as “clashes” where white racists who deliberately hunt and deliberately kill Black elders in communities deliberately ruined by white racists are not immediately comfort-blanketed with reports of being “troubled”. Where our chanting to be allowed to live – and the inevitable procession of mourners come down upon by apartheid’s police forces – are no longer deliberately misframed as culture wars or intractable conflicts. This current chapter of Western-run human history must be flung shut.
We should have been more desperate for a post-Western world. A world where it is odd for white-skinned refugees to have every type of door flung open for them at the sight of their Primark shopping bags while it is routine for darker-skinned refugees to be force-fed toilet water in the American borderlands or sold on Libyan slave auction blocks.
Odd, reporters openly calling for guerrilla resistance against oppression in Ukraine while the killing of Black people whether by drone strikes in Yemen or by an American in a grocery store must be responded to with pacifism.
Odd. Not hypocritical. Unintelligible.
Dark-skinned refugees horsewhipped by American border agents in cowboy hats. Shot at by Europeans while on unseaworthy crafts sutured together with Hadiths and Psalms. Pointed at to explain resurgent Nazi sentiment. Ordered to let white people board first during evacuations. Referred to as crime waves and invaders while flaxen-haired refugees benefit from Fortune 500 company fundraisers, Airbnb programmes and win singing contests. Odd. Not hypocritical. Unintelligible.
It must be accepted now that the West, however mythologised, be it American-led “democracy” or classical “Western” political ideas, has proven that it does not have the necessary intellectual or political infrastructure to put down its perpetually rising Nazism. It has proven inadequate to the task of not harming the vast majority of humanity. Its ideas and institutions have proven incapable of destroying and ridding itself of colonial racism – if it is to be accepted that the project of the West is something other than the project of colonial racism.
The apologists will bring you Locke and Rousseau and protest that the West brought you life, liberty and the social contract. They are careful not to reveal that in the Atlantic Ocean of the fine print, sharks were learning to trail the slave ships, waiting like yelping dogs for the feast of live Africans dumped over the starboard side. They will say we brought you the telegraph and the railway but will not mention the jokes they made at the indentured South Asians they sent to be mauled by lions in East Africa as they laid the tracks. Nor their hunting of families in Tasmania, nor the women abused at the Kamiti concentration camp accused, like the American “negress”, of subverting the aims of the settler state. They will say one-day delivery but say nothing about the suicide-prevention nets and the urine in driver’s bottles to keep up the pace.
Whatever it takes to leave racism and thus hatred of the vast majority of people on the earth behind, the Western world does not possess and will never possess. That alone disqualifies it from continuing any further.
And if we are wrong, if a non-racist enlightenment is indeed, for real this time, just around the corner, if it only takes a bit more patience as the liberal has promised since hansom cabs and the French Revolution then let us jump the gun. They are not the only ones allowed to be too hasty. Let us rid ourselves of association with the West, even if it is in error. Become too rushed, too reckless in our leaving it. Commit oversights. Forget to include the West in the vision of the future as if it were a slave in their declarations and charters and constitutions. Let us be dogs no longer satisfied to chase after the mechanical rabbit. Hang tomorrow. Arrest patience. White supremacists are not the only ones who get to make the world. The wretched of the earth can seize the reins and are free to crash the horse.
The West is kept in the breast pocket of every one-man race riot the colony provides with an AR-15. In a locket of every in-training genocidaire assisted by the algorithms of tech profiteers who look the other way as convincingly as the port cities of the triangular trade. Nudged along by a hate group accepted as a political party and the television personalities of a white nationalist media empire more impactful than all of the early 20th century lynch mob-inciting US newspapers combined.
Wherever there is a group touting Western civilisation and values an ethnic slur is not far behind. An unfairly graded Black student, a pogrom-preparing fascist club is not far behind. If that group praises the West as the champion of women’s rights, it will also lead the charge to end those rights. Where it celebrates Western humanism it will be the first to dehumanise. Values its secularism it will crusade. Western cosmopolitanism? Inclusivity? It will volunteer as border minutemen. Where it celebrates Western rationality and scientific advancement it will cling to biological determinism and the racial classificatory charts of the 1700s. “The West” is a Trojan horse for the racist.
The West is trafficked on the dark web and 8chan, Twitch and sung by all the new Nazi parties. Pounded at the lecterns of celebrity racist professors and top podcast hosts who are carried atop shoulders of incels who blame caricatures of “the Blacks” for their perceived lack of desirability instead of the stench of their expired worldview. Well, let there indeed be a “Clash of Civilisations”, or rather a clash of the Western traditionalists who hold that the colonised can be hurt with impunity and the anti-colonial world. The post-Western world. An insurrection of the good equipped not with open arms and listening, but rubbish bins.
It is time for putting aside the West. Abandoning the sycophantic enthralment with their architecture, croissants smeared with contraband West African chocolate, and end to lusting after their fashion brands. A devaluing of their political institutions as far as their political institutions have devalued our lives. Smash the crystal wine glasses, case the cello, drop the overvaluation of all things “European” so that its stock market crashes in a way that it can never recover.
A cultural revolution is not a sideline cause when Occidentophilia excavates mental and economic resources more efficiently than their mining corporations steal raw materials. When it fuels fascism and leads Indigenous libraries to a self-immolation that burns more brightly than a crop-dusting of agent orange. When it makes resistance hesitant.
The colonised’s admiration of the West is fatal. It seconds the white supremacists’ supremacism. Confirms for them that they are indeed right pulling our people from evacuation transport because they are superior. That their innocents’ deaths shall launch a thousand warships and ours a stern comment about how the right is mainstreaming extremist rhetoric. It affirms for the race “massacrist” in training that the West is indeed coveted and they are right to leave us dying in the streets, struggling in cuffs, or warehoused in prisons. It buoys every racist commenter that responds to the dishevelled migrants fleeing from colonial violence with “if we are so bad why are people crossing our borders”. It tells them it is indeed the moral superiority of the West that we are running to. Not the ruins of imperialism. Not the wars they have implanted, cultivated and nurtured. The forests they’ve set alight.
“Now, comrades, now is the time to decide to change sides … We must abandon our dreams and say farewell to our old beliefs and former friendships. Let us not lose time in useless laments or sickening mimicry. Let us leave this Europe which never stops talking of man yet massacres him at every one of its street corners, at every corner of the world.”
Now. Now is the time. Now at the junction of the climate’s end and the unlimited takeover attempts their liberal governments grant fascists. When Congolese are killed after Western traffic stops, when the Congo is killed by Western mining corps, it is full passed the time. When their most reputable papers misrepresent the killing and the funeral of a journalist. When our people are killed for existing. It is time.
They cannot quit colonialism. Leave this West. Let us see if we cannot build a world on mangos and abolition.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.