As the UK Prime Minister and other leaders prepare to attend a Commonwealth gathering in Sri Lanka, its government has criticised his pledge to flag up concerns about human rights. It is estimated that tens of thousands of civilians were killed by the regime and Tiger rebels at the end of a brutal civil war.
The critical religion school has taught us to see the colonial invention of world religions and their relegation to private space, says Alex Henley from the University of Manchester. But an emphasis on the bulldozing force of secular colonial power may obscure the resilience of local histories. This article is a reflection on a recent workshop discussion with Professor Ahmed Ragab and Dr Aria Nakissa at Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies.
In written documentation from colonial times many indigenous authors are not victims only, but innovative individuals, bringing together their own belief forms with Christian traditions and thus creating genres and contents of their own and for their own objectives, says Sabine Dedenbach-Salazar.
Ethnohistorical and other studies show the great influence and power the historic Spanish mission had over the native population?s lives and souls in the Andean region, says Sabine Dedenbach-Salazar. At the same time as they document the missionaries' daily struggle to impose European ways of life onto other cultures, they also indicate that indigenous people were not only victims, but also agents in re-shaping their living conditions and their cultural identities.
The colonial rule of the Spanish in the Andes was repressive, says Sabine Dedenbach-Salazar. But the contemporary worldview of the Quechua people shows that the decision of the European rulers to use the native languages to teach the indigenous peoples the new faith influenced how those people managed old and new concepts.
They are people seldom spoken of - the rural poor, landless and tribal people of India - at time when their country is being hailed as a new economic superpower. But last week they demanded to be heard, at the start of one of the biggest non-violent protests since Gandhi chased out the British.
Pacific churches need courage and wisdom to face the legacy of colonialism, migration problems, the downside of tourism, questions of democracy and good governance, the ravages of climate change and geo-political tensions, a gathering of Christians in the region has heard.
In order to fight poverty, Africa needs to mobilize similar efforts to those rallied against colonialism, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Dr Samuel Kobia has told Tanzanian church leaders.