Jude Collins

Sunday, 22 July 2012

A dangerous truth-teller

I'm surprised somebody hasn't cut off George Monbiot's writing hand, or at least ripped out his tongue. He is what you could call a dangerous truth-teller: he informs the British public of facts they'd rather not hear, in fact that they'd do nearly anything rather than hear. His latest example is an  article on British rule in Kenya during the 1950s.

I remember that time. The reason I remember it is because we got off school, to attend a cinema showing of   Queen Elizabeth's visit to that country. It was a sort of documentary, which showed how foul and nasty the Mau Mau terrorists were. I seem to remember one dramatic reconstruction of an induction ceremony where the recruit was required to eat worms, although that could be the pills talking. But there is no fuzz in my memory of the contrast the film kept making between the queen, in her white gloves and flowery frock, ever clean and fragrant, and these ghastly black men who were obviously bent on resisting the benefits of  British rule.

Had your breakfast/lunch yet? And digested it? Good. Here's an extended passage from Monbiot on the subject, which blows out of the water and into the stratosphere the idea that the British Empire was a force for good in the world.

'Interrogation under torture was widespread. Many of the men were anally raped, using knives, broken bottles, rifle barrels, snakes and scorpions. A favourite technique was to hold a man upside down, his head in a bucket of water, while sand was rammed into his rectum with a stick. Women were gang-raped by the guards. People were mauled by dogs and electrocuted. The British devised a special tool which they used for first crushing and then ripping off testicles. They used pliers to mutilate women’s breasts. They cut off inmates’ ears and fingers and gouged out their eyes. They dragged people behind Land Rovers until their bodies disintegrated. Men were rolled up in barbed wire and kicked around the compound(7).
Elkins provides a wealth of evidence to show that the horrors of the camps were endorsed at the highest levels. The governor of Kenya, Sir Evelyn Baring, regularly intervened to prevent the perpetrators from being brought to justice. The colonial secretary, Alan Lennox-Boyd, repeatedly lied to the House of Commons(8). This is a vast, systematic crime for which there has been no reckoning.'
These matters are now coming to light some sixty years later - too late, it's claimed, to prosecute those guilty. Did you ever stop to wonder what will emerge from our own little corner, after a sixty-year interval? Somehow I don't think those nasty IRA, who of course started the whole thing and were responsible for its continuation, will be found the ultimate culprits.  Incidentally, if you want to read the full Monbiot article, it's on his website at  http://www.monbiot.com/2012/04/23/dark-hearts/ .  When you've finished reading, you'll probably join me in concern for his hand and tongue.


  1. And the British wonder why Barack Obama handed back that bust of Winston Churchill.

  2. Are you ever going to write a blog that doesn't imply what a nice bunch of people those lovely I R A men and women were?

  3. In any conflict there are atrocities and unjustifiable acts of evil cold blooded murder. The British created an Empire from such acts of violence, hence the term, The Butchers apron, in relation to the Union Jack. In Ireland they were no different, and in Ireland because of the brutal conflict which has inflicted our country under the rule of colonialism for centuries, every section of our society have been hurt by one another. Unfortunately there are those in Ireland who are still caught in the tunnel vision scenario that they can't accept the fact that we are all victims to the bloody mess that the British colonial war lords created.

  4. Interesting to see how this plays out - there will see some attempt at presenting the usual - few bad apples - but it will be trickey in the upcoming court case. One other line of defence that will be tried is the old British favourite - the folks back home didn't know it was going on - which to be fair, probably has an element of truth in it - after all that was the line they largely sucessfully sold in relation to Unionist misrule.