Wrong to give UK so much credit?

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Muham­mad Omar

WHILE es­teemed com­men­ta­tor and writer Dr Dun­can Du Bois sees Bri­tish colo­nial­ism from only one per­spec­tive; as the hall­mark of civil­i­sa­tion and progress; he for­gets that there were many be­fore the Bri­tish and many af­ter them who con­tributed to hu­man­ity in var­i­ous forms.

In Africa we had the Egyp­tians who built the pyra­mids.

We had the Mali dy­nasty. The Mali manuscripts still ex­ist and were writ­ten be­fore the Bri­tish be­gan writ­ing.

King Shaka con­sol­i­dated the peo­ple of KZN and cre­ated the Zulu na­tion.

Hardly a hu­man rights cham­pion, he was as tough and hard as could be un­til gun­pow­der and fam­ily ri­val­ries over­pow­ered his na­tion.

The San may have been around ear­lier, but very lit­tle is doc­u­mented.

In In­dia you had the In­dus Val­ley or Harappa Civil­i­sa­tion which was known for ur­ban plan­ning, baked brick houses, drainage sys­tems, water sup­ply and large non-res­i­den­tial build­ings.

In KZN the Na­tal Veran­dah ar­chi­tec­ture owes more to the In­dian Bun­ga­low and Asia (Zim­bali -type homes are more South Asian ar­chi­tec­ture) than Bri­tish.

Ever seen a house in the UK with a veran­dah? Maybe the Bri­tish or in­den­tured labour­ers brought th­ese con­cepts; al­beit in a rus­tic for­mat.

China built the Great Wall which is an en­gi­neer­ing and lo­gis­ti­cal ge­nius.

The Ja­panese with their zero de­fect phi­los­o­phy were and are ruth­lessly ef­fi­cient.

In Spain the only worth­while tourist at­trac­tions were of the Is­lamic era which took very good care of the Jews.

Mai­monides, the great Jewish scholar was a prod­uct of Is­lamic Spain. The Arabs mas­tered the art of Qanats (wells in the desert) to sur­vive.

The wheel was in­vented in Me­sopotamia/Iraq and maybe Dun­lop de­vel­oped the pneu­matic tyre we use to­day.

Our le­gal sys­tem in SA has more to do with Ro­man Dutch than Bri­tish law and once Latin was a very im­por­tant sub­ject.

Around the 15th cen­tury, what did Europe re­ally have or was about? The build­ings in Europe, in terms of global his­tory, were only built a “few days ago”. Progress was made by each era build­ing upon the pre­vi­ous. The cur­rent is­sue around colo­nial­ism only praises the Bri­tish, ig­nores their short­com­ings and as­sumes no progress would have oc­curred with­out them. Lots of other cul­tures and groups con­tributed to hu­man­ity, the liv­ing stan­dards, life­styles and hu­man rights we en­joy to­day. Dur­ban North

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