‘Glasgow 2014: Empire, the Commonwealth and “Our Shared History”’ | R. NicDhùghaill- National Collective

‘Glasgow 2014: Empire, the Commonwealth and “Our Shared History”’ | R. NicDhùghaill- National Collective

Any attempts to revisit our imperial history are often brushed off as pointless or mildly irritating; we are told that it is all in the past and that we should leave it well alone, like a child being told not to pick at a scab so it won’t leave a scar.  This was the argument used recently when several elderly Kenyans who had been tortured by colonial forces during the Mau Mau uprising brought claims against the UK Government.  The High Court rejected that, however, insisting a fair trial was possible, and the Kenyans eventually won compensation and an expression of “sincere regret” from William Hague last month.  So, the next time anyone tries to tell you that the Empire did more good than it did harm, that it set up schools and built railways, point them in the direction of the Mau Mau case, where they can read official British records about how Kenyan prisoners were routinely tortured, how they were castrated, and how they were murdered and roasted alive.  It’s by no means the only example of horrific brutality by the British, and it sets a precedent for other victims of abuse to also bring claims again the UK Government.

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