From Socialist Voice, October 2006

The crimes of British imperialism coming back to haunt them

Survivors of the Kikuyu liberation rising against British imperialism in Kenya from 1952 to 1959—commonly known by the British establishment’s term “Mau Mau rebellion”—are taking a case against the British government for gross violation of human rights, including rape, systematic and prolonged beatings and other forms of torture that left many permanently injured.
     They have also made accusations of forced starvation of prisoners and even of whole communities. The control and use of food as a weapon against people is a tried and tested technique of colonialism.
     The British hanged more than a thousand liberation fighters and supporters. They claim that the final death toll of Kenyans was 11,000, a figure disputed by many Kenyans; a more realistic figure is close to 100,000 people killed, many through torture, starvation and neglect in the British concentration camps.
     Prisoners were held in these camps for many years after the conflict had officially ended. It was the British who first used concentration camps, to suppress the Boers in South Africa, a method of population control further refined by the Nazis.
     Some in the present-day establishment in Kenya who emerged into positions of power after the country succeeded in gaining independence are worried that evidence will be uncovered to expose their role as active supporters of the British in suppressing the liberation forces.
     The most devious and cunning imperialist power has left a trail of human suffering, destruction and divisions among its former colonies, which continue to suffer from that legacy.
     One can only wish the claimants well and hope they get what they rightly deserve. May many more formerly colonised nations and peoples make the same journey and reclaim some of the wealth robbed from them.

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