Should the former colonial powers pay reparations to nations they once subjugated?
The colonial era saw Europe’s share of the world’s GDP jump from 20% to 60%, leading many to point out that Europe didn’t develop the colonies - rather, the land, resources, and labour of the colonies developed Europe. Anthropologist Jason Hickel, writing in the Guardian, notes India commanded 27% of the world’s economy prior to British colonisation: when the colonialists left in 1947, it only represented 3%. Historian Mike Davis describes how the British overhauled India’s agricultural system, destroying traditional subsistence practices to make way for cash crops - at times exporting 10 million tonnes of food to Europe a year. As a result, up to 29 million Indians died of famine in the latter 19th century. Similarly, the socio-economic growth of Haiti - the first black nation to successfully rebel in 1804 against its coloniser, France - was instantly jeopardised by the colonial powers’ retaliatory boycott on Haitian products. France demanded 150 million francs as compensation; it took Haiti 122 years to pay. With many former colonies continuing to suffer from systemic poverty, widespread corruption, lack of infrastructure, and political instability, should the Western powers pay reparations? Opponents of this notion state that ex-colonies already receive their fair share of aid. Opponents also stress that the sins of the fathers should not be visited upon their
A storm of controversy has been stoked after photographs emerged of police in Nice ordering a Muslim woman on the beach to remove items of clothing following a burqini ban in 15 French towns. But is it right for governments to decide what a woman should, or should not wear? Some, especially in Western society, see the burqa as a tool of oppression against women. But for others, governments banning the clothing some Muslim women wear is an infringement of personal freedoms and, in Western society, an Islamophobic measure. Should it be up to the state to decide?
Three years after promising a referendum, Prime Minister David Cameron announced in late February that Britain will go to the polls on June 23 to answer the question: "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?" If voters opt to leave, it will have profound consequences not only for the UK but for the EU and transatlantic relations. The EU is already embattled and a divorce with its second-largest economy and second most populous member state - albeit one which has always had a troubled relationship with the bloc - could inflict grave damage. The US has declared a "profound interest" in a very strong UK staying in a strong EU. Within Britain, the debate is already fierce and being fought on five main fronts: Migration, the economy, security, Britain's global influence and sovereignty.