Foreign aid, and post-colonial guilt gone mad
Post-colonial guilt is alive and well, and via Britain's absurd foreign aid budget the UK is now about to pay, literally, for alleged crimes that it just didn't commit. Try saying that out loud in front of a Guardian reader/ Foreign Office official
In addition to misappropriating foreign aid, Africa has hit on another scam -- screwing reparations from the UK government for the atrocities committed by the beastly colonials.
William Hague opened the floodgates when he shelled out £20 million of taxpayers money as compensation to the victims of British abuse during the Mau Mau uprising notwithstanding that after the passage of more than sixty years most ‘victims’ are almost certainly dead. (We are not told whether Obama got a pay-off because his grandpappy was beaten up by the Brits -- or so he says!).
Now, lawsuits are being filed by the relatives of ‘33 peaceful protesters who were massacred by British troops in Malawi in 1959’.
There is, however, a slight weakness in their case. None of it is true.
In the first place, these were not peaceful protesters. They were a very large and violent mob armed with pangas, clubs and spears who were trying to liberate some political detainees who were confined in a ship lying in the harbour at Nkata Bay on the northerly shores of Lake Malawi.
Secondly, there were no British troops in Nyasaland/Malawi then or ever. Defence was the responsibility of the Federal Government of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
The detainees were being guarded by a handful of part-time troops from the 1st Battalion Royal Rhodesia Regiment which was composed entirely of reservists.
They were under the command of Sgt Hugh van Oppen, an Englishman despite his Afrikaner-sounding name. They were guarding the jetty behind locked gates, so there was no action.
Then the gates were burst open. The soldiers had no option but to open fire to save their own lives. They only fired a few rounds but the crowd was so close and so packed that a single bullet from a .303 Lee Enfield rifle would go through more than one body.
I had this account first-hand from Sgt van Oppen a short time after the event. He was my brother-in-law and comrade-in-arms; I was Intelligence Office in 5th Bn Royal Rhodesia Regiment.
But HMG will pay-up anyway.
Epilogue: Captain van Oppen as he then was, died in action in 1965 whilst serving with 5 Commando in Katanga.
Robin Mitchinson is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator. A former barrister, living in the Isle of Man, he is an international public management specialist with almost two decades of experience in institutional development, decentralisation and democratisation processes. He has advised governments and major international institutions across the world
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