‘Out of the Picture: After the Queen’s Death, Will Britain Finally Confront Itself?’ – Byline Times

Those belonging predominantly to Kenya’s Kikuyu tribe were fighting against the confiscation of their land by white colonial settlers in what was known as the Mau Mau uprising. While the Mau Mau used violence to further its aims, the British response was severe.

In 2013, the Government agreed to pay £19.9 million in compensation to more than 5,000 people who had suffered abuse during the Mau Mau uprising. The court case brought by them also laid bare ‘Operation Legacy’, when the Foreign Office was forced to disclose some of the documents hidden from that time that had been kept in a secret archive. It turns out, many more were destroyed in the Empire’s dying days.

For the acclaimed historian Caroline Elkins, author of a comprehensive account of Britain’s crushing of the Mau Mau, the British Empire was able to survive for as long as it did because its violence was wrapped in a “velvet glove” of liberal reform.

I would encourage everyone to read about this time and decide for themselves what can be said of it. But Elkins’ identification of Britain’s two imperial faces seems a valid one.

‘Out of the Picture: After the Queen’s Death, Will Britain Finally Confront Itself?’ – Byline Times