The colonial giant has pillaged and destroyed everything in its passage in its quest for power, never sparing anyone. Even our art was not safe from its greediness. Today, as the former colonizers hide behind the mask of a repentant angel, they continue to profit off of the stolen art that was taken from us centuries ago.
In 2020, Mwazulu Diyabanza, a Congolese political activist, marched into the Louvre and took an African artifact from the museum, in an attempt to bring it back to its rightful owners. He was arrested and fined for “theft”, which is a crime he is accusing France of. How is repatriation considered a crime? Why shouldn’t we be allowed to take back what is ours?
I firmly believe that stealing is unethical, but in this case, I do not see how taking back what was stolen from us should be considered a crime. If anyone should be tried for theft, it should be France. For colonizers to get away with genocide without so much as an apology and continue to profit off of the bloodbath that they made in their pursuit of political dominance is absolutely ridiculous.
Former colonies have been calling for the decolonization of museums for years now, but no country ever took this issue seriously. It is viewed as a mere futility, and swept under the rug, along with the many consequences of colonization.
As the current world powers express how ashamed they are of their colonial past through their crocodile tears, I suggest they put their money where their mouth is and start making concrete changes in an attempt to make amends for the incommensurable lost lives, the forgotten cultures and the ruins of former governments that resulted from their cruel ways.
By Meriem Terzi.