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Mourn not the Queen

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BRITISH QUEEN ELIZABETH II died on September 8 2022. 

She was laid to rest at the King George VI Memorial Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle on September 19 2022.

The BBC called her the most beloved queen; the most famous queen; the longest reigning British monarch; the longest-lived British monarch; the head of the Church of England (Anglican); the head of State of the UK and 15 other countries; the commander-in-chief of British forces; the head of the British Commonwealth; the head of the British Empire. 

It was a coverage that can be best described as ‘grandiose’ and an obdurate attempt to force the world to accept her as such. 

However, the world must be reminded that it is only ‘a British point of view’ and that points of view are, essentially, positions of interest.

We look out at the world from within ourselves and we do so from physical as well as socio-historical locations that make us see differently from the next person or other generations even when looking at the same thing.

The point being made here is that an opinion informed by the point from which we view something must be, in the interests of justice, both a universal as well as an inalienable right. 

‘Inalienable’ means that the slave master must not prescribe the view from his point of exclusive privilege on the slave from whose life the exclusive privilege is harvested.  

In the foregoing respect, it is important to note that it took a world war (1939-45) that brought human civilisation to the brink of extinction to get human beings to sit down and codify human rights into a universal charter readily available to guide the ‘penance’ of sovereigns already guilty as defined. 

It is also important to emphasise that the rights enshrined in the charter had always been, still are, and will always be self-evident.

The UN Universal Human Rights Declaration was made in 1948 and it was three years after the near-apocalypse. 

The document has ever since been known as the United Nations Universal Human Rights Charter.

This Queen Elizabeth II who died recently served as an auto mechanic and truck driver during the human catastrophe that justified the contingency of the universal human rights charter. 

Her ascension to the British throne four years down the line would make her head of the greatest colonial empire of the time. 

 universal human rights charter. 

Her ascension to the British throne four years down the line would make her head of the greatest colonial empire of the time. 

The boast at the time was that ‘the sun never set on the British Empire’ and it was an empire that had been built by genocide to the extent that you could use isotherms of blood to trace the atrocities on the world map. Without exception, all former British colonies have histories of brutal oppression and exploitation by Queen Elizabeth II’s thugs.    

To the foregoing extent, the universal human rights charter could be looked at as an indictment of the atrocious British human rights record in the territories they colonised. 

The UN Universal Human Rights Charter has 30 articles and a simple perusal will show that every one of the articles literally defines human rights abuses British settlers perpetrated on the native owners of the territories they occupied. 

In the foregoing respect, one would be inclined to consider it fortunate that the UN Universal Human Rights Charter had Queen Elizabeth II’s work cut out for her when she ascended the British throne to head British imperial tyranny.  

The charter translated to a readily available checklist to atone the human rights abuses perpetrated by her subjects on fellow human beings over centuries. 

No other British monarch had ever had such a perfect reference or checklist. 

And no other British monarch had ever been accorded so much time to do it.

Queen Elizabeth II had 70 years to say she was ‘sorry’ as well as pay the due reparations but the word never escaped her lips. 

And, the question must be asked: How is the head of a Church of England, and a nation that sings ‘God save the Queen’ be the one incapable of saying ‘sorry’ and paying reparations to those wronged for all time?

The new British King Charles III has described the queen’s death as her last great journey and no-one would describe a journey to hell as great.

‘Great journey’ is an assured assumption that she is going to the heaven which British missionaries who championed the occupation and plunder of Africa preached as the abode or reward for good deeds on earth. 

‘Great journey’ is an assured assumption that leaves the victims of Queen Elizabeth II’s omissions and commissions across the world in a quandary. 

They must consider that if one responsible for so much pain and impoverishment of natives across the world deserves heaven, is it not also an ominous suggestion that their own victimhood on earth will be replicated in the heaven they have all along expected would give them rest?

The BBC, among other racist Western media, has ‘nicely’ said that Queen Elizabeth II acknowledged slavery and wrongs but stopped short of an apology. 

An apology would have made her more human and less of the monster she has turned out to be in her death.

We, in Africa, consider that when Queen Elizabeth II became queen, she also became principal inventory holder of stock that included the skulls of Africans who had been dispossessed and murdered to give Britain the economic stability the deceased woman is credited to have given the robbers’ roost. 

The skulls in that inventory of horror include those of Nehanda, Kaguvi, Chingaira, Chinengundu and Mashonganyika, among many others. 

We, the people of Zimbabwe, are still struggling to get the remains of our ancestors back from Britain. 

We want to give them a decent burial among their own in the same way the people of Britain gave this woman the grandiose burial at St Georges Chapel where her ancestors lie. 

They called it a reunion with her parents and sister already buried there. 

And she was buried alongside her husband, Phillip, whose body had lain in a vault in the same chapel awaiting the twin burial. 

This is the sort of burial the British murderers of our sovereigns think their own sovereigns deserve; the sort of burial they think their victims do not deserve.

We, the people of Zimbabwe, think that it is obdurate white supremacism and monstrous arrogance for those who think Queen Elizabeth II deserved the burial of a heroic sovereign to not see that they have, for 124 years, denied us the opportunity to do the same thing to our own sovereigns.  

It is monstrous arrogance to not see that the same Queen Elizabeth II had 70 years in which to atone for the monstrosity and she did not. 

In the 70 years of her reign, we, the people of Zimbabwe, had to resort to armed rebellion to get the self-determination which the Universal Human Rights Charter (which the British helped put together) enshrined as ‘inalienable.’

In the 70 years of her reign, she refused to deploy British troops to stop Ian Smith from making his Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) because the British public would not accept the possibility of British forces fighting their kith and kin. 

In the 15 years from 1965 to 1980 Queen Elizabeth II watched UDI turn to genocide without lifting a finger to stop it.

In the 70 years of her reign, Queen Elizabeth II gave us the Lancaster House Constitution founded on the ‘trusted’ promise to sponsor the equitable redistribution of land back to the indigenous people from whom it had been stolen by her British subjects. 

And then she reneged on the promise and gave us sanctions instead; sanctions that have vandalised our economy and caused untold suffering.

Elsewhere in Africa, in the same 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II’s subjects castrated, sodomised and murdered Kenyans, revoking their right to self-determination.

In the same 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II propped up the extraordinary human rights crime of apartheid even after the UN had sanctioned it as a crime against humanity.

In the same 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II was a principal aggressor in the genocidal destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. 

The right side of history challenges the people who have eulogised the deceased British Queen for a life well-lived to explain how a life is well-lived when it was used to impoverish and cause so much pain to fellow human beings?

Is it fair to only remember that the deceased woman had a good sense of humour and that she gave Britain stability and yet not admit that the sense of humour was a sick and macabre disconnection from the tragedies she left in her trail and that the stability she gave Britain was harvested from the instability of victim nations?

It is unfortunate that there will always be victims who feel pressed to pay condolences even at the passing away of their enemies. 

It is important for these to understand ‘condolence’ as a statement of sympathy, expressed to share the grief of a bereaved fellow human being. 

Queen Elizabeth II herself once said: “Grief is the price we pay for love,” which is the highest sense of tolerance we can have for someone. 

In this respect, it must be understood that the meaning of grief expressed by condolence must be defined by history. 

This explains why we often feel nothing when we read about the deaths of people we have no connection to. 

It explains why there are funerals in our neighbourhoods where we don’t even stop to enquire on the identity of the deceased. 

In war, bodies of enemies may be displayed to discourage mobilisation and, the relatives of such deceased do not expect condolences from the killers. 

The point in context is that there is history that invites condolence and there is history that precludes it. 

The right side of our history bears upon us to remember that we have waited for 124 years, not for condolences but for the remains of our heroes in order that we may give them the decent burial denied them by the now deceased British woman.

The right side of our history bears upon us to remember that the remains of Nehanda, Kaguvi, Mashonganyika, Chinengundu, Chingaira and others were not received by motorcade or gun carriage in London. 

The remains arrived in a context of disrespect and have, for 124 years, been displayed as trophies of conquest in a museum; trophies that for 70 years were the property of the now deceased Queen Elizabeth II as queen of the empire that harvested them.

Incidentally, it is noteworthy that the death of Queen Elizabeth II coincided with the Inaugural Conference of the ZANU PF War Veterans League in Harare. 

To those with keen perception, the coincidence seems to suggest a divine commentary.

War veterans are survivors not of street demonstrations and mass-stay-aways but a protracted armed liberation struggle that inherently makes every one of their meetings a memorial for those who paid the ultimate price.

Every such memorial is also, inherently, a progress check that asks why the remains of our heroes are still being held by those who expect condolences from their victims.

Every meeting liberation war veterans have foregrounds the cause of the struggle for which they happen to be the fortunate survivors remembering the less fortunate who paid the ultimate price.

All liberation war veterans’ conferences are reminders that the struggle for Zimbabwe would not have been, if Queen Elizabeth II, who had been British head of State and commander-in-chief of British Defence Forces had deployed British forces to stop Ian Smith’s UDI.

All liberation war veterans conferences are reminders that Queen Elizabeth II’s refusal to deploy British troops to stop Ian Smith encouraged the brute to declare UDI and engage in racial genocide without fear.

All liberation war veterans conferences are reminders that the British allowed Ian Smith to recruit mercenaries from the British forces over which she was commander-in-chief. 

A classic example of the mercenaries was Lord Richard Cecil, a graduate of Sandhurst. 

The mercenary was even given space to defame the liberation struggle on BBC. 

It is fortunate that he was killed by ZANLA forces. Otherwise, he would have continued to denigrate the struggle.

Another outstanding example was Chuck Hind, recruited from British Special Air Services ranks and responsible for the assassination of ZANU Chairman of Dare reChimurenga Cde Herbert Chitepo.

In light of all the foregoing, it feels important for African victims of British colonisation to look again at the right side of their history and see for themselves the irrefutable truth that Western leaders rarely pay condolences when African leaders die. 

Western leaders kill African leaders and Western media (BBC, France 24, Sky News and CNN) goes on a merciless frenzy demonising deceased African leaders as ‘corrupt tyrants and dictators’. 

This is especially true for those African leaders who would have fought Western imperialism through armed struggle – those who would have been forced to use violence to fight Western colonial violence. 

The same right side of African history must bear upon African leaders, especially survivors of violent colonial dictatorships, to find historical justification to not dig deep into stringent national budgets in order to fly first class to attend the funerals of their oppressors.

As a reminder, this article invokes an abused Africa’s inalienable right to beam a perspective informed by a unique historical experience; a victim’s right to say ‘pfutseki’ and feel good about it.

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