On Being Colonized

During the Era of Colonialism (late 1400s to the mid- to late 1900s), European powers colonized most of Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, Oceania, the Middle East and the Arctic, excluding Antarctica.  This typically involved oppression and exploitation of indigenous ethnic and racial groups inside the geographical area colonized.  This oppression and exploitation often is reasonably characterized as genocide.

For example, between 1492 and 1600, 90% of the indigenous populations in the Americas died. About 55 million people perished because of violence and never before seen diseases like smallpox, measles, and influenza.  Another example is the impact of Burmese pythons “colonizing” the southernmost regions of Everglades National Park. Populations of raccoons dropped 99 percent, opossums 99 percent, and bobcats 88 over a 15 year period.

Apex predators simply destroy peoples or species that are not prepared to compete for survival.  Thinking about this phenomenon reminded me of experiences Alan Blumberg, John Casti and I had when participating in the shooting of the History Channel two-hour special Threats to Earth.  All three of us were featured in numerous interview snippets on how various naturally occurring, human-caused, and alien-initiated threats might affect civilization.

Let’s jump right to aliens!  First, they wouldn’t show up in rafts or rowboats.  They would have to be rather sophisticated to find us.  Indeed, they could easily be more sophisticated than us.  Perhaps they would want to colonize Earth.  We would become workers – or food.  They might breed us to create the choicest cuts.  We would learn how to digest and thrive on plant-based foods.  Their diseases might wipe us out.  They would move on to other planets, like most talented apex predators.

Perhaps we could reason with the aliens, convince them we are far superior to cattle, pigs, and chickens.  However, they are likely looking for food, not friends.  Then we might fight them, everyone equipped with an AR-47, backed up by DoD’s military might.  But their weapons could make ours look like bows, arrows, and spears.  They perhaps could dematerialize a squadron of F-35s in seconds.  Our last chance might be to offer tribute if we can figure out what they value – adoration might not make it.

This could be social justice coming full circle.  After imposing a half-millennium of genocide on the world, we get to experience the full rath of an apex predator who is simply trying to feed its hungry population.  We may have thought that our approaches to them were all in good taste, but they were simply pleased that humans taste good.

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