The Curmudgeon


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Golden Thread That Runs Through Our History

In all, over the course of the emergency, 1090 Kikuyu would go to the gallows for Mau Mau crimes. In no other place, and at no other time in the history of British imperialism, was state execution used on such a scale as this. This was more than double the number of executions carried out against convicted terrorists in Algeria, and many more than in all the other British colonial emergencies of the post-war period - in Palestine, Malaya, Cyprus and Aden.
David Anderson, Histories of the Hanged

Some erstwhile opponents of the Empire For Which We Should Stop Apologising are claiming compensation for their alleged ill-treatment in British concentration camps in Kenya during the Mau Mau uprising. The Ministry for Little Brown Folk commented that "we expect to contest the cases on questions around liability and limitations", which decodes as I was in primary school at the time; and "without seeing the detail of this, it would not be right to comment further on the particular aspects of this case", an inhibition which might have benefited the Glorious Successor a couple of months ago when discussing a very big plot by some other darky types. The plaintiffs are two men who claim they were castrated, two women who say they were sexually assaulted, and one man who was imprisoned for nine years as a suspected enemy combatant. With its usual first-drafter's attitude to history, Britain's leading liberal newspaper observes that "the figure for the number of people detained during the Kenyan emergency period is disputed; the official estimate is 80,000". An official figure which Britain's leading liberal newspaper does not find worthy of mention is the number of people hanged during the Kenyan emergency. Perhaps, like the unofficial estimates of the numbers detained, it would have pushed some of the advertisements out of line.


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