World speaking out

Art that confronts imperialism

“There aren’t poor and rich countries, there are countries that have been enriched thanks to the impoverishment of other countries,” wrote Rafael del Castillo.

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But there is a shyness, today (along with a lot of denial) to talk about imperialism. Much of the mainstream media would prefer to see any wars, violence, poverty, and human rights violations as exclusively the fault of local governments in Latin America, Africa, and parts of Asia. Art – from memes to comics to murals and paintings, is expressing outrage but is reluctant to address that big giant bear of continued plundering by US, Canadian, Australian, and European transnationals or the systematic robbery of human and natural resources that has been neatly packaged into so-called “trade agreements”.

Still, there is some art, though much of it older, that captures and rebels against imperialism, and it is worth sharing.

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“Our defeat was always implicit in the victory of others; our wealth has always generated our poverty by nourishing the prosperity of others – the empires and their native overseers. In the colonial and neocolonial alchemy, gold changes into scrap metal and food into poison.” ― Eduardo Hughes Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent

“Every empire, however, tells itself and the world that it is unlike all other empires, that its mission is not to plunder and control but to educate and liberate.” ― Edward W. Said

“The human murder by poverty in Latin America is secret: every year, without making a sound, three Hiroshima bombs explode over communities that have become accustomed to suffering with clenched teeth.”
― Eduardo Galeano