Queen Elizabeth II’s passing has been felt around the world with profound grief. Countless Britons, world leaders, and politicians have paid respects to the monarch who witnessed a significant social change in her 7-decade-long reign. The 96-year-old Queen ascended the throne in 1952 and lived through the Age of Austerity, Empire to Commonwealth transition, the end of the Cold War, and Britain’s entry and exit from the European Union. The international community holds her in high regard for her service as the head of the state. However, not everyone perceives the British Queen the same way as most of her subjects. A broad spectrum of people refused to celebrate her legacy. Instead, it criticized her role as the monarch presiding over the colonization of Commonwealth nations across the world without thier consent.
Everyone Has Different Feelings about the Queen’s Death
The critical posts about the atrocities of the British Empire were shunned and ridiculed by many sympathizers. They insisted that the Queen “must be respected”, undermining the sentiments of all those communities who suffered under British colonialism. Critics argued that a large part of the world did not share the same version of history as the West created for itself. The aboriginals of wherever the British flag flew have nothing but disdain for all members of the British Royal Family, including the deceased Queen. For them, she was the representation of the white-skinned overlords who maintained power by using colonial violence over indigenous lives. In that sense, the Indians, Africans, Irish, and Palestinians came forward to share why they refused to mourn the Queen’s death.
Legacy of Dehumanization in South Africa
Far-left Political Party of South Africa, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), issued a statement separating itself from those mourning the Queen’s death in the former British colony. The statement came after other political parties including the government, lauded the Queen for her sense of duty. EFF highlighted the Queen’s contribution to the tragic history of Africa. It said that in 1975 British Empire took over a territory from Batavian control, and in 1806 it assumed permanent control over that territory, which would later become South Africa. The party led by activist Julius Malema continued that after the takeover, the native people suffered, and only the royal family and “those who look like them” were allowed to exploit the riches of thier land. In a lengthy statement, the party condemned the Queen for not speaking against her family, who responded violently to the rebellion rather than fixing themselves. It also accused the Queen of “willingly” benefiting from the wealth gained by the exploitation and murder of millions worldwide.
Trouble Between Neighbours
Like several other countries, the British Empire unapologetically ruled Ireland for 700 years without the consent of its people. It was the first ever colony of England that fought to gain independence in 1922. However, under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, Britain kept 6 territories (collectively known as Northern Ireland) to itself, dividing Ireland. It led to an ethnonationalist war between England and the Northern province of Ireland that lasted from 1969 to 1998, killing more than 3500 people and injuring 30,000. The parties involved in the bloody conflict known as “The Troubles” were British troops, pro-British armed groups, Northern Irish security services, and Irish Republican Army (IRA).
Moreover, since the 12th Century, England has dominated political affairs in Ireland and allowed wealthy British colonizers to displace Irish landlords. Irish nationalists and republicans consider the head of the British Royal Family and its forces responsible for all the bloodshed and injustices in thier land. Even though Queen Elizabeth II was the first British monarch to visit Ireland in 2011, the locals have shown little empathy towards her death.
The British Raj
The British Empire indirectly ruled the Indian subcontinent through the British East India Company but gained direct control in 1858. Pakistan and India gained independence in 1947 but have never forgotten thier history. For them, the Britishers were pirates who came to loot thier wealth and land. The Raj exported millions of tons of wheat to England during famines, which resulted in the deaths of more than 29 million Indians. Moreover, The East India Company collected taxes and used one-third of the portion to purchase Indian goods for Britain. So, instead of paying with thier own money, British traders used the same money they took from peasants, making everything “free” for themselves. These stolen goods were then consumed in England, and the rest were sold elsewhere.
This re-export strategy allowed them to fund European imports like timber, iron, and tar, which ultimately boosted Industrial Revolution in Great Britain. On the other hand, it pushed Pakistan and India further down the sinkhole so much that even 75 years were not enough to get back up.
Queen Victoria was the monarch in the beginning of British Raj in 1858. She was succeeded by Edward VII (1901-1910), George V (1910-1936), Edward VIII (1936), and George VI (1936-1947). Several countries under British rule were already independent before Elizabeth’s reign began but for the locals, she still faced criticism there for the actions of her ancestors.
Divide and Rule
British Empire occupied over 30% of Africa, including territories now known as Kenya, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Sudan, Ghana, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, and Malawi. It structured different types of colonial systems in Africa with the same goal: divide and rule. Its favourite strategy was to choose one ethnic group (usually a minority) to lead all the others in a colonized country. They chose to support those groups with dictatorial systems (like thier own), so they worked against the interests of other Africans. For example, they installed Arab lords over the African majority in Sudan and Fulani over Nigerians. They also recruited them into the colonial military, creating a rift between ethnic groups. Countless riots by non-Muslims occurred over the unfair conduct of affairs by thier Muslim rulers. Eventually, this led to multiple massacres, and some of these episodes have continued to the 21st Century as well. This is why Africans also have nothing to mourn about the death of a Royal Family member.