When Lord Acton declared that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, he may not have been thinking of the slave economy of 18th-century plantations, nor of the kind of peonage that much of 19th-century colonialism still implied. But his statement explains very well the kind of absolute confusion and corruption that one still encounters at every step in areas like French North Africa, which have inherited the inescapable tangle of injustices, hatreds and resentments which slavery and peonage continue to breed long after they have been officially abolished.
Not that French colonial administration in North Africa has been any more despotic or corrupt than in other areas of the French Union, or than those of other colo...
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