At the peak of its power, the British Empire and its leaders ruled over millions and millions of people in countries all around the world. The most powerful monarchy of the 19th century came to be known as the Empire on which the sun never sets. Even though most countries which were once ruled by the British Queen or King are by now independent, the footsteps of their past as imperialistic prey can’t be denied. Not only is English the prevalent language in the so called Commonwealth States; the influence the British had on culture, politics, and daily life changed, if not to say scared, those countries irreversibly. None of the noble Englishmen would have dared to say or even think, that the way they treated the locals was unjust. Most colonial powers firmly believed that it was their burden – the white man’s burden – to free the indigenous people of their prehistoric and uncivilized roots by bringing them religion, education, and organized labor. Coming from the assumption that the superiority of the white race was a God given right and duty, everything that served the interests of the imperialists seemed justifiable. In retrospect, the exploitation of the colonized people and their resources by mainly European nations was the introduction to a system of worldwide injustice regarding trade, power, wealth, and human rights.
The arms race and struggle between the European powers for more and more colonies ended in World War I. After the earth had been devastated yet again by World War II, a new system of super powers kicked in, pretty much splitting the world in two. Despite the obvious need of resources by both sides which lead to a continuation of conflicts over land and people, imperialism disappeared more and more from the vocabulary of political inquiry. After the downfall of the Iron Curtain and the ultimate succession of the capitalistic system business went on as usual. Those who had the power oppressed the weak. The rich countries grew and prospered and continued their way of taking what they needed from poorer nations, which were either fooled into believing that the neo-imperialists came to help them this time or simply not strong enough to defend themselves. Based on the fact that those countries where most of the valuable resources are found are not the wealthiest, makes you wonder how fair trade and politics have become since the dark ages of imperialism. No, we do not speak of imperialism anymore today. After all, today the countries with the resources we want are not forced to hand over their goods anymore. Isn’t it rather true that they can freely choose to be exploited by us by becoming our business partners? Finally, might there be some truth to the observation that the difference between forced oppression and an ignorant choice based on false pretenses is the major difference between imperialism and globalization?
Globalization is by far not the fair trade story that those in power would like us to believe. However, there is also a lot of good linked to the interconnectedness of the whole world. Today, people are closer to each other than they have ever been. No matter which destination you choose for your travels, there is a good chance that you will be able to communicate with the people living there due to the widespread of only a handful of languages. For the first time in history every single person has the chance to learn and educate himself about all existing countries. Trade has brought us goods that make the difference in our daily routine. Exchange programs enable us to travel, work, and study in other countries where we are able to get familiar with a whole new world first hand. Scientists, journalists, and politicians are working together independent of boarders separating them. We enjoy art, music, and sports which we didn’t even know not too long ago. We share our work place or our hobbies with foreigners which widen our horizons just by interacting with us. Finally, and most importantly regarding myself, globalization has opened up a whole new world for finding a special person who can make you happier than anything else.
It has been said multiple times that love can conquer everything. If there was more love in the world and less hatred many people would be better off. After all, many people hate and hurt others without even thinking twice about their reasons. Indoctrination is a powerful tool which is utilized by too many people with bad intentions. Yet, it is in love that I put my hopes to overcome such barriers. Palestinians have married Israelis, Moslems have married Christians, Americans have married Russians, and Caucasians have married Africans. Those are the examples which prove that the deepest and truest feelings can overcome any idiotic prejudice and stereotype if you let them. All human beings are equal underneath the shining sun, walking on the same soil, sharing basic rights and needs. It is globalization that actually helps us to understand this simple fact by bringing the people together. The numbers of intercultural couples are on the rise. All around the world people have found true love abroad – something that would have been almost impossible not too long ago. Such couples are at the crossroads of their countries, united by something that is way more important than the insignificant differences between their people. They are the representatives not only of their own heritage, but also of a peaceful way of coexistence.
Take me as an example. I do not like many things about the United States and even living there didn’t change my mind. If anything, it reinforced my lack of sympathy for the “greatest country underneath the sun”. I don’t think I could feel comfortable living in a country that stands for so much that I do not stand for. However, I am well aware that not all Americans are alike and that many of them could become dear friends of mine. Maybe it is the ability to differentiate that benefits the most when going abroad. The main reason, of course, why I wouldn’t judge or belittle the American people is that one of them is the love of my life who has made my existence complete. Yes, there are disagreements about politics and religion and yes, each one always tries to defend their own country. Nevertheless, the over-arching feelings for each other are way stronger than potential conflicts. We laugh together, we cry together, we eat together, we sleep together, we love each other and are happier than ever before. It is intriguing that usually those people who hate or criticize other groups the most are also those who have tried the least to understand them. Humans are humans and we are all alike independent of race, ethnicity, religion, skin color, or nationality. If you do not believe that, give yourself a chance and listen to your heart!