Some people pointed to the past atrocities of the British Empire during colonialism.
Others were more forensic, and focused on stolen relics of the British Empire.
Others were sarcastic
Some, and here it wasn’t just Africans, tried to rationalize the anger
While others gave a balanced tone, offering condolences but acknowledging that problems remained.
There were also those who sought to defend the Queen and the British Empire, and received a lot of flak for it.
For us, how the world works together to build a promising future for all peoples irrespective of colour, race, sex, sexual orientation, etc. and to eradicate poverty, to end inequality, to build wealth for all peoples, and to collaborate with sensitivity, respect and kindness, is what will define the future. More so than an apology per se. Unless ofcourse the apology is somehow able to achieve those noble aims.
But we know that some Africans will never be happy with our position, and will even attack us for such a position. It’s to be expected, but this post will not dwell on exposing the fallacies in their arguments, save for pointing out the obvious issues.
And so there are some subjects of the British monarchy who are indifferent to the atrocities committed (or in fact even the present suffering of Africans in general), and would never agree to their head of state making an apology for mistakes and crimes that are often perceived as “committed by someone else” and for which they’ve washed their hands over. You need to understand that these people don’t care about what Africans think or feel. But they’re still entitled to their views, however disagreeable some people may find those views.
That’s not to say an apology doesn’t matter or wouldn’t carry significance. No, that’s not what we’re saying. But as Africans we need to choose our battles in order of what is of value and important to us, given our economic, social, and political situations. And given the reality of global geopolitics – complete with egoistical leaders (some of whom are right wingers), dodgy military contractors, dishonest media houses, guns,planes and nuclear weapons.
We have to be real regarding what’s in our power to influence or change, and what isn’t!
Whether an apology for past and present wrongs will be forthcoming or not should not be for us as Africans to demand. Rather, if it were forthcoming, it should come out of the good nature, solemn regret and honest reflection by the public officials and leaders (or Royals) of the United Kingdom, about their predecessors actions, and not because we demand one.
Because an apology can be faked, and who needs a fake apology?
Further, the apology itself is not reparative for the physical, financial (and some would say psychological) loss that was caused by empire. Or is it?
Maybe, let’s put in place provisions to ensure the mistakes of the past are never repeated. After all, we can’t change history.
Instead, the actual changes we make to level the playing field between peoples, and the actual actions we take to atone for past mistakes is what will define our humanity and human interrelationships, whether one is black, brown or white, and whether one is a royal or not.
Otherwise this war of words is unhelpful and is unlikely to yield much in the long term.
Finally, let’s not forget that some people have lost a mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother and a friend among the many roles of the Queen. We shouldn’t lose our humanity to the point we are less sympathetic of other people’s bereavement, whoever they are, and whatsoever their social status or financial standing.
Thus, we join in with the millions of voices from around the world in wishing the people of the United Kingdom, and their Royal family Sincere Condolences. May Her Majesty’s Soul Rest in Eternal Peace. Long live the King!