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).