November 18, 1957
International Students call out U.S. Imperialism at UMass panel
8 Students, each representing a different nation, debated at UMass in a panel titled “Imperialism in the Modern World,” sponsored by the International Relations Organizations of the consortium colleges. Three students of color were present on the panel, including Argentinian student Sylvia Argota from Mount Holyoke, Egyptian student Hoda Hashim from Smith, and Kenyan Smithie Florence Mwangi. British Moho student Louise Smith suggested that perhaps it was the colonized who were exploiting their colonizers, while UMass’ Edmonde Quinton justified French occupation of Algeria by saying that withdrawal would mean “abandoning some one million French settlers to the mercies of the Arabs.” US representative Amie Hertz declared that democracy was “incapable of imperialism.” In response, the students of color each called out Western imperialism and denounced colonization. Sylvia Argota argued against the United States’ involvement in Argentinian elections, as well as the Fruit Company’s control over Guatemala. Hashim remarked on the ways British imperialism barred Egypt’s goals of unity and social progress, and Mwangi condemned Britain’s practices, including the stripping of people’s land rights, lack of education, and the imprisonment of political activists.
[Last updated on October 8, 2018]