UK apologizes for dead soldiers from ex-colonies, recognizes victims of “widespread racism”

The United Kingdom on Thursday (April 22) apologized for the deaths of more than 150,000 soldiers (admitted to having fought alongside His Majesty’s forces during World War II. “Generalized Racism”. “I want to apologize” On behalf of the government, Defense Minister Ben Wallace announced earlier Express[é s]In deep sorrow. “We cannot change the past, but we can redeem ourselves.”, He added.

The report in question was commissioned by the Commonwealth War Cemeteries Commission (CWGC), which is responsible for commemorating Commonwealth soldiers who died during the two world wars (1.7 million in total). The results provided to the CWGC illustrate the fact that at the end of World War I, between 45,000 and 54,000 soldiers, mostly African or Indian dead, were not remembered in the same way. In memory of their European comrades – the soldiers from the memory colonies were often “honored” by collective monuments, which were burials recommended to their Western counterparts.

In addition, at least 116,000 other soldiers (and up to 350,000) from the British Empire, mostly from East Africa and Egypt, who “Not remembered by name, or not”, According to the report. The document explains that such negligence was clearly motivated “Stubborn prejudices, [d]He put forward ideas of contemporary imperialist attitudes and general racism. ”. He is quoted as the British governor of present-day Ghana, who confirmed it in 1923 “Average Native (…) A style can not be understood or appreciated ”, And proposed instead of setting up anonymous memorials, which were aimed at groups of many undefined soldiers.

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A “terrible chapter in our history”

The publication comes as the UK finds itself in the midst of a self-examination of its colonial past, a study inspired by the Black Lives Matters movement. However, at the end of March, the government issued a statement provoking a commotion that seemed to reduce the level of racism in British society because the UK decided not to. “Institutional racism”.

Yet, according to Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace, he did not “There is no doubt that prejudices” Had a share in the fighters of the former colonies who gave their lives for the crown. Mr. Wallace thus assured that the CWGC would act to rectify the situation.

Saying accept “Results and shortcomings identified” In the statement, the CWGC insisted on presenting “Unreserved apology” For failing in its policy of providing “Equal treatment in death”, Regardless of origin, religion or status. “We have identified past mistakes and are very sorry. We will take immediate action to correct them.”, Said its general manager Claire Horton.

The draft report was handed over to a special committee set up by the CWGC after Labor MP David Lamy drew attention to a documentary specifically critical of the issue. Not rated. In Mr. Lamy’s view, “There is no reason to fix the anger experienced by the forgotten.” “However, this pardon provides an opportunity for us as a nation to explore this terrible chapter in our history and to pay due tribute to each and every soldier who sacrificed their lives for us.”, He added on Twitter.

World with AFP

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