Jesley CamaraDeborah RaynerHist-100-10075 December 2017 Decolonization of French North Africa andIndiaAfter World War II, there was uprisingdecolonization in many regions of the world. During this time, the World Warshad weakened the main colonial powers that they can no longer afford empiresand maintain their colonies. The relationships between colonies changed, andthey yearned for independence. Various economic, and political factors serve asa catalyst to the independence of many colonies from their rulers.
However, I believethat nationalism led the colonies to their success in reclaiming independenceback to their motherland. Nationalismis a concept that drives decolonization and it made nations out of formercolonies. (Lec 11/20) It involves the feeling of attachment towards race,culture, religion, and willingness to fight for it. Through the drive ofnationalism, the decolonization of French North Africa empowered thoughts ofliberty and freedom. Decolonization is the ”withdrawal from its formercolonies of a colonial power” (OED). An African country that was invaded bythe French is Algeria. The main objective of the French was for economic gainand because they wanted to gain a more powerful empire than the British (Lec 11/20).Also, the French wanted to expand trade and the French influence in order to recoverfrom the wars.
Algeria was considered a part of France, ”Long live theRepublic! Long live Algeria and long live France” (257). The French controlledthe lives of Algerians by making them live up to their rules. Algerians weretreated as second-class citizens and were not granted basic needs in life. Notto mention, Algerian Arabs were also treated badly by the French and were notconsidered as citizens because they were Muslims. They were not employed andwere forced to live in the ghettoes due to racism (Lec 11/20). As a result,Algerians became tired of the unjust ways of the French so they decided tofight for their freedom through violence.
A nationalist movement began with the NationalLiberation Front (NFL). NFL succeeded in gathering Algerians together in orderto fight for Algeria’s independence. The FLN extremist exclaimed, ”our actionis directly solely against colonialism, our only blind and obstinate enemy,which has always refused to grant the least freedom and peaceful means” (257).
Algerians want to remember who they are as country again so they want thecolonizers out from their land. In the film of the Battle of Algiers, Algeria’sfight for independence from the French led to terrorism. An example ofterrorism shown was the women that were part of the FLN.
They disguisedthemselves as Europeans and carried baskets with bombs and left them in crowdedcafes, leaving many people dead. The people of Algeria’s national pride drovethem to put an end to the French rule in order to save their country andrestore its nationalism. They propose that the French authorities negotiatewith them their right to self-determination (Battle of the Algiers movie).
Algerians want to make their cultural identity and have right to have its ownstate. However, Algeria was not the only nation that wanted to fight fornationalism. Many nations had the goal to be their own independent nations likeIndia.India, on the other hand, was colonizedby Great Britain because it was known as the ”Jewel in the Crown” because ofits many significant resources. (Lec 11/15) The British came to trade and usedall means in order to dominate India and exploit the riches of India from theirmother country even when this practice may result in hurting its economy. Allof the things the British built in India were only for their access to theinteriors and the raw materials for their industry. Due to this, the Indians greatlysuffered because the British drained their wealth from continuous abuse of itsresources and people.
At some point, Indians realized that they have to fightGreat Britain to reclaim independence that was taken from them. This led to thenon-cooperation movement, which was led by Gandhi (Lec 11/15). Gandhi impartedideals, beliefs and convictions to his fellow countrymen. Gandhi tells theIndian people that they need to boycott all British goods and break Britishlaws in order to hurt the British colonial economy. He encouraged the Indiansto use non-violent ways to achieve their goals. According to Gandhi, ”in thedemocracy I have envisaged, a democracy established by non-violence, there willbe equal freedom for all.
Everybody will be his own master” (243). He believesthat nonviolence is a weapon that can be used in order to be free. He argues goingto war will only make the problem worse and cause more deaths. Additionally, Mahatma Gandhi alsocontributed to a protest against salt taxes, known as the Salt March.
It was acampaign of tax resistance and nonviolent protest against the British saltmonopoly in India (Lec 11/15). Gandhi used taxation in order to get many peopleinvolved. Thousands of people walked with Gandhi, and some of them were women.Many people thought that this was the start of involvement of women in anationalistic movement against the British rule.
Gandhi says regarding thewomen in the Salt March, ”the impatience of some sisters to join the goodfight to me is a healthy sign” (245). Gandhi believes that women were fit tospread the message of nonviolence to the people. The women’s involvement in thesalt protests was an inspiration for women in India to fight for their independence.All in all, Decolonization refers to thechanges in the economic and political relations between the colonies and theirrulers. The colonies were able to achieve decolonization whether throughpeaceful negotiations or violent wars.
Algeria used protracted violence becausecolonial rulers were opposed to full independence and India used passiveresistance in order to achieve their independence. The biggest effect ofdecolonization is nationalism because without it, independence would not bepossible.