How colonialism can shape a country’s identity

No matter how beautiful the history of a country can turn out to be, sometimes I can’t help but think about its evil side as well. After watching the Olympics and the UEFA Euro championship this summer, it’s been interesting being able to watch different countries compete against each other. However, watching athletes representing their homelands with pride made me think about the colonial past of various countries. It made me think about the grotesque violence people had to endure several years before them. It’s alright though because everyone is allowed to represent their country with pride, right?

As I have started learning more about different countries, I have realized that several of them are wearing their identities. Kind of like a duvet or a batman cape. Unfortunately, a lot of countries have a past filled with disturbing facts. It all started when I began studying about the colonial past of Nigeria, which is my Native country. I remember speaking with my Dad about why Nigeria had the same school curriculum as the United Kingdom. I thought to myself, “why does an African country have the same education system as a European one?’” I realized it was because of the colonial period that took place in Nigeria until their independence in 1960. I was a little ashamed, but then I realized that Nigeria wasn’t the only country with a colonial past. Several African countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and the Ivory Coast have French as their official language. I also always wondered why Brazil spoke Portuguese and realized it was because of colonialism. It bothers me how a country can sort of represent another country instead of itself. I feel as though Nigeria should have its own education system and a country should speak its own language. Colonialism is like me walking into another person’s home and saying, “I think I’ll just live here from now on. I don’t care about whom already lives here.”

The Olympics this year was something else. Watching all of these athletes take home gold medals for their countries was something to remember. All those years of hard work finally paying off as the athletes travelled home to their countries with immense pride. Whether you were watching Usain Bolt embarrassing the competition and winning three gold medals for Jamaica, or Neymar Jr. scoring the penalty for Brazil against Germany, you couldn’t help but share some passion for their countries. At the same time, I thought it was sad considering how colonialism played a part in these countries identities. Every country should have its own unique identity. At the same time, I thought, “people are proud of their countries, so why should I be concerned?” I guess it really isn’t any of my business. I, however, would rather make my own bed before sleeping in it. 

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