23 July 2013

Thoughts from an Autochthonous Center

For approximately five hundred years, European civilizations subjugated or destroyed peoples around the world. By the 1890s, about 85% of the land mass of the earth was either a colony or a former colony of Europe. During the long period of conquest, Europeans developed an intensive and impressive body of ideologies to explain their success as the inevitable result of the inherent superiority of the culture and at points even their biology, although the expansion actually the result of military success. The psychological and social foundation of this period of conquest and colonization is found in the ability to coerce the peoples of the world to accept the rules by which European politics and ideologies claimed the power to determine what is legitimate about the human experience.

10 July 2013

Neo-Colonialism in Mambety's 'Hyenas'

Friedrich Durenmatt's play 'The Visit,' filtered through Bernhard Wicki's 1964 film adaptation starring Ingrid Bergman, provided the storyline for Djibril Diop Mambety's 1992 film 'Hyenas,' although Mambety gave the story a Senegalese flavor. Introduced as a representative of the World Bank, an incredibly rich woman, Linguere Ramatou (played by Ami Diakhate), returns to Colobane, the town of her birth--and, we eventually learn, her shame. In revenge for vicious treatment by her former lover Draman Drameh (played by Mansour Diouf), who had paid two other men to say they had slept with her, she promises the village elders to bankroll her eceonomically depressed hometown if they will only do just one little thing for her: kill Drameh. Of course they refuse, with high moral statements about the sanctity of life; of course they gradually give in as they are seduced by the consumer goods 'the visitor' can produce for them.