The Queen’s death reignites criticism of the Crown


As tributes pour in following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, movements on social networks offer another facet of history: far from tears and contemplation, some express a deliberate indifference or harsh criticism towards the Corona, others even seeing it as an occasion to celebrate. On the international scene, Irish people, Indigenous peoples from Oceania, Indians and Africans who had lived under British rule took the opportunity to remind the world of the violence of colonialism.

In fact, Irish, black and Indian Twitter users have been going wild since Thursday. Many netizens have uploaded videos of people dancing in front of Buckingham Palace or elsewhere, others expressing their joy and images of fireworks.

Calls to order also fuse, demanding respect for the sovereign, died Thursday at the age of 96.

But these internet users persist, seeing it as an opportunity to recall what the Irish experienced under British rule, including a terrible famine in the 19e century exacerbated by laws requiring crops to be sent to England even if the people of Ireland were starving. Political and bloody conflicts also opposed the Irish in search of their independence to England.

This is also the case with India and many African nations that have experienced the abuses of British colonial power.

Complex feelings in Ireland

While many of the events denounced precede the reign of Elizabeth II, some took place while she was on the throne. One can think, among other things, of the Bloody Sunday massacre in 1972, when British soldiers opened fire on Irish Catholic demonstrators, killing 14 and injuring a dozen.

The Irish have mixed feelings about England, comments Gavin Foster, professor of modern Irish history at Concordia University. He recalls from the outset that the Protestants of Northern Ireland are in mourning for their queen, while the Catholics who live there have no real affection for her, and that many are even hostile to her. « They suffered British policies and repression during the ‘Troubles’, » he recalls.

In Derry, Bloody Sunday left wounds still raw. Since the death of Elizabeth II, « videos have shown people [de la ville] sounding their horns in a festive atmosphere,” reports Mr. Foster.

As for the Republic of Ireland, it has been independent for more than a century, notes the professor, and has had no association with the Crown for 70-80 years. The reaction of its inhabitants is thus different, because it displays the confidence of a strong and independent nation, he explains. But the country was nonetheless colonized and treated at the time as a subordinate kingdom to that of England, with some very ugly chapters punctuating its history.

The negative reactions aroused by the death of the sovereign probably have little to do with Elisabeth Alexandra Mary, but rather against the institution which she represents, believes Mr. Foster.

The wounds of colonization

This is also the opinion of the professor of political science at the University of Montreal, Mamoudou Gazibo, who analyzes Africa from every angle.

For Africans, it is hard to forget the era of colonization: the drawing of the borders of the countries of the continent still testifies to it, as their economies still subordinated to those of the European powers, he explains. The violence of colonization, the theft of territories and enslavement in all its forms are still present – and at the root of this resentment.

Many people also transpose colonization and its effects which persist on it, he says. He sees in it a misunderstanding of the role of the British monarchy, which does not decide policies, a task which falls to Parliament and the government.

As a political analyst, he stresses that he does not have “remember any acts for which the queen can be blamed”. Except that, for the people, it is “an incarnation of colonial power”: it does not dissociate the two.

In Australia, Sandy O’Sullivan, professor of indigenous studies at Macquarie University in Sydney, is less tender towards the late sovereign. “She was not a spectator of the effects of colonization and colonialism, she was an architect of it,” she writes. on his Twitter accountnoting that she had many opportunities to intervene on behalf of the indigenous peoples of Australia, but that « she did nothing ».

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