Highlighting the Issue of Neo-Colonialism through Media and Literature
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The Effects of Neo-Colonialism as presented in Motorcycle Diaries and A Small Place Neo-Colonialism is a very powerful and controversial issue in the world today. Countries such as the United States, Great Brittan and France still greatly profit over the countries they left as independent years ago. This paradox is created by the mother country exerting economic and political influence on the former colonies; allowing them to still profit from these third world countries without actually occupying them. Neo-Colonialism produces a number of effects on the subject country, the majority of these effects being negative. The novel A Small Place and the film Motorcycle Diaries discuss the numerous effects of neo-colonialism to a great extent the predominant of these effects being economic, political and cultural.
Motorcycle Diaries is a story of a young man, who along with his friend Alberto decides to take a trip around South America. This trip ultimately brings about a coming of age and opens each of the characters eyes to the harsh reality of life in South America. The first effects of neo-colonialism, introduced in the film Motorcycle Diaries are economical. Ernesto (the main character) meets a young couple, who have just been kicked off their farm in order for ?progress?. When Ernesto meets this unfortunate couple the scene is shot in the dead of the night and the bitter cold is evident. This scene evokes a feeling of sympathy for the cold, tired couple. The display of the deathly cold represents the harsh, heartless nature of the government.
Won 2 This cold in turn forces Ernesto and the couple to huddle close together. This symbolizes the South Americans need to unite and help each other against the corrupt government. This is a reoccurring theme through most of the movie; Ernesto again meets natives being kicked off their farms and land in order for the construction of bigger projects. This is caused by the power countries who exploit many regions of South America, for its crops and these crops will be better grown industrially rather than by individual farmers.
The next issue discussed in the film Motorcycle Diaries is the cultural destruction of the South Americans. Ernesto?s travel?s eventually bring him to Lima, Peru the once home of the Incan civilization. Ernesto contemplates the Inca?s civilization; writing how something so beautiful, the Incan civilization could be replaced by something so ugly, the modern city. This scene is full of color and is very vividly displayed. This represents what could have been for the South Americans. The scene later switches over to the modern city, the color and lighting this time being much duller and darker, representing the lack of joy and culture in the city. Indeed the Incan?s culture was a great one. They constructed religious monuments so great they rivaled the Egyptian pyramids.
The Incas accomplishments also include brain surgery, astronomy and mathematics, amazing accomplishment for a civilization in the 1400?s. These amazing accomplishments however are not celebrated among the populace, it is the exact opposite. This once proud civilization of the Inca?s has been left isolated, without any attempt to preserve it. This is due is again to the fact of neo-colonialism and the outside powers attempt to ?civilize? the country into a modern one. This is accomplished by suppressing the Incan history and building more modern western cities for the inhabitants of the South Americans.
Won 3 The final effect of neo-colonialism discussed in the film Motorcycle Diaries is political. Ernesto is now nearing the end of his journey. Ernesto and Alberto have made their final stop, the San Pablo, Peru leper colony. While at this colony Ernesto?s birthday passes and he is called upon to make a speech. He obliges the crowd and goes on to make his speech that is initially light-hearted, but soon turns much more serious. Ernesto speaks of the division in South America and how they should be one united country rather than the sub-countries created by the outside powers. Soon after making this speech Ernesto swims across the river separating the lepers from the nurses and doctors. After a long and arduous swim Ernesto finally safely makes it across. This scene represents Ernesto?s belief in a United South America, the river symbolizing the outside powers attempt to keep the South Americans countries separated.
The novel A Small Place is another piece that discusses the negative effects of neo-colonialism. This small novel is written in the second person, with the author directly addressing the reader. Through out the novel the author points out the sad rundown state of her homeland Antigua. This state is firmly placed on the degenerative effects of neo-colonialism. The first effect of neo-colonialism discussed in A Small Place is the Antiguan economy. ?You look closely at the car; you see that it?s a model of a Japanese car that you might hesitate to buy; it?s a model that?s very expensive; it?s a model that?s quite impractical?.You will be surprised, then, to see that most likely the person driving this brand-new car filled with the wrong gas lives in a house that in comparison, is far beneath the car; and if you were to ask why you would be told that the banks are Won 4 encouraged by the government to make loans available for cars, but loans for houses not so easily available? you will be told that the two main car dealerships are owned in part or outright by the ministers in the government? (Kincaid 7).
This section discusses the control of Japanese car manufactures that are producing great profits in the area despite the local poverty. Their control over the corrupt local officials has solidified public access for car loans and not for housing loans. This has led to many people owning nice new Japanese cars but living in houses disproportionate the luxury of their cars. Here the Japanese have profited from the corruption of the Antiguan officials, all this at the expense of the Antiguan people.
The next effect of neo-colonialism discussed in A Small Place, is the dismal state of the Antiguan government. In her long essay Kincaid is constantly writing about the corrupt nature of the Antiguan government. ?Some ministers in government have opened their own business; the main customer for these businesses is the government itself, the government then declares that only that company can be licensed to import the commodity that the business are. People close to the prime minister openly run one of the largest houses of prostitution in Antigua. Some offshore bank accounts are for bad people hiding money acquired through drug dealings? (Kincaid 59).
This is just a small excerpt in one of Kincaids many attacks on the Antiguan government. A government which once faced with independence, did not now how to govern. They only knew what they saw in British rule; Kincaid claims that they learned the backwardness of the current government from the British. They learned how to hide money in Swiss banks, how to let interests of their business friends and partners to determine policy, She compares the Won 5 government to a business, where family and friends are given positions of importance. The corrupt government was created by example of the British Colonizers and this state of the government is now encouraged by the outside powers, for they greatly profit of the corrupt nature of the Antiguan government.
The final effect of neo-colonialism discussed in Kincaid novel is the Antiguans culture. The Antiguans culture of lack off there off was influenced mainly by the British.
Who exerted their dominance through the education of children of Antigua; the children were educated on British history, customs and languages. Have I given you an impression the Antigua I grew up in revolved almost completely around England? (Kincaid 33). In the present day Antigua, the culture remains influenced by outside powers. The food eaten by tourists is not Antiguan food but food flown in from other countries (14); the buildings in Antigua are not Antiguan but buildings built by the British (24), the most famous edifice the Mill Reef Club is not built by the Antiguans but by the U.S (27).
Neo-Colonialism is quite possibly one of the worlds most horrible issues today. The prominent countries of the world taking advantage of these former colonies must be stopped. The influence these outside powers have on the former colonies is unacceptable. For these countries are being used to heighten the already powerful nations economy. The novel A Small Place and the film Motorcycle Diaries, address this problem in a very informative and efficient manor.