Over there is like here, neither better nor worse. But I am from here, just as the date palm standing in the courtyard of our house has grown in our house and not in anyone else’s.
The fact that they came to our land, I know not why, does that mean that we should poison our present and our future? Sooner or later they will leave our country, just as many people throughout history left many countries.
The railways, ships, hospitals, factories and schools will be ours and we’ll speak their language without either a sense of guilt or a sense of gratitude. Once again we shall be as we were-ordinary people-and if we are lies we shall be lies of our own making.
(pg 50-51 in the electronic edition)
As we began discussing in class on Tuesday, Season of Migration of the North not only reverses the tropes of colonial literature established by Heart of Darkness , but really seeks to go beyond the basic binaries of black/white, dark/light, etc. that have been discussed, flipped, and played out in many other works.
I found the above quote striking during my first reading of the novel, and after reading Zack’s post, I noted how well it fit with the discussion of Colonialism and Traditionalism. It raises interesting questions about the influences of a colonial legacy on the former colonies, and questions how much of what it attributed to the colonial presence (good or bad) should be credited to the circumstances and people in the country itself. It also strips many aspects of the standard colonial discourse- Europe being superior to its colonies and having a specific plan in the process of colonization. At what point will it be possible (or is it possible at all) to get beyond the post-colonial context and discourse to analyze countries in their own context.
The above passage is a refreshing perspective in that it truly seeks to go beyond an understanding of a country in a post-colonial context. And considering the era it was written, I can’t decide if this idea was ahead of its time, or too close to the colonial time period to understand the long-term problems (and neo-colonial practices) that would arise in the future. We may still find ourselves having to address post-colonial issues, but the idea of a time when we are post-post colonialism (or completely transcend this paradigm) as the new form of discussion is appealing.
I don’t know if the ideas expressed above are optimistic, or just the neutral nature of progress. I just like the acknowledgement that there will always be historical/colonial influences in former colonies, but these traces of the past do not need to be the defining factor of these countries’ present or future.