Imperialism is a policy of conquering and ruling other lands usually with a motive of resources or land. Two well-known examples of imperialism lie in the movie, Avatar, and in the Belgian King Leopold’s deceitful conquest of the Congo. The two stories both have similar actions when it comes to the conquerors decisions, but it was a bit more different when it came to the native people’s reactions and way they were treated by the “imperialists” against the threat of imperialism.
The two examples used to help better understand what and how Imperialism works is in actual history, when Leopold took over the Congo; in the popular film, Avatar. Starting with Leopold’s reign of the Congo, the main motive behind Leopold’s campaign was resources. At first he wanted ivory and then he found out there was more economical promise with the invention of cars, and car tires need a lot of rubber. Leopold set out to enslave the people of the Congo to become the rubber harvesters for his economy, razed their villages to the ground for an easily obtained plantation foundation, and paid them just enough to survive. This situation in history differs from Avatar because the native people, the na’vi, were not enslaved. In Avatar, the “imperialists” in the plot are the humans and also want a precious resource called unobtanium, which also provides huge economic promise selling for twenty-million a kilo. In both examples, the “imperialists” are in it for the resources and could probably care less about the natives. The difference between the examples caring and not caring is that in Leopold’s situation, he lies to the world saying he is going to help the natives; give it civilization with schools and medicine, all of which he did not attempt. Whereas in Avatar, the scientists, which were one group (or side) of the human “imperialists” which did try to give them schools, roads and modernization. The leader of the humans stated, “We tried to give them
everything, but they like mud.” The attempt to give the na’vi the education and such that the humans obtained failed, so like Leopold’s reign, they brought the violent approach to the natives of Pandora. Another similarity between the examples was that the “imperialists” had major technological advancements over the na’vi and the people of the Congo. This allowed them to keep in power (the imperialists) and have an advantage in any uprisings that had occurred. Both parties’ “imperialists” had the same idea of Darwinism, in which they think they are better than another in almost every aspect. The final aspect of these examples is that Leopold’s men did inhumane things to the people of the Congo, maiming them and killing them for sport, whereas the humans in Avatar destroyed sacred places of the na’vi. The two parties may have taken different approaches when attacking the native peoples, but the same outcome occurred. This outcome was heavy demoralization. Destroying their culture influenced the native people’s will to resist the technologically superior imperialists.
All the above factors gave the imperialists advantages in some situations but also things to be ashamed of. Imperialism, when found in history or is used in pop culture, has more or less the same motives, resources. The need for resources is apparent in the above example of history and in the popular movie, Avatar; could be foreshadowing the long term effects of Imperialism on our world.
Courtney from Study Moose
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