Morel, a British journalist in the Belgian Congo, drew
attention to the abuses of imperialism in 1903, in this
response to Rudyard Kiplings poem, the White Man's Burden.
is [the Africans] who carry the 'Black man's burden'.
They have not withered away before the white man's occupation.
Indeed ... Africa has ultimately absorbed within itself
every Caucasian and, for that matter, every Semitic
invader, too. In hewing out for himself a fixed abode
in Africa, the white man has massacred the African in
heaps. The African has survived, and it is well for
the white settlers that he has....
the partial occupation of his soil by the white man
has failed to do; what the mapping out of European political
'spheres of influence' has failed to do; what the Maxim
and the rifle, the slave gang, labour in the bowels
of the earth and the lash, have failed to do; what imported
measles, smallpox and syphilis have failed to do; whatever
the overseas slave trade failed to do, the power of
modern capitalistic exploitation, assisted by modern
engines of destruction, may yet succeed in accomplishing.
from the evils of the latter, scientifically applied
and enforced, there is no escape for the African. Its
destructive effects are not spasmodic: they are permanent.
In its permanence resides its fatal consequences. It
kills not the body merely, but the soul. It breaks the
spirit. It attacks the African at every turn, from every
point of vantage. It wrecks his polity, uproots him
from the land, invades his family life, destroys his
natural pursuits and occupations, claims his whole time,
enslaves him in his own home....
. . In Africa, especially in tropical Africa, which
a capitalistic imperialism threatens and has, in part,
already devastated, man is incapable of reacting against
unnatural conditions. In those regions man is engaged
in a perpetual struggle against disease and an exhausting
climate, which tells heavily upon childbearing; and
there is no scientific machinery for salving the weaker
members of the community. The African of the tropics
is capable of tremendous physical labours. But he cannot
accommodate himself to the European system of monotonous,
uninterrupted labour, with its long and regular hours,
involving, moreover, as it frequently does, severance
from natural surroundings and nostalgia, the condition
of melancholy resulting from separation from home, a
malady to which the African is specially prone. Climatic
conditions forbid it. When the system is forced upon
him, the tropical African droops and dies.
is violent physical opposition to abuse and injustice
henceforth possible for the African in any part of Africa.
His chances of effective resistance have been steadily
dwindling with the increasing perfectibility in the
killing power of modern armament....
the African is really helpless against the material
gods of the white man, as embodied in the trinity of
imperialism, capitalistic exploitation, and militarism....
reduce all the varied and picturesque and stimulating
episodes in savage life to a dull routine of endless
toil for uncomprehended ends, to dislocate social ties
and disrupt social institutions; to stifle nascent desires
and crush mental development; to graft upon primitive
passions the annihilating evils of scientific slavery,
and the bestial imaginings of civilized man, unrestrained
by convention or law; in fine, to kill the soul in a
people-this is a crime which transcends physical murder.