Who doesn’t miss the Queen? A perspective from outside Europe

In Kenya, the death of Elizabeth II received mixed reactions. While politicians paid tribute to the monarch, Kenyans remember that during her reign British soldiers committed mass atrocities during the Mau Mau uprising against the British colonial administration between 1952 and 1960. Some 1.5 million people were placed in concentration camps where they were tortured, raped and abused in other ways. The British then took steps to destroy and conceal official records of brutal repressions.

In India, symbolically severing its last ties with the UK by removing colonial memorabilia and monuments, the death of the British Queen was received mostly with indifference. For many people there, the royal family remains a symbol of painful history while colonial rule is remembered for violence, suffering, famine, economic exploitation and the deaths of up to a million people during clashes and riots resulting from the partition of British India into India and Pakistan.

In Yemen, as in other countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, the news of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing prompted calls for a re-examination of the wrongs and crimes committed by British colonial rule. In Aden, now Yemen’s second largest city, many people remember those years as a time of oppression, which cemented some of the problems still plaguing the city and the country. At the same time, it is emphasised that the origins of infrastructure and basic services, including healthcare and education, date back to the colonial era.

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