Politics Literature and the Arts Term Paper

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Terror, Imperialism, And Totalitarianism

Imperialism is defined in the abstract, quite often, as the ideology of 'carrying the white man's burden,' in other words, of carrying the white cultural burden of civilization to the native or darker peoples of the world. But in practice, imperialism often has a less lofty goal and terror rather than teaching is the method used to enforce imperialism's 'laws' and values of social and political control. In the past, such as in French-controlled Algiers, depicted in the 1965 film directed by Pontecorvo "The Battle of Algiers," imperialism is often enforced through a series of dominating policies or military actions by a stronger European nation. One country seeks to exert its control over another country or territory, often to gain an economic or political advantage in a particular region.

In the film, the Algerian people fight long and hard to wrest control over their own territory once again. The French government uses terror, or fear, as a way of keeping control over the province. Terror, through might and the threat of violence is a constant and palpable presence in the warring land. Terror thus acts as a method
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of authoritarian control. The threat of violence as well as actual violence itself is frequently used in imperialist policy, as is the implication of violence, which can be equally if not more horrifying than the actual execution of violent actions, as in the cover-ups of Oliver Stone's 1986 treatment of imperialist policy in "Salvador," where America tacitly ignores a fascist regime's murderous schemes to keep its level of control in Central America, supposedly as a regional 'weight' against leftist or communist supported countries.

However, as noted early on as 1958 in Things Fall Apart by the Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, the use of imperialist policy can be cultural as well as military in its terrorizing nature. The Ibo tribal leader of the Achebe novel finds his traditional way of life colonized by the British through the use of terror, not simply of physical threats or acts, but by the sight of his son becoming one of 'them,' namely the colonizing English agitators, who are enforcing a regime of colonial imperialism through the seductions of British culture, education, and the supposed superiority of the British way of life.

Originally, the family tribal patriarch of the Ibo exerted similar control over his own family, with the…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. 1958.

"Battle of Algiers." Directed by Pontecorvo. 1965.

Camus, Alberto. "Caligula." 1936.

"The Great Dictator." Directed by Charlie Chaplin. 1940.

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