Phyrexians and Mirrans
I have been reading Eugene Rogan’s The Arabs to understand the dynamics of the Arab world. Two things stand out: first, how the imperial powers (Britain and France) made wartime promises of independence and later went back on their word after they survived the war. Or how the colonial powers generally claimed to be liberating the Arabs from the Ottoman empire, like Napoleon did. In short, the West has always lied to the Arabs, and when they caught on, beat them down with aerial bombardment and artillery shelling. Why are we so confused about why some of the Arabs are crying foul when Nato sends in their planes?
The second is this fascinating notion that the West saw their imperial expeditions as “civilising missions”. The arrogance of civilisations is perhaps not new, but still, I find it quite surprising:
“(Maurice Viollette) opened a debate on granting citizenship rights to a select group of Algerians on the basis of their assimilation of French culture and values – referred to in French as évolués. The expression, meaning ‘more highly evolved’, was pure Social Darwinism that conceived of Algerians as advancing from a lower to a higher state of civilisation as they shed Arab culture in favour of ‘superior’ French values. This ‘civilising mission’ was one of the principles by which the French justified their imperial project.”
Sounds like the Phyrexians and the Mirrans to me.