Posted by: Dr. Y. | June 10, 2013

The British Government apologizes for Mau Mau atrocities

In a prison camp during the Mau Mau rebellion (Source:The Guardian)

In a prison camp in Kenya during the Mau Mau rebellion (Source:The Guardian)

The British government finally recognized its wrong-doings in Kenya, during the Mau Mau uprising, and publicly apologized for it.  The British colonial forces thoroughly tortured and murdered thousands of people during the Mau Mau revolt against British rule in Kenya in the 1950s.  The British foreign secretary admitted last Thursday (06/06/2013) that: … ” on behalf of Her Majesty’s government, that we [the British government] understand the pain and grievance felt by those who were involved in the events of the emergency in Kenya.”… “The British government recognizes that Kenyans were subject to torture and other forms of ill-treatment at the hands of the colonial administrationThe British government sincerely regrets that these abuses took place and that they marred Kenya’s progress towards independence.”

Under British guns, during the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya

Under British guns, during the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya in the 1950s

So today’s surviving victims, 5228 people will receive a payment of £19.9m for compensation.  The compensation amounts to about £3,000 per victim and applies only to the living survivors of the abuses that took place.  As I read this… first I was happy that after so many years (over 60 years), the British government could finally acknowledge their atrocities in Kenya, and I think this opens the door for other colonial powers to openly recognize atrocities they perpetrated in their colonies: such as the massacre and genocides perpetrated by the French in Cameroon, Algeria, and Madagascar during the colonial era and after independence.  However, when I read the amount given to every victim, I gasped in shock: 3000 pounds per person? what is that? Is that a joke? What would £3,000 do to somebody who has been tortured, raped, and beaten to death? Would it erase the debilitating pain, and all those years spent fighting for the British to acknowledge their wrongdoings? Finally what is money compared to the pain? What is the British government doing to ensure that no such thing would ever happen again? As we know, paying quickly so that nobody bothers you is easy, but has anything been put in place for this never to occur again? Or would other citizens of the world have to fight 50 or 100 years from now for yet another apology?

Enjoy the documentary below on the Mau Mau rebellion… no amount of money can erase this! The case in court used some of the work by Harvard professor Caroline Elkins.


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