Thursday, July 18, 2013

Decolonial Strategies and Dialogue in the Human Rights Field

José-​Manuel Bar­reto, Critical Legal Thinking :

...A dog trained to attack the flesh, and tor­ture, kill, and gorge a man and a child in front of the mother con­nects Fernando Botero’s Abu Grahib with Bar­to­lomé de las Casas’ Short Account of the Destruc­tion of the Indies. In this scen­ario of colo­nial wars a dog is turned into a beast­—a tor­ture dog or a war dog—by the inhu­man­ity of con­quista­dors and invaders. The dog becomes a power­ful machine for ter­ror­iz­ing and des­troy­ing the body, and for dehu­man­iz­ing the col­on­ized—and the col­on­izer. Five hun­dred years apart these two images or stor­ies are bound together by their ori­gin: the his­tory of the advance of mod­ern imper­i­al­ism, and the sens­ib­il­ity of their authors for the suf­fer­ing of the vic­tims. The viol­ence and dread of these events res­on­ates in the global con­scious­ness and moral sen­ti­ment of our times

[ ... ]

Mod­ern­ity can­not be iden­ti­fied exclus­ively with eman­cip­a­tion, the Renais­sance and the Enlight­en­ment, but it is also his­tor­ic­ally evid­ent that colo­ni­al­ism was another of its cent­ral found­a­tions. The con­ven­tional con­cep­tion of mod­ern­ity needs to be revis­ited to accom­mod­ate the leg­acy of mod­ern imper­i­al­ism: the con­quest and col­on­iz­a­tion of the world—a vast enter­prise of dom­in­a­tion mar­shaled through wars of aggres­sion, gen­o­cides, slavery, plun­der and exploit­a­tion. 

[ ... ]

The his­tory of mod­ern ideas—mod­ern ration­al­ity itself, con­cep­tions of the state, even Marx­ist and other cri­tiques of cap­it­al­ism—runs inter­re­lated to the his­tory of mod­ern imper­i­al­ism. For a geo­pol­it­ical ana­lysis of know­ledge, the cul­tural col­on­iz­a­tion of world civil­iz­a­tions, ration­al­it­ies and intel­lec­tual dis­cip­lines ended in the cru­cial assump­tion accord­ing to which the ori­gin of legit­im­ate think­ing is con­fined to a cer­tain geo­pol­it­ical loc­a­tion, Europe, exclud­ing the exist­ence of other sites of know­ledge gen­er­a­tion...


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