Sunday, October 01, 2006

The British genocide in Kenya

Alternet has a review of the book Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya by Caroline Elkin. The massacre of some 300,000 Kikuyu by British forces in the 1950s is arguably the least known mass slaughter of the 20th century.

Reviewer John Dolan offers a harsh, but probably not unfair, assessment:

One of the great mysteries of the 20th century was the way Britain got away with pillaging nearly every country on the planet without suffering any retribution. I've spent a long, bitter time brooding over this experimental proof that there's no such thing as karma. Among the reasons I've found for this failure to prosecute are the reluctance of the raped to report their sufferings, the stupidity and credulity of American scholars vis-a-vis their Oxbridge colleagues, and the charmed life that seems to reward those individuals and nations lucky enough to lack any vestige of conscience.

But the answer is more simple. The Brits simply destroyed all records of the massacres. And dead men don't tell tales.

The difference between the British Empire and other fascist empires is not that these guys were nicer. Nobody who reads this book could continue to believe that, if they were fool enough to believe it beforehand. The difference is that the Brits were good at it, and had no conscience to trouble them. Thanks to that careful incineration of records and highly adaptive national sociopathic disorder, "...there would be no soul-searching or public accounting [in Britain] for the crimes perpetrated against the hundreds of thousands of men and women in Kenya."

These were the same Brits whose purported colonial mission was bringing Christian civilization to the savages.


At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Truwriter said...

The international media searches for expose stories and would not have passed on this, if it had happened. This sounds like hysterical writing not based on facts. There are just too many people who would talk among the British and too many rewards for people to reveal this IF it happened. I don't think that it did. Not that there was not colonialism there certainly was but what has followed it has not been pretty or humane.

At 11:07 PM, Blogger Brian said...

The media of the 1950s was a very different creature than it is today.

I assume that people DID talk or else there wouldn't have been a book to write.

At 6:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately for all of us this is a true story and only one of many which are carefully hiden in Westminster.
Brits did many genocide in the past but never prosecuted for any of them.


At 7:20 AM, Blogger jim said...

Thats' very true, British colonial administration in Kenya committed atrocities beyond description and got away with it.By the way, British were worse than the Nazis because they invaded peaceful people far from British motherland and attacked them.Mau Mau was ignited by colonial oppression and Mau Mau had the right to defend for their freedom.During colonial days ,British were at least supposed to exercise human rights coz they had learnt from second world war but it's like they narrowed all their anger to desperate Mau Mau.For Nazis in Germany,the Nuremberg Trials did something at least,but for the British colonial administrators in Kenya,nobody judged them.Still to data our grad fathers who were Mau Mau still tells us there were much more atrocities that all being told.

At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am about a quarter of the way through "Imperial Reckoning" and am not surprised by the British behavior. It is not the first time they have committed acts of genocide nor is it the first time their so called British Law has been prostituted.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home