God save the Queen
September 22nd, 2022
The ceremonies for the death of the British head of state finally concluded. The ritual has been impressive. The long queues of mourners were appropriately televised to generate an effect of gratitude and solidarity. Numerous documentaries showing Elizabeth's commitment to the British can be seen on the BBC. Undoubtedly, it is a brilliant strategy aimed at making people of the most diverse conditions feel united around a family representing the order of those countries. That strategy also helps people forget that Elizabeth's private inheritance will not be taxed.
In these stories about the past, they realize the moment when Elizabeth became queen. It was at Sagana Lodge, Kenya, in 1952. What is not mentioned is that, at the same time, Her Majesty's Government had been torturing some of Her Majesty's beloved subjects for having committed the crime of wanting their country's independence. In reaction to that campaign, the Mau Mau rebelled against British colonial rule the same year. It only caused Her Majesty's Army to increase the violation of the human rights of Kenyans.
In 1980, Elizabeth knighted General Frank Kitson. Sir Kitson had led "low intensity" military operations in Kenya. In 1972, in Belfast, he led an attack on civilians demonstrating against Her Majesty's government. Dozens of British citizens, subjects of that long-lived queen, were tortured.
Time later, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, perhaps inspired by her friend Augusto Pinochet, implemented the "short, sharp shock" policy, which allowed the police to abuse dozens of poor young people in England. Her Majesty's generous government did not limit the torture to Kenyans or Irish; English citizens also suffered.
The queen has died. Do we not see Noth Ireland's people paying respects to her?
For my part, these days, I listen to a song that, undoubtedly, the young prisoners of the eighties heard before being arrested by the police: God save the queen, by The Sex Pistols.
Read Caroline Elkins, Legacy of Violence. A History of the British Empire (NY, 2022).