Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Making Amends

With the brou-ha over Mrs. Pain Palin since Friday (and anyone who still thinks that being Commander in Chief of the Alaska National Guard constitutes command experience, check out this post at Armchair Generalist), it was easy to miss this story::

Libya and Italy signed an accord on Saturday under which Italy will pay $5 billion in compensation for colonial misdeeds during its decades-long rule of the North African country.

"This accord opens the door to the future cooperation and partnership between Italy and Libya," Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said at the signing ceremony at a palace which was once the headquarters of the Rome government's senior official during the 1911-1943 colonial rule.

Anthony Clark Arend has this take on it all:
"Needless to say, this is all part of Libya's "rehabilitation" and its movement away from "rogue" status, which began several years ago.

But on a related note-- can you imagine what would happen if Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and indeed, the United States were to "compensate" states for the "misdeeds" of colonialism?"
Hmm. There's an idea... in fact, this is not lost on various other former colonies of both Italy and other European powers.

One Day for the Watchman is more cautiously optimistic:
"One has to wonder how the human social, cultural, and personal toll of colonial oppression can be translated into a dollar figure, and one that might be seen as rather small. Otherwise, I personally think that compensation is important symbolically and politically, and in some instances could be very useful economically. Other nations will be right to begin to press their cases for compensation, especially when in so many instances, the majority in fact, formal colonial rule ended only in the last 40 to 50 years, with a significant mass of humanity (even if not the majority) having been born as colonial subjects."


hank_F_M said...


Of course the only way one gets the experience to be Commander and Chief as in the President is to sit on the hot seat for a couple years. And we can certainly hope that whomever is sitting on it has a very uneventful tenure.

LFC said...

Re the Italy-Libya story: For various reasons, I would be surprised if many other claims for compensation were successful, but it will be interesting to keep an eye on this. In the mid-70s, when the debate over the 'New International Economic Order' (NIEO) was in full swing, some spokesmen for the developing countries suggested or implied that compensation (of one kind or another) for colonialism was owed. (And we know how the NIEO turned out.)

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