For many peoples of the world Elizabeth II is not a figure to be celebrated

The death of Queen Elizabeth, which took place on 8 September last, was a historic event whose scale has affected people in every part of the globe. The strict rituality to which court life is linked has given way to one collective commemoration ceremony which naturally spread like wildfire beyond the borders of the country, making it clear what the symbolic weight of the figure of the sovereign was in the common imagination. Messages of condolence are joints from all the highest positions in the world, who underlined its “dignity” and “constancy”, the role of “comfort and pride” for the British population, the dedication to the “good of the nation” and “devotion to must”. These same tones they were used by the leaders of the African continent, where the crown reigned over more than half of the territory. Yet on the main social platforms the voices of those who, on the contrary, emphasize the legacy deriving from colonial rule imposed on all continents – with the exception of Antarctica. It is about that part of the population that has experienced the other side of English rule, the children of violence, enslavement and repression of colonial rule, all elements that have allowed England to become a world superpower. Once again, if you shift your attention from a purely Eurocentric perspective, you can distinguish a plurality of voices that paint a much more complex and critical picture of what was once the throne of Queen Elizabeth.

Thus, anger over Western grief runs fast on social media, and historical memory annihilates the romantic vision of which the power of the crown is superficially invested. “If anyone expects me to manifest more than contempt for the monarchy that oversaw a government that sponsored the genocide, which massacred and exiled half my family and which those who survived are still looking for to overcome, you can continue to wish, ”Uju Anya, a university professor and researcher, wrote in a tweet. And the messages in these tones are hundreds.

“To those who say we should be magnanimous for the queen’s disappearance, we remind you that the queen has entered the life of the natives several times. She was not a spectator of the effects of colonization and colonialism, but she was an architect of it”Writes IndigenousX, a 100% indigenous owned and operated organization. And EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters), South African far Left party, has released one declaration in which we can read that “Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1952, reigning for 70 years as the head of an institution built, sustained and lived by a brutal legacy of dehumanization of millions of people around the world“, Which is why“ we do not mourn Elizabeth’s death, because for us her death is a reminder of the tragic period in this country and in African history ”.

At the end of the First World War, the British Empire held colonies on all continents, with the exception of Antarctica. From these lands, subjected with violence, England extracted the resources that allowed their enrichment: just think that, according to some estimates, only from India were extracted resources for the value of 45 trillion dollars. At that time, one in five people in the entire globe was a subject of the English kingdom, a quarter of the world surface under the command of the crown. There historical Caroline Elkins, who holds a chair at Harvard in African American Studies, recalls how “All empires have been violent, and the British empire was no exception.” On the other hand, colonial rule was based precisely on this: subjugation by force and violence. Although by the time the queen ascended the throne, in 1952, the British empire was already beginning to crumble and following the various independence movements almost all the African states under British rule – with the exception of Lesotho and Swaziland – had become a republic, for many activists colonial memory is an inseparable trait from the institutional role of the queen, who never acknowledged the atrocities committed by the empire, nor apologized or offered the payment of reparations to the exterminated indigenous peoples.

[di Valeria Casolaro]



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For many peoples of the world Elizabeth II is not a figure to be celebrated


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