Friday, March 7, 2014

He has put a knife on the things that held us together, and we have fallen apart.

There were many endings to the colonization simulation, but I would hesitate to consider any of them "happy."

Students spent the past two days building a culture, only to have it destroyed and replaced by another.

The conquering group came through, tore up the flags the others had made.  They stole their natural resources.  They fought and defeated those who resisted.  Then, they replaced the flag with their own.

Some of the original inhabitants of each of the colonies fought.  They were killed immediately.  Some surrendered.  They were forced to abandon their own culture.  Many (like James in 5th hour) were killed anyway, even though he did everything asked of him.  Occasionally, the conquering group would let someone live, but those instances were rare.

It was a sad day, and people felt cheated.

Maybe you're saying, "well... it was a happy ending for the conquering group.  They came away with natural resources and a larger empire."

You might be right, but here's another line from Achebe: 

"We cannot trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing our own. The Igbo, always practical, put it concretely in their proverb Onye ji onye n'ani ji onwe ya: "He who will hold another down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down."

The title of this post comes from Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart.

If you want extra credit for reading and discussing the blog today, tell your parents (or whoever you're reading this with) what happened.  Tell them how you felt during the activity.  Tell them what you think it means, and ask them what they think it means.

When you're done, write a paragraph about your conversation and have them sign it.

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