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剛果-海洋鐵路——沾滿鮮血的鐵軌(下)

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The railway was the idea of Pietro Paolo Savorgnan di Brazza, an Italian-born French explorer who conquered much of central Africa for France “by exclusively peaceful means”. The French state imagined itself as a bringer of civilisation to Africa, and the railway was to provide a way for the Congolese to take part in world trade. Yet Mr Daughton shows how the colonial administration in Congo had little capacity to build a railway without violence: it claimed to be recruiting paid volunteers while its agents forced Africans to work at gunpoint. Many were marched hundreds of kilometres to the tracks chained at the neck, as slaves had been a century before. Whatever work had to be done, reported Albert Londres, a French journalist, “it’s captives who do it.”

這條鐵路是意大利出生的法國探險家皮埃特羅·保羅·薩沃格南·迪·布拉扎的主意,他“完全通過和平手段”為法國征服了中非大部分地區。法國政府把自己想象成把文明帶到非洲的人,而修建這條鐵路是為了給剛果人提供一條參與世界貿易的途徑。然而,道頓指出,剛果殖民政府在不使用暴力的情況下幾乎沒有能力修建一條鐵路:它聲稱招募有償志願者,而其代理人則用槍逼着非洲人工作。許多人像一個世紀前的奴隸一樣,脖子上被鐵鏈鎖住,被押送到幾百公里外的鐵軌上。法國記者阿爾伯特·朗德雷斯報道稱,無論要做什麼工作,“都由俘虜來做。”

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The evil caused by perverse incentives recurs throughout the book. The Societe de Construction des Batignolles, a contractor, was assigned the job of producing the railway and paid a fixed fee. But whereas it had to provide machinery and skilled labour itself, the unskilled labour of Africans was given to it by the colonial state, practically free. It was cheaper to replace workers who died with new ones than to keep them healthy. In 1925 one doctor estimated nearly a quarter of new workers would not survive a year.

由不正當動機引起的邪惡在整本書中反覆出現。承包商巴蒂尼奧勒建設公司被指派負責這條鐵路的修建工作,並收到了固定的款項。但是,儘管它必須自己提供機器和熟練勞動力,但非洲的非熟練勞動力卻是由殖民國家提供的,幾乎是免費的。用新的工人取代死去的工人比保持工人們的健康更便宜。1925年,一位醫生估算,近四分之一的新工人活不過一年。

Surprisingly, the French state documented these abuses diligently (the archives provide the source of much of Mr Daughton’s information). In 1926 one inspector, Jean-Noel-Paul Pegourier, compared the treatment of workers on the railway to the German genocide of the Herero in Namibia before the first world war. Yet unlike the reports of Leopold’s abuses, these observations had little effect, not least because orders issued from Paris or even Brazzaville were simply ignored. Raphael Antonetti, the colonial governor, fought back with an avalanche of legalese.

令人驚訝的是,法國政府勤奮地記錄了這些虐待行為(檔案提供了道頓先生的大部分信息來源)。1926年,一名檢查員讓-諾埃爾-保羅·佩古里爾將鐵路工人受到的待遇比作一戰前德國在納米比亞對赫雷羅人的種族滅絕。然而,與利奧波德虐待的結果不同的是,這些觀察結果收效甚微,尤其是因為來自巴黎甚至布拉柴維爾的命令完全被忽視了。殖民地總督拉斐爾·安東內蒂用連珠炮似的法律術語予以反擊。

The railway was a masterpiece of engineering, as Mr Daughton readily admits. For decades it provided the only means of transporting goods within Congo. The wealth of Brazzaville, still so named, was built on it. In Britain and France, the infrastructure bequeathed to former colonies is often cited as an argument for its benefits. But to build it, a weak and stingy state had to rely on brutality. As Mr Daughton reports, “the Congo-Ocean provides an all-too-useful case in point for how the language of humanity could be invoked to explain the deaths of thousands.”

正如道頓先生欣然承認的那樣,這條鐵路是一項工程傑作。幾十年來,它是剛果境內唯一的貨物運輸途徑。布拉柴維爾(至今仍使用這個名字)的財富就建立在它的基礎上。在英國和法國,遺留給前殖民地的基礎設施經常被拿來作為證明其有利之處的理由。但是為了建立它,一個軟弱而吝嗇的國家不得不依靠殘暴。正如道頓所説的,“剛果-海洋鐵路提供了一個非常有用的例子,展示了人類語言是如何被利用來為數千人的死亡辯解。”

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exclusively [iks'klu:sivli]

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adv. 排他地(獨佔地,專門地,僅僅,只)

 
survive [sə'vaiv]

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vt. 比 ... 活得長,倖免於難,艱難度過

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masterpiece ['mɑ:stəpi:s]

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n. 傑作

 
stingy ['stindʒi]

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violence ['vaiələns]

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n. 暴力,猛烈,強暴,暴行

 
machinery [mə'ʃi:nəri]

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construction [kən'strʌkʃən]

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tracks

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