The death of Queen Elizabeth II reawakened dormant criticism among former colonies and victims of the British Empire’s colonial misdeeds in African, Caribbean, and Asian nations. Since her death, numerous writers and academics have expressed hatred for the reign of the British queen.
It all began with a tweet from Uju Anya, an associate professor of second language acquisition at Carnegie Mellon University, which was later removed. ‘ I’ve heard that the top emperor of a thieving, raping, murderous empire has died. ‘May her suffering be horrific,’ Anya said on Twitter. Her post piqued the interest of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who responded, citing Anya, ‘This is someone apparently striving to make the world a better place? I doubt it,’ Bezos added. ‘Wow’.
Richard @Stengel on Queen Elizabeth II's role in the UK's legacy of colonialism & racism:
"You played a clip of her speaking in Cape Town in 1947… That's the year apartheid took effect… British colonialism, which she presided over… had a terrible effect on much of the world." pic.twitter.com/RtxgBxTRyi
— The Recount (@therecount) September 8, 2022
‘If anybody expects me to feel anything other than disgust for the king who commanded a government that promoted the genocide that massacred and dispossessed half my family and the ramifications of which those surviving today are still striving to overcome,’ Anya said later in response to Bezos.
Her message has been shared over 26,000 times and received over 98,000 likes. However, Anya is not the only one who has attempted to emphasise the British Empire’s terrible past. Harvard University history professor Maya Jasanoff wrote in the New York Times that the Queen’s stoic presence in life as a ‘fixture of stability’ underscored a ‘stolid conservative face spanning decades’.
Jasanoff emphasised how British colonial forces in Kenya repressed the Mau Mau insurrection against the colonial authority months after Elizabeth II learnt of her father’s death from the treetops of Kenya and ascended to the throne. According to her, this ‘led to the development of a huge system of detention camps as well as the torture, rape, castration, and murdering of tens of thousands of individuals’. According to her article, the British government subsequently paid £20 million to Kenyan survivors in a lawsuit.
Similarly, Cornell University professor Mukoma Wa Ngugi condemned the ‘drama’ surrounding the Queen’s death. ‘ If the queen had apologised for slavery, colonialism, and neocolonialism, and encouraged the crown to provide reparations for the millions of lives lost in her/their names, perhaps I would do the human thing and feel awful’. As a Kenyan, I feel nothing. ‘ This theatre is ludicrous,’ she said. Recently, an Argentinian TV anchor provoked outrage by opening a bottle of champagne in the TV studio to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s passing.