Week 9

Mary Crawford

The colonial powers of the world seem to still be using developing nations and their resources to benefit themselves. The focus of their work in Mozambique is to build and maintain a dam that will provide power to a country so they can continue to develop. The idea is that the country is not controlled by Portugal, but rather an extension of them but an independent state. Unfortunately for Portugal, Europe has a negative reputation as they colonized a majority of the world and abused the resources of what they deemed “weaker” nations. It is difficult to imagine that Portugal is supporting another country with such an expensive project when a majority of their country is poverty stricken and their economy is struggling. Although they claim to be investing in a prosperous country and are helping build infrastructure, there is clearly a hidden motive despite what they might say. It seems difficult to believe their seemingly-innocent efforts when locals from nearby communities have had to make huge sacrifices for this project. Forced to abandon their homes and relocate, there seems to be little involvement with the locals when the project is promoted to help them. This hypocrisy continues when the author describes the gap and racism between the local workers versus the Portuguese workers. This demonstrates the type of work Portugal truly intends to do and just how they see the people of Mozambique. They even go as far as creating a segregated town for the european workers instead of integrating with the other local workers. This only worsens the populations opinion of the West and reflects poorly on humanitarian efforts as “white people” are grouped together. The people of Mozambique are tired of being used and treated poorly, but unfortunately despite activists efforts, much of the world was unaware of what was happening. The displacement of the locals was crudely executed and the people were forced into small communities that impeded on both their lifestyles and religions.  Trapped in unsanitary living conditions and stripped of their agency, the locals were unable to speak out about the problems they were facing. When reading about the suffering of the people of Mozambique, it seemed difficult to believe that this was not that long ago and yet, the international community did nothing to intervene despite human rights being disrespected. it makes the reader question how is it that a country such as Portugal is able to get away with such criminal-like activity and why is it that the locals had so little say or agency to prevent the project from happening. Despite what politicians say about how far we have come, this book proves that there is still a long way to go and the fact that the dam is still in use proves that the international community still struggles with respecting basic human rights.

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