A queen and the wounds of history

Death, man`s ultimate end, has in its power the ability to drag men hither and thither, even to those places they would rather not go.

The reason many people are terrified of death is not just that during those final moments many fears bind themselves together to deliver a sucker-punch at the most vulnerable moment, but that the person dying is filled with uncertainty about the road that lies ahead. Those left to mourn and lament are also racked by crisis about what remains of their lives and   how much time they have before the Grim Reaper comes for them.

In many ways, the finality of death lays bare man`s greatest fears and his most grievous foibles. What makes death even more excruciating is the fact that  unlike birth which comes amidst limited awareness, death often wields clarity and consciousness like a club. the whole being is open to what transpires.

A royal death

On Thursday September 8, 2022, the British Monarch Queen Elizabeth II who had been on the throne for all of seventy years breathed her last at the ripe old age of 96.  Across the world, many people were immediately plunged into grief. Understandably, the grief was rawest for some members of the royal family and some citizens of commonwealth countries which were countries colonized by Britain.

For Britons, there is quite anything unlike their monarchy. It is at once a symbol of the royalty Britons feel and a sentinel of the superiority they feel towards other people.

However, for all its glitz and glamour, and even for its current status as a favourite destination for migrants, it remains a country whose colonial legacy is an especially odious one. Many of the countries colonized by Britain remember its chilling actions in those heady days of colonialism. Those days explain what remains a cold relationship even to this day. Britain`s colonial legacy explains the animosity and ambivalence many feel toward the country and by extension its monarchy which embodies all it is in many ways. It explains the indifferent reaction of many to  the Queen`s death.

A brutal death wish.

Immediately news filtered out that the Queen was in her final moments, Uju Anya, a professor at a university in the United States reached for her verbal rapiers and rustled to the microblogging site Twitter. In tweet after tweet she did not hold back but let loose a cannon of long-held resentment at the Queen. She also wove into her tweets  memories of the Nigerian Civil War which was by far the darkest moment in Nigeria`s history.

 Breathless backlash

  Ms Anya`s tweets have generated considerable backlash and the wisdom of some of the words she wove into her tweets remain debatable. However, what is clear is that among many Africans who were colonized, colonialism`s biggest legacy remains one of biting bitterness.

It also remains one of deep-seated resentment. It does not help that in spite of decades-long independence by some of those former colonies, they are still racked by crises, many of which are put down to the creaky foundations laid for the countries by their colonial masters or the absence of those foundations at all.

A lot has happened in the history of the world that brutally laid bare just how twisted some people can be, and how brutally they broke others because they were themselves irreparably broken.

Colonialism was a painful scar on the conscience of humanity. Its odious legacy lingers still. It will linger for as long as its effects abound in those countries, many of them African, who were hopelessly and helplessly forced into its crushing claws.

As a new era begins in Britain, perhaps, the country may elongate the pause which it must now take to ponder on its actions in those countries where it once played the role of colonial master and lingering effects of its actions even till this day.

In many ways, it must reserve special scrutiny for the many atrocities it committed or commissioned in those difficult days.

 Kene Obiezu,

Twitter: @keneobiezu


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