Queen Elizabeth II’s demise rekindles fury over British Empire’s colonial atrocities

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The demise of Queen Elizabeth II has brought forth dormant criticism among the former colonies and their victims against the British Empire’s colonial atrocities perpetrated in African, Caribbean and Asian nations.

Since her death, prominent writers, and academicians have voiced their disdain for the British monarch’s reign.

It started off with a tweet by Uju Anya, an associate professor of second language acquisition at Carnegie Mellon University, which was later deleted.

“I heard the chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying. May her pain be excruciating,’ Anya tweeted.

Her tweet caught the attention of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who, quoting Anya’s tweet, wrote: “This is someone supposedly working to make the world better?”

“I don’t think so,” Bezos added. “Wow.”

Anya later shot off another post, this time replying to Bezos, saying, “If anyone expects me to express anything but disdain for the monarch who supervised a government that sponsored the genocide that massacred and displaced half my family and the consequences of which those alive today are still trying to overcome, you can keep wishing upon a star.”

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Her tweet had been retweeted more than 26,000 times and had garnered more than 98,000 likes.

However, Anya is not the only one who has sought to highlight the violent past of the British Empire.

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Writing for the New York Times, Harvard University history professor Maya Jasanoff said that the Queen’s stoic presence in life as a “fixture of stability” underlined a “stolid traditionalist front over decades of violent upheaval”.

Jasanoff pointed out how British colonial authorities in Kenya suppressed a rebellion against the colonial regime known as Mau Mau months after Elizabeth II learned of her father’s death from treetops in Kenya and became queen. 

She said that this “led to the establishment of a vast system of detention camps and the torture, rape, castration and killing of tens of thousands of people”.

The British government eventually paid £20m in a lawsuit by Kenyan survivors, she said in her report.

Similarly, Cornell University professor Mukoma Wa Ngugi slammed the “theatre” surrounding the Queen’s death.

“If the queen had apologized for slavery, colonialism and neocolonialism and urged the crown to offer reparations for the millions of lives taken in her/their names, then perhaps I would do the human thing and feel bad. As a Kenyan, I feel nothing. This theatre is absurd,” she said.

Recently, an Argentinian TV host sparked a row after he celebrated Queen Elizabeth II’s death by opening a bottle of champagne in the TV studio.

(With inputs from agencies)

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