Neocolonialism operates in many ways. At its core it is about wealthy nations staying wealthy at the specific expense of poor countries remaining poor, or fighting amongst themselves to provide the neocolonist their valuable mineral resources, or dying from diseases directly attributed to their neocolonists actions.
In the last few months we have seen two shocking examples of how the wealthier nations continue to operate with impunity. First we witnessed a breathtaking double standard whilst watching how a multinational oil company BP was almost brought to its knees by the world’s super power, the USA, as it held it to account for the New Mexico oil spill. This is in sharp contrast to the decades of devastation to the Niger Delta region and its people as a result of the massive and ongoing oil spill that has come from the other oil giant, Shell.
This week another alarming case came to light which once again highlighted the exploitative relationship between Africa and Europe.
Last week a highly profitable Dutch company Trafigura – with strong UK links, one of the founders is English -was fined buy a Dutch court for dumping toxic waste on the cheap in Ivory Coast. The company took the toxic waste to the impoverished African country and dumped their dangerous cargo inland in the dead of night. The UN reports that more than 100k local people became ill.
The links back to the UK do not stop at the profits for UK share holders or the Directors. One of the founders and Oxford University alumni, Graham Sharp, has donated to Oxford University – hardly the citadel of multicultural Britain – a 3 million pound grant.
Some of the university staff and students have complained that the university should not accept such a grant but to no avail.
The fact is when we take a step back and see how globally this plays out one can’t help but feel Oxford university, like many other elite academic institutions, will go on nurturing the likes of Sharp who will continue to exploit Africa and other poorer countries whilst ensuring their own power base stays dominate.
The sad truth is that neocolonialism is alive, and kicking, and poisoning and exploiting.