With Queen Go, Former Colonies Take a moment to Rethink the Lasting Ties
HONIARA, Solomon Islands -Millicent Barty has been working for years to help decolonize her nation, documenting oral histories of the Solomon Islands and promoting Melanesian culture. Her aim is to promote the local culture, not only those that came from the British Empire.
Queen Elizabeth II of Tuvalu during her 1982 cruise around Tuvalu during a 1982 tour of the South Pacific, which also included an excursion to the Solomon Islands. The Solomon Islands.
Queen Elizabeth II of Tuvalu during her 1982 cruise around The South Pacific, which also included a visit to the Solomon Islands. The Solomon Islands.
However, on Friday morning when she was she was asked about the passing of Queen Elizabeth II the lady. Barty sighed and frowned. Her eyes were eerily swollen with a cold, icy spring of emotion as she thought of her meeting with the queen back in 2018 during an event called the Commonwealth Young Leaders program.
“I love Her Majesty,” she told me, drinking espresso at the Solomon island of Guadalcanal located in the Pacific located 9,300 miles away far from Buckingham Palace. “It’s really sad.”
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Conciliating a seemingly loving queen with the often brutal history that was left by the British Empire is the thorny issue that lies at the root of Britain’s post-imperial power. The British royal family was indeed ruled by more people and territories that any monarch throughout history and, among the nations which have not yet given up the crown, the death of Queen Elizabeth will trigger a desire to examine the past more comprehensively and remove the remnants of colonialism.
“Does the monarchy die with the queen?” asked Michele Lemonius, who grew up in Jamaica and recently finished a Ph.D. in Canada with a focus on violence against youth in the former slave colonies. “It’s time to engage in dialog. It’s the right time to engage in a conversation.”
A lot of former British colonies are still united to the Commonwealth which is a non-profit association that comprises 56 nations. The majority are linked by shared history, as well as the same legal and political system as well as the group’s efforts to promote exchanges in education, sports, and culture. Particularly for the newest and less developed members, such as some African countries that weren’t British colonies but joined in recent years, the Commonwealth can give prestige. Although the Commonwealth does not have a formal agreement on trade the member’s trade at a higher rate than usual.
The majority of Commonwealth countries are autonomous republics that have no formal connection with any part of British royalty. However, 14 constitutional monarchies that have kept their British monarch as the chief of the state which is a largely symbolic position.
In these countries, the monarch has a governor-general who performs ceremonial duties such as swearing in the new members of Parliament. However, there have been instances when their actions have been controversial Governor-generals exiled Australia’s prime minister Gough Whitlam in 1975 to stop the political conflict. While Prince Charles is now declared as the new king of all those “realms and territories,” in some of them, the queen’s passing has been celebrated with more fervent calls for complete independence.
This past Saturday, the premier of Antigua and Barbuda announced plans to organize a referendum to become an independent republic in the next three years. In Australia and Belize, the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, and Jamaica the debates that have been simmering for a long time about their democratic systems’ ties with a distant kingdom are beginning to get heated. From across the Caribbean to the Pacific the people are asking why we swear allegiance to the monarchy in London.
The historians of colonization refer to it as a long-overdue reckoning following the seven-decade rule of Queen Elizabeth I who was petite in size as she was powerful with her duties and smiles to reduce the images of an empire that frequently committed violent acts when it was declining.
“The queen, in a way, allowed the whole jigsaw puzzle to hang together so long as she was there,” said Mark McKenna, a historian at the University of Sydney. “But I’m not sure it’ll continue to hang on.”
Her son, King Charles III, now age 73, is not likely of achieving the same power as the queen as a sculptor of global opinions, a job she was able to accomplish in her younger years and a different period.
Her reign started overseas when her father passed away in 1952. She was 25and traveling in Kenya and determined to facilitate the transition away from colonial oppression. Then, on Christmas Day in 1953, in a speech in Auckland, New Zealand, she stressed that her vision of a Commonwealth had “no resemblance to empires of the past.”
“It is an entirely new conception — built on the higher qualities of the spirit of man: friendship, loyalty, and the desire for freedom and peace,” she declared.
Queen Elizabeth was able to travel to more than 120 nations. She met more heads than any pope and regularly took 40,000-mile trips throughout the world as colonies after colonies said goodbye to the old Brittania following World War II. India and Pakistan became independent states in 1947 and declared their republics by the mid-1950s. Nigeria was the same within the next decade. Sri Lanka became a republic in 1972. The latest country to cut links with its crown Barbados was formed last year.
“The British monarchy has shown a capacity to evolve over the ages, from colonial to a post-colonial monarchy, and the queen undertook that re-creation quite well,” said Robert Aldrich, a historian at the University of Sydney.
In contrast to many of the British political leaders, hers was quick to recognize independence for former colonies. She frequently signaled her approval by presenting awards and adding personal touches.
Following when the Solomon Islands pursued its independence in the 1970s, she crowned the first premier of the country, Peter Kenilorea. The son of the prime minister, Peter Kenilorea Jr. currently a member of Parliament was 10 years old at the time.
“I remember how nervous I was — and how her smile put me at ease,” he added.
In some countries that have deep colonial injuries, the queen frequently was seen to profit from the conviction that she could be free from Britain’s cruel rule. Queen Elizabeth was not blamed when British officials in Kenya were able to torture suspect Mau Mau rebels in the 1950s, or when British forces fighting against anticolonial protests used similar methods on civilians on Cyprus in 1955, and Aden, Yemen, in 1963.
“She was seen merely as a female monarch,” said Sucheta Mahajan who is a historian in India which is and where she was loved after years of oppressive British rule. “Nothing more, nothing less.”
A decade later many years later, decades later, Elizabeth was still viewed to be a uniting symbol of aristocratic values. In countries in which the desire for a republic has increased the population became emotionally attached to the queen.
“She is not only a constitutional monarch for the country I was born in,” said Sarah Kirby, 53, an executive in public relations working in the Bahamas. “She was also, for me, just an amazing representation of what a woman can do and how to serve your country with honor and to be the backbone of the country as well.”
As the queen grew old and faded away from public view and the world was forced to confront a wider investigation of the ills of colonialism and colonialization, it became more difficult to maintain the monarchy’s eminent distance from the racism and actions of the empire. In the former colonies around the world, there are demands for a complete account of the suffering and suffering, as well as the stolen profits that contributed to the family’s immense fortune have been growing.
At the ceremony held in November that marked the end of the monarchy’s position as Barbados’s head state, Charles, the prince of Barbados Charles recognized “the appalling atrocity of slavery” in the former British colony.
In the incident in Jamaica in March Prince William as well as his spouse, Kate was met by protesters who demanded an apology and compensation. In August, President Nana Akuffo-Addo of Ghana who gained autonomy from Britain in 1957 demanded European nations compensate Africa in exchange for a slave trade that had stifled Africa’s “economic, cultural and psychological progress.”
Since the queen has gone, the royal jewels are now under a more scrutinized eye. Twitter users have started loudly asking for the Great Star of Africa -the biggest uncut diamond in the world that belongs to the Scepter of Sovereigns -and to return to South Africa.
In India, Newspapers have also inquired about the future of the Kohinoor diamond, which is on the crown of the queen and is believed to be taken from India.
But, seeking to break free from colonization — or remove a country from the sway of a power that colonizes an empire at work of its own. Queen Elizabeth II gazes at the currencies of many nations and her name is featured on roads and hospitals. Institutions such as the Scouts have produced generations that swear allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II and the educational system in many countries continues to be based on the British colonial system.
“Post-colonial does not mean decolonized,” said Dr. Lemonius, who runs community-based initiatives in Jamaica which include one that focuses on sports for girls in the twilight years. “The eye continues to look at the monarchy, towards the ruler. If you can shift your gaze away from the monarchy for long enough it is time to look at yourself and focus on the reconstruction.”
Certain Commonwealth nations find it difficult to feel against the monarchy. A small majority of Australians are in favor of making their country an independent republic. And in the poll of New Zealanders, only a quarter declared their preference.
“It’s simply not an important part of our life,” said Jock Phillips who is a New Zealand historian.
However, in all likelihood, the royal succession can be an important turning point and not just for the next ruler.
Mrs. Barty, 31, was a student in England as well as at Columbia University. Columbia University said the monarch’s previous realms would continue changing. Western and Indigenous approaches to thinking, she added could complement one another The Kauri tree that Queen Elizabeth planted during her visit to the Solomon Islands for the first time in the 1950s has now grown into a massive tower of shade.
“To get to the thought where I’m decolonizing the system, I had to come through the Western system,” Ms. Barty said. “It’s about reconciling.”
And maybe, she said that the process starts by resembling the qualities the queen attempted to portray.
“For me, what she upholds — and what I feel needs to be a lasting legacy that we continue to instill in our youth — is service,” Ms. Barty said. “She fulfilled her services; she lived a life of duty, all the way through to the day she died.”
Reporting was provided through Suhasini Raj of New Delhi; Skandha Gunasekara from Colombo, Sri Lanka; Victoria Kim from Seoul; Abdi Latif Dahir from Nairobi, Kenya; Yan Zhuang and Natasha Frost from Melbourne, Australia Jasper Williams-Ward of New Providence, the Bahamas in addition, Tamica Garnett of Georgetown, Guyana.