The Ugly Truth : Prof. Abdul Shakoor Shah

The death of Queen Elizabeth has triggered a spate of reaction. The younger generation from Ex-British colonies is highly critical to Queen’s death. The Queen was a symbol of brutal British colonialism. They reshaped it as imperialism, now folding it in digital colonialism. The Queen utterly failed to stop atrocities in her colonies and even after the end of colonial era, she also failed to stop the west from gruesome aggression. The queen failed to resolve world longest standing issues as well.

How is it justified that not only the English unjustly ruled over colonies but they also left a cruel history of loot and plunder. The precious stones studded in the Queen’s crown are snatched from the colonies. Those who were bestowed with lands by the English they can lament and mourn. There is a long list of black laws especially formulated for colonies and these laws were officially signed by the Queen. Our heroes are those who struggled against colonialists. The East Africans shared documents which prevented free travel for Kenyans under British rule. Almost the same situation prevailed all over colonies but we are reluctant and hesitant to raise voice against our Lords.

The brutal treatment of the colonial administrators is not hidden from anyone. And all those cruel and inhuman administrators were appointed by the Queen. Torture, killing, forced labor and violation of human rights is the other face of the coin. Despite widespread popularity the queen was also seen as a symbol of oppression in the British Empire once existed. Kenya remained a colony of the British from 1895 to 1963.

Among the worst atrocities under British rule occurred during the Mau Mau uprising, which started in 1952 the year Queen Elizabeth took the throne. The colonial administration at the time carried out extreme acts of torture, including castration and sexual assault, in detainment camps where as many as 150,000 Kenyans were held. Professor of communication Farooq Kperogi at Kennesaw State University said, “The Queen’s legacy started in colonialism and is still wrapped in it. It used to be said that the sun did not set over the British empire. No amount of compassion or sympathy that her death has generated can wipe that away,” In South Africa, one opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), was unequivocal.

“We do not mourn the death of Elizabeth, because to us her death is a reminder of a very tragic period in this country and Africa’s history,” Britain’s role in the Nigerian civil war is not hidden now where arms were secretly supplied to the government to be use against Biafrans who wanted to form a breakaway republic. Between 1 million and 3 million people died in that war. British musician John Lennon returned his MBE, an honorary title, to the Queen in protest over Britain’s role in the war. It is ugly truth that either those who were given huge properties due to their services to the English Lords against their national interest or those who are unaware of history can be dejected over her death.

The English, especially the Queen, never tried to atone the people of her colonies.” The English sucked the blood of the colonies and set up their empire after looting everything from colonies. There must be accountability over Britain’s past crimes in colonies because apologies cannot compensate for the losses. During her 70 years on the throne, the Queen has done nothing to redress and atone for the suffering of our ancestors that took place during her reign and/or during the entire period of British trafficking from colonies. Queen Elizabeth had a very glorious chance and opportunities to right these wrongs by acknowledging the atrocities of the inglorious empire not only in Africa but also in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean….to apologize and to pay reparations for these, but she chose not to. That was her choice. Karen Attiah, a Ghanaian-Nigerian born columnist for The Washington Post, wrote: “Black and brown people around the world who were subject to horrendous cruelties and economic deprivation under British colonialism are allowed to have feelings about Queen Elizabeth.

After all, they were her ‘subjects’ too.” The post colonial literature and generation have severe criticism of colonialism. It is the fact that those who have never faced colonialism can never imagine the bitter memories of the ruled ones. The English exploited the colonies from every aspect from sources, culture, language, tradition, system, morality and planted seeds of corruption. The people from different colonies are demanding the return of the diamonds that form part of the crown jewels. Cut from the Cullinan, which was discovered in South Africa in 1905 and considered the largest diamond ever found, the rare gemstones sit atop the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign Scepter, which are both used during the coronation of the British monarch.

They are still happily wearing these stolen jewels. The British rule in the subcontinent is the worst example of atrocities and tortures of the colonial administrators. Now the harbingers of world justice seem reluctant to compensate the colonies. In fact the English poured down their anger to other parts of the world after getting freedom from France. Their act was a type of catharsis. The Queen did not play any role in stopping western attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and other parts of the world. The issue of Palestine and Kashmir are still in blind alley. the rape, killing and genocide in Nigeria soon after her accession to the throne is the vivid proof Nigerian and African anger on the Queen’s death. We from the subcontinent have the same feelings for unjust rulers who enslaved our people by dint of power against their will and hollowed our country by exploiting it from every angle and left behind the paralyzed system and their cruel legacy. On their held sway, the English bestowed their favorites with lands so that they keep the poor and the needy under their oppression.