Civilization Week 22 Kulturkampf and the Horrific Overtaking of the Ilois People

Question 1: What was the Kulturkampf?

The Kulturkampf, or cultural battle, was a struggle between the Prussian Prime Minister Otto van Bismarck and the slice of the Roman Catholic Church that lived in Prussia at the time. Bismarck was pushing for a unified Germany, and the Roman Catholic Church got in the way of that. The feud lasted from 1872 to 1878, and consisted mostly of differing opinions regarding educational and ecclesiastical values.

Question 2: Discuss the arguments advanced in favor of and against the British Empire in the two articles you read.

The horrific methods taken by the British and US militaries to remove the locals of Diego Garcia island are truly unspeakable. If you haven’t heard of the Diego Garcia island think of it as a strategically placed and far more secretive Guantanamo Bay. The beatific landscape is now a American military hub, playing a key role in wars such as the Gulf War, the invasion of Iraq, the war on Afghanistan, and most recently the bombing attacks against Iraq and Syria. If you think the current lifestyle of the island is bloody than you haven’t heard of the initial takeover performed by the US in the late 1960’s. The Ilois (Islanders) as they called themselves first arrived at Diego Garcia around the late eighteenth century. They initially were enslaved Africans brought over to work at coconut plantations, then along with Indian laborers they created a new and diverse society. They created their own culture, lifestyle, and a new language called Chagos Kreol. The Ilois lived happily on the island for the nearly a century.

Then during the Cold War US officials became worried that they had no military bases within the Indian Ocean, so they talked British officials into giving them “exclusive control” over Diego Garcia. The British agreed to have the island “sanitized” of the locals, and with that the violence began. Did I mention the exchange of notes between the British and the US went around the congress and the parliament, allowing both countries to go through with their plans with no restrictions whatsoever? This agreement was so secretive that one US official described the attack against the locals as: “We are able to make up the rules as we go along.” And they did. First they rounded up and executed all of the domesticated dogs, the methods of these executions ranged from guns to gassing. Next they rounded up the near 2,000 residents of the island, and a top ranking official named Elmo Zumwalt delivered to them their sentence: “Absolutely must go.” With that the Ilois were sent to pack up a single box of belongings, along with a thin sleeping mat, and sent away on overcrowded cargo ships to Mauritius and the Seychelles.

The Ilois were given no rehoming assistance, and to this day are some of the most poverty stricken peoples living within their reassigned living destinations. I could certainly go on about their suffering, but i’d say the canine executions alone are enough to sum up my points. The prompt for this asked me to also argue the points in favor of the British, but the only real aspects the British and Americans have to defend themselves with are curbs, excuses and denial. There is no excuse for these officials, not unless war is an excuse for mindless violence against an uninvolved people. The only compliment I can give to the officials that carried out this horror is.. at least they reassigned the location of the Ilois instead of exterminating them? But that isn’t high praise. The surviving Ilois people are now starting to push for their homeland back, and the secret carnage of this island and its culture is finally starting to become exposed. Theres still a lot of work to be done to even somewhat redeem the terrible deeds of this military invasion, but the issue is finally starting to be recognized by the public. I hope that these horrible deeds coming into light will help the ancestors of Ilois, and I hope the empathy and acknowledgment of the public will be enough to give the remaining Ilois people some long awaited sense of hope.

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