DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Postcolonialism Notes 10.20.11


EQ: How do we react when something unethical appears to be in our best interests economically, socially, or politically?


  • Killing non-combatants in a war
  • Getting the test Qs beforehand to get a good grade
  • Politician lying or misrepresenting the truth
  • Slavery – people owning other people
  • Murder, stealing, personal gains
  • Depends on how unethical
  • Politicians make it look like what they are doing is ethical
  • Scale plays a role
  • What extent people will go to for personal gain
  • German genocide vs. Herero in Namibia
  • Society pushes people to succeed and they go over the limits
  • Depending on how unethical the decision is, more alternatives are present: the worse it is, the more alternatives
  • Environment and its values/moral code plays a role
  • Depends on who is asking us to be unethical
  • Historical eras have different views of human rights
  • People need to think critically: ethical decisions take effort
  • When you call something slightly unethical, it is still unethical


What did you learn about decision-making?

  • It's hard
  • There are opposing views
  • You have to compromise
  • Take into account who you are dealing with
  • You have to cooperate
  • Stressful because some people won't be happy
  • Consider all the options
  • Weigh the pros and cons and decide what's best
  • Know your point of view and what you believe in (grounded)
  • Total dedication to decision – means giving up other things
  • Don't make decisions on your own
  • Be clear but be flexible
  • You need to have a plan
  • Figure out how flexible you can be
  • Think critically, don't respond emotionally


Postcolonialism Notes 10.21.11




Day 1, October 21, 2011


EQ: How do nations react when something unethical appears to be in their best interests politically, socially or economically?




1.  In pairs, complete your presentations.

2.  Each group presents – others take notes.

3.  Exit ticket: What did you learn from this activity that helps you understand the world today?




1.  Arguing points of view and supporting them.

2.  Taking notes on the arguments of others.

3.  Weighing the pros and cons of different arguments to make a decision.


Congo Reform Association – Lobby I


  • Leopold was an evil person, disguised behind an appearance of slave abolition.
  • In reality, in the Congo Free State, Kind Leopold's regime was cruel to people.  The rubber trade forced people into labor.
  • Women were raped and forced into prostitution.
  • Leopold allowed slavery to go on before doing what he promised and abolishing it.
  • Famine spread because there were no people to work on farms: they were working on rubber plantations.
  • Missionaries confirmed these events.
  • British gov needs to take action and stop such atrocities.
  • People are mistreated and King Leopold is hiding behind humanitarian intentions his true evil economic interests.
  • The British gov needs to act immediately instead of waiting for other powers to cooperate.


Liverpool Chamber of Commerce – Lobby II


  • Our main point is that most of GB relies on free trade.
  • Restoring free Congo will benefit GB and us.
  • The restriction on Congo state's trade spread to French Congo already.
  • Free trade ennobles native people: natives benefit if they can own their property, determine for whom they want to work, decide their pay.
  • In the long run, nobody will benefit from monopoly trading.
  • Free trade needs to be restored in Congo.


King Leopold's Supporters – Lobby III


  • The free Congo state has difficulties, and the enormous financial contribution of King Leopold benefited the country.
  • People's living conditions were improved.
  • Compulsory labor was used instead of taxes in areas where there was no currency.
  • Africans were allowed to develop towards the advancement of EU.
  • Congo benefited from railroad.
  • Slavery existed before EU arrived, not a new notion.  Leopold ended the Swahili slave trade.
  • Leopold hosted an anti-slavery conference, which proved his hatred of slavery.
  • European doctors appeared in Congo because of Leopold's investments.
  • ENG sounds jealous of our success: it arrived only after Congo started producing rubber.


Option I – British should act alone, now, and force change


  • Indirect rule in Kenya was successful; we need to have a similar relationship in Congo.
  • Atrocity and brute force look bad in the public opinion.
  • Leopold's behavior in Congo is unethical.
  • If we don't act now, a domino effect will damage our standing in the colonies.
  • 800-1000 slaves are sold by the Congo people to be eaten – cannibalism is encouraged.
  • Little to no regard for human life.
  • Women are used as sex slaves.
  • George Washington Williams left us his records.
  • The longer we wait to take action, the worse the situation will get.
  • Keeping good relationship with our international friends is important, but we cannot wait for others to make a decision: we are willing to take action even if nobody wants to support us.
  • Other great powers may be afraid, and nobody is taking action.
  • Since GB helped in humanitarian causes of the past, it will make sense this time to interfere on behalf of the Congolese people.
  • We receive support from the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce.
  • Leopold allows cruel treatment of the Congolese people.
  • We cannot guarantee that Leopold's commitment is the truth.
  • We need to step in, rescue the exploited natives, enforce immediate change, and put the guilty to justice.
  • We signed the Berlin Act: at the moment, we are not at all concerned with "the moral and material well-being of the natives", thus we need to remind Belgium that Leopold is breaking the act.
  • We are willing to unite with other powers, but we have already waited too long: we are trying to be leaders and initiate change.


Day 2, October 24, 2011


EQ: What do we need to do to leave the past behind and move forward into a better future?




  1. Finish Congo debate.
  2. Take notes on Congo 1904 to present.
  3. Share thoughts on the EQ.




  1. Synthesize points of view to make a decision.
  2. Note-taking.
  3. Demonstrating understanding of the impact of the past on the present.


Option II – Cooperation with other great powers 


  • By cooperation, we can convince other powers to come to our side of the argument.
  • The international organizations (Red Cross) are already working towards advancement of human rights.
  • Education is the key: as soon as we inform other powers of the atrocities, they will want to take action with us.
  • Acting alone may be a disruption of the balance of power in EU, which will complicate relations for GB.
  • A unified approach will put more pressure on King Leopold to stop the atrocities.
  • The Berlin Act will be reinforced by united powers.
  • The Congo Free State is bordered  by GER and FR territories, Germany and France need to be concerned, too, and we should encourage them to act.
  • The world stability is disturbed by what is happening in the Congo; if we care about human rights, something needs to be done internationally.
  • The problem in Congo happened because of multinational decisions, all nations need to do something to stop that.
  • Cooperation and attention to human rights.


Option III – Focus on the British Empire and then Encourage Change


  • King Leopold needs to be encouraged to conduct his affairs in a civilized manner
  • If we act too strongly against Leopold, Belgium may turn to GER for support.
  • We may experience Belgium's criticism of hypocrisy, since we have had colonial difficulties.
  • We have internal problems, which we need to deal with.
  • If we try to intervene, other colonies will try to interfere in our affairs.
  • Our time and energy will be better used, if we pay attention to our economy.
  • We can gently encourage change but it will be a hypocrisy to force Congo to change.


Responses to Option III




  • We need to move from the guilt and the mistake of the past and enforce change.
  • We have to consider the lives in the Congo right now.  We can't afford to wait and ignore the cries of these people.




  • If this is a life and death situation, we should something.
  • If other powers want to join, that's great.  But action needs to be taken immediately.


Responses to Option I




  • It is true that something needs to happen; at the same time, unification is very important: more effective if there is unity.




  • If one country goes in and takes action, a lot of people may be caught in cross-fire and more suffering will happen.




  • Multinational approach will be beneficial for the trade.




  • 75% of British trade is with non-British nations: if we upset all these countries and economies, we'll hurt our own economy and will have to go back to the slave trade.




  • Leopold has invested so much money in his colony, he is not going to give it up.


What do you think should happen?  Who would you support personally?


A.: Option II

R.: Option II

L.: Option I

M.: Option II

L.: Option II

K.: Option II at a quicker pace

P.: Combination of Option I and II

S.: Option II with a deadline (who will act and how)

C.: Option I

A.: Option I


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.