WHAT NOW FOR THE BRITISH MONARCHY? Rubin Rothler LLB, LLM (2)
WOKE REVISIONISM AND POST COLONIAL REALITY The actual legacy of Queen Elizabeth II. ‘Woke’ revisions.
By Rubin Rothler LLB, LLM.
When Elizabeth II became Queen, imperial Britain had already disassembled in Asia and was disassembling in Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean. She was historically Britain’s first post colonial monarch, and patroness of a Commonwealth that served the economic interests of the post colonial Empire. The favourite uncle of Charles III, Lord Mountbatten Earl of Burma, presided over the transition of what is today India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sikkim into independence. The Royal family during the time of Elizabeth’s reign cannot be factually associated with the perpetuation of Britain’s colonial past, but rather with the conclusion of it.
This however has not prevented revisionist propaganda by proponents of the woke agenda in the media of attempting to capitalize on the Queen’s death during a time of national and international mourning for a figure who was both loved and respected, to say nothing of the current bereavement of her family. Wesley Lowery of CBS news, in a display of rewriting history that can only be described as racist, was one case in point. Predictably, Christina Amanpour of CNN has been another history distorting detractor. The hideous spectacle of Sonny Hostin of the TV show ‘The View’ has been nothing short of ludicrous in her historical ignorance. Her pretentious diatribe was mere entertainment for the lowest common social denominator who will believe anything they hear from the idiot box. This is commensurate with the pseudo journalism characterizing the mainstream media that masquerades as factually based commentary and analysis, when it is nothing more than left wing spin. The remarks of Lowery disregard nearly all of what actually transpired with the conclusion of British colonialism during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. He however paints the stereotypical picture that the saga of British colonialism was only one of imperialist exploitation, mercantilism and racism. Whether he lacks a comprehensive understanding of the history of British colonialism that results in his racist diatribe of half truth, or whether he is deliberately venturing to deceive those who are ignorant with his woke mongering, is a question we shall not address. We shall however present a perspective of balanced truth based on historical actuality and current reality.
The institution of slavery existed in precolonial Africa for centuries, much of it, but not all of it, tribalistic in nature. It was not introduced into Africa by the British (or by any Europeans) but it was finally ended by them. In the British Parliament, both the Lords and Commons, supported by the Monarchy, outlawed trading in slaves in 1807. British slave traders had previously purchased black Africans who were already slaves from tribal and village Chieftains, transporting them to the American and Carribean colonies. In 1833, the British Parliament abolished slavery in all British colonies, freeing 800,000 black Aficans and Afro-Carribeans from slavery. The injustices of colonialism are but one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is that without British colonialism the slavery of Africans would have continued, just as it still continues today in Islamic African nations such as Chad, Mauritania, Sudan and Niger. Slavery was there before the British came, and it was the British who thankfully ended it within their Empire in a moral, Christian religious, and political drive that inspired American abolitionism.
The notion that colonialism inherently equals a forced occupation for purposes of economic pilferage in all cases is an absurd lie, only subscribed to by those oblivious to the way the world actually works. The people of Hong Kong virtually begged to remain British, rather than be surrendered to the Chinese Communist Party. The people of the Falklands demanded to remain British in the face of despotic ambitions of the Argentinian Peronist Junta. The indiginous Hispanic population of Gibraltar, proudly waive the Union Jack in the face of the Spanish government of Madrid and EU. There are, and have always been situations where colonialism has been in the reciprocal interests of both the Mother Country and the Colony. Lowery of course conveniently ignores this as it is inconsistent with his biased rhetorical narrative.
Post colonialism has worked well in former British colonies such as Singapore and the Afro Caribbean nations in the Antilles. The Lion’s share of the post colonial world however, where nations who broke from the British Empire went into nationalistic independence have not been a happy chapter in human history. Virtually every former British colony in Africa has seen shocking declines in standards of living, reductions in longevity, increases in infant mortality, insurmountable unemployment and a debacle of government corruption that leaves the British colonial government occupying the position of ‘the good old days’ in the minds of many Africans. British colonialism never created a utopia, but post colonialism has in the majority of places left a dystopia that includes the utter dilapidation of the infrastructure that the British built and bequeathed. Even some of the more stable countries like Kenya, Botswana, Zambia and Tanzania have a situation where the indiginous population is broadly, yet noticeably less well off as a demographic majority than it was under the British.
While the ‘woke’ culture propagates the semi mythical delusion that the presence of British forces and the British Empire were a mere military police mechanism for the suppression and control of locals, post colonial history reveals a much broader picture. Would the unthinkable genocide ofIdi Amin’s reign of terror in Uganda , or the Biafran genocide in Nigeria have transpired under British rule? The obvious answer is decidedly not. This is even more true of Sierra Leone and the starvation induced genocide of Bangledesh by Pakistan. Under the British, would the threat of a nuclear armed radical Hindu government, and a nuclear armed radical Islamic government in India and Pakistan be the ticking time bomb it appears to be today? The answer is – of course not. The peace kept in Iraq by the British prevented the Baathist emergence of Sadam Hussain, and preserved peace between Kurds and Sunnis, and Sunnis and Shias, just as it kept tribalism at bay in Africa. For sure, from the civil war in Northern Ireland to the British Mandate in Palestine to the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya there has been an ugly and violent dimension to British colonialism. It is no less true however that in case after case British colonialism prevented it. Both Mashana and Matabeli peoples of Zimbabwe suffered the hunger, misery, and oppression of ZANU PF in Mugabe’s rape of that country, transforming the bread basket of Africa into a famished wasteland with 1000% + inflation. There was no apartheid there under the British. Neither was there hungry children begging in the streets of Harare and Bulowea.
Christina Amanpour has taken the occasion of the Queen’s death to advocate reparations to countries once colonised by Britain in the character of the American ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. She of course omits to mention the $90 million in donations to Black Lives Matter that are missing. She takes no note of the fact that the current leader of Black Lives Matter stands alleged to have expropriated $10 million of donated money to his own pocket. Neither does Amanapour take into account the millions of dollars of exclusive private residential properties and the unbelievable hundreds of thousands of dollars exorbitantly paid to Patrisse Cullors’ family members from donated funds. Cullors herself is the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, yet BLM is what Amanapour appeals to for a sense of economic justice. In her deficient verbality concerning post colonial reparations, Amanapour disregards the billions in reparations already received.
Had the British not built the roads, the railroads, the bridges, the universities, many of the schools and most of the hospitals in its former colonies – that it gave to their governments upon independence, there would be far, far fewer of them. This is to say nothing of the capital investment in resource development and World Bank and IMF assistance to these former colonies – actions that were supported by the British government. The proxy battlefield of Iran fighting Saudi Arabia in Yemen, thus placing global petrol transport through the Straits of Hormuz in jeopardy, is only happening because one Yemen is no longer British Aden, and Oman is no longer a British protectorate. The chief source of cash revenue and foreign exchange for Egypt is the Suez Canal. But had there been no British colonialism, there would be no Suez Canal. And other nations such as Jordan and Brunei never would not even exist. The linga franca of India is not Hindi, but English. From the Tamils of Southern India, to the Punjabis of the North, without the British, India, the world’s most populous nation, would not even have a common language.
The distorted litany of half truths being generated by ‘woke’ journalism are the hybrid of truth and falsehood by which the naive are misled, and of which liars are made. Colonialism and its ramifications doesn’t come in neat packages. The issues pertaining to this subject that are raised by the ‘woke’ agenda are far more nuanced than its proponents care to admit. With more honest analysis, a mixed picture emerges.
The epoch of British colonialism is long over. But the parliamentary government and body of British Common law that has allowed the more prosperous former colony nations in the Caribbean and Asia left by the British accounts for their social, economic, and political stability fortunately remain. Yes, undeniably there were injustices. But there were also benifits. Those injustices moreover ended decades ago, and had nothing to do with Elizabeth II. Woke journalism desires to whinge about the past in order to circumvent the realities of the post colonial present. Politically apartheid originated with Dutch Afrikaners, but legally it commenced with the British. As Desmond Tutu acknowledged before his death regarding South Africa, since the end of apartheid , the ANC has only succeeded in replacing one evil with another. This however, is not only true of South Africa. Ask a Ugandan, a Biafran, or a Yemini if you wish to know the whole truth. But don’t ask CNN, CBS, or The NY Times. An honest and comprehensive assessment of British colonialism demands it be be neither white washed, or Black washed.
Desmond Tutu may have told the truth, but Lowrey clearly did not. Amanapour just doesn’t care. And Hostin probably does not even know.