January 2020 \ Diaspora News \ DIASPORA—BOOK REVIEW
A case for migration

People have migrated through the ages ...

By Shubha Singh

Mehta’s grandfather had a pithy response when asked in a London park in the 1980s, “Why are you here?” He said: “Because we are the creditors. You took all our wealth, our diamonds. Now we have come to collect.” It was an apt response to British colonialism, but Mehta extends it not just to the old imperialists but also to the United States for its economic colonialism. And with it, he provides the basis for the demand for reparations.

When there is talk of reparations for slavery, colonialism is not far behind as brutally oppressive and exploitative. Mehta holds that present day migration is a long-term effect of colonialism. Colonialism and slavery destroyed economies and displaced thousands of people to meet labour requirements in new colonies and at home. Colonial powers like Britain and France drew up borders (about 40 per cent of national borders worldwide, according to Mehta) without regard to ground realities.

They drew straight lines on a map of Africa to divide the homelands of tribes into new nations that resulted in huge displacement during the ensuing wars and civil strife. The US did not have colonies like the major imperial powers but it has controlled and influenced nations with its economic power.

Tags: USA, Shubha Singh