Britain and its colonies

The Guardian continues with its series, The Long Read – here, Uncovering the brutal truth about the British empire The story has its roots in thwarted attempts to discredit the research of a US scholar, and a feisty female one at that.

This excerpt of the statement of the former British Foreign Secretary would recommend a close read of the long history of denials and obfuscations. (Yet, it lacks the cheerful flippancy of the US president who, regarding the torture and mistreatment of mainly innocent captives held for years with out charge, had said, ‘We tortured some folks.’, then settling on a policy of preemptive ‘capture’, assassination of innocent and suspect alike.)

“We understand the pain and the grief felt by those who were involved in the events of emergency in Kenya. The British government recognises that Kenyans were subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment at the hands of the colonial administration,” he said.

“The British government sincerely regrets that these abuses took place and that they marred Kenya’s progress to independence. Torture and ill-treatment are abhorrent violations of human dignity which we unreservedly condemn.”

The gamble that all victims would have died had failed, the other gamble was false memories. The surprise was the scholarship and research, and tenacious advocates who refused to allow criminality and atrocities to go unexposed. That explains also the policy to discard all evidence – human or recorded. Yet the voices of the dead have spoken, and Britain has been delcared guilty.


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