I wrote this piece under severe duress, duress from my own self. I wanted to ignore the whole issue, but my conscience would not allow it; I could not sit by and ignore buffoonery, white supremacy and bias from the corporate media and their spokespersons to go unchallenged.
What was even more appalling was the idiocy and lunacy of the response by some of the leaders in Africa and the Caribbean, victims of colonialism. Ever since the passing of Elizabeth II on Thursday, September 8, the corporate media have bombarded the airwaves with commentaries and images in an effort to confuse and sanitize the inglorious history of the British Empire and its representative, the occupants of Buckingham Palace.
I am, moreover, encouraged and congratulatory of the scholarship and guts of Carnegie Mellon University Professor Uju Anya who put the issue surrounding the British Monarch’s death in perspective.
Professor Anya in part said: “I heard the chief monarch of a thieving, raping, genocidal empire is dying; may her pain be excruciating.”
For those of us who were once enslaved and colonized and are enlightened regarding the history and legacy of our holocaust, we share similar sentiments and should be unapologetic about voicing those sentiments. It is an objective and documented fact that Elizabeth II inherited, represented and presided over an Empire that has its beginnings and gained its wealth and power from the pillage and enslavement of African people on the Continent and extended into Latin America and the Caribbean.
The legacy of poverty, socio-economic underdevelopment, the partitioning parts of the so-called Middle East and the cultural dysfunctionality still experienced today, all have their genesis of this holocaust with the establishment of the British Empire and the enslavement of African people throughout the diaspora.
White supremacy always wants to dictate who we should honor; who our heroes and heroines should be; “re-fashion” our leaders to their liking (Martin Luther King, Jr.) or demonize others (Ministers Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan); how we should celebrate our history and how we should struggle for our own liberation.
There is no ambiguity regarding what Elizabeth II represents and has been loyal to, for her 70 years on the British throne. She is the recipient of unearned wealth and has lived a life of comfort and privilege, provided by the pillage, genocide and usurpation of the wealth and natural resources of the countries the British conquered and occupied. The very crown this woman wore is decked with jewels stolen from India and Africa.
From Karl Marx to Adam Smith, every objective economist studying the genesis of capitalism recognizes the pivotal role slavery played in the accumulation of capitalism’s development and enormous wealth. In A Survey of Trade (1718) William Wood writes in part: “The slave trade was the spring and parent whence the others flow.” It is instructive to further quote a part of the treatise, Capitalism and Slavery by the late Dr. Eric Williams: The triangular trade—England, France and Colonial America—“gave a triple stimulus to British industry…By 1750 there was hardly a trading or a manufacturing town in England which was not in some way connected with the triangular or direct colonial trade. The profits obtained provided one of the main streams of that accumulation of capital in England which financed the Industrial Revolution.”
To those misguided and historically bankrupt Caribbean leaders, politicians, commentators and the like, the following should serve as an example of how idiotic their lament on Elizabeth II is. Eric Williams states further: “The West Indian islands became the hub of the British Empire, of immense importance to the grandeur and prosperity of England. It was the Negro slaves who made these sugar colonies the most precious colonies ever recorded in the whole annals of imperialism.”
The economic dispossession of inhabited territories and unbridled exploitation could not have been successful, at least at the outset, without the political component: a ruthless and murderous British military. Governor to Jamaica Edward John Eyre in 1865 declared martial law on the citizens of St. Thomas who were protesting against deplorable living conditions and high poll taxes. Hundreds of citizens were killed, and numerous others were arrested, tried and executed in the aftermath of the Morant Bay uprising, including Deacon Paul Bogle, a community leader who was subsequently made a National Hero.
During the anti-colonial struggle on the Continent of Africa, thousands of Africans were killed by British security forces in various countries. The same year that Elizabeth II ascended the British throne, 1952, British security forces were waging a brutal war in Kenya against the anti-colonial and land reclamation Kenya Land and Freedom Army (KFLA); the racist British media and government called them “Mau Mau.”
Thousands of Kenyans were rounded up and either killed or placed in British labor camps.
In Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia), during the first war of independence, Mambo Hwata and Nehanda Nyakasikana surrendered in order to save their people from further bloodshed. They were sentenced to death and executed by the colonial Administration; Nehanda’s head was severed and sent to England no doubt as a war trophy.
For decades, the people of Zimbabwe have been demanding that Nehanda’s head be returned to them; to date not one British government has honored that demand.
The most telling legacy of the colonialization period is the effect it has produced on a dysfunctional and racist educational system. The textbooks were predominantly produced by British publishers; the history lessons extoled the genius and achievements of white society; all the heroes were Europeans; the teachers were indoctrinated to reinforce the wisdom and supremacy of British and other European society; there was an obsessive glorification of British customs and culture; and we were taught to hate and distrust anything African.
The culmination of High School studies and achievement was sitting and passing the General Certificate of Education (GCE); a multi-subject exam formulated and marked in England. The final decision in adjudication was left to the Privy Council. The educational system was never set up to encourage national development, socio-economic or political independence.
The United States severed its link with the British Monarchy through the American Revolution beginning in 1776; this was a progressive revolution because it freed the developing Union from British rule and established its own government. The United States went to great lengths to distance itself from the legacy of its colonial master, including a modification of the English language, which is why even today there exist an American spelling and a British spelling of certain English-language words.
The corporate media would never dare suggest to the Caucasian Jew to mourn Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler, or anyone even remotely connected to the Nazis. It is well known that the Israeli Mossad has tracked down and brought to justice all those who engaged in their holocaust and rightly so.
Why then, except for white supremacist reasons, would you ask African people and their descendants to mourn and pay respects to their enslaver and oppressor, represented by Elizabeth II? There is nothing ambivalent about the British Monarchy.
The Monarchy’s wealth, prestige and privilege were built and accumulated by the capture, plunder, genocide and enslavement of African people and their descendants.
To expect and worse, to ask the victims of colonialization to empathize with their oppressor, is hypocrisy and white supremacist ideology.
Some people around the world may embrace the fascination with Royal “celebrity.” The British Monarchy is a reminder to some, and should be to all, that the Monarchy’s wealth and Empire were built on the blood, forced labor and the oppression of African people and their descendants. The Monarchy only stands as a “flag” of privilege, colonialism, and imperialism.
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About the Author
Richard Dunn is a retired construction professional, trained in Architecture and Energy Management.
He’s been a social justice activist since 1968 and was particularly active with the Walter Rodney defense demonstrations.
Richard is an author, a contributing columnist to newspapers, an editor for a music industry magazine and operates a social justice website.
Richard can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click Bait.. if you leave out the role of Africans in slavery, you are just a used car salesman
I agree that the Queen should have played a more active role
in speaking up about the centuries of injustice and atrocities
that have taken place, but one must also bear in mind that
in her role as queen, she was expected to remain neutral
with respect to politics:
The Queen’s Role in Government
As Head of State, The Monarch has to remain strictly neutral with respect to political matters.
By convention, The Monarch does not vote or stand for election, however they do have important ceremonial and formal roles in relation to the government of the UK.
The formal phrase ‘Crown in Parliament’ is used to describe the British legislature, which consists of the Sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The Monarch’s duties include opening each new session of Parliament, granting Royal Assent to legislation, and approving Orders and Proclamations through the Privy Council.
The Queen also had a special relationship with the Prime Minister, retaining the right to appoint and also meeting with him or her on a regular basis.
In addition to playing a specific role in the UK Parliament based in London, The Monarch has formal roles with relation to the devolved assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.