HISTORY

How Britain buried the brutality of its colonial past

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Media Diversified

by Maya Goodfellow

A statue of Sir Charles Napier stands in Trafalgar Square. Napier looks out over one of London’s most famous tourist sites and is, quite benignly, described as a ‘General’. He was more than that. This man, commemorated in statue-form, was responsible for conquering Sindh in 1843, a province in what was then India and is now Pakistan. He dispossessed indigenous peoples of their land and freedom, having committed this atrocity Napier sent one word back to his superiors: “Peccavi”. The Latin for “I have sinned”. For this, he was memorialised in bronze.

Though they may be acquainted with Napier’s statue, this isn’t a tale with which many are familiar. Colonial history is not examined in all of its brutality in schools, nor is it properly remembered in Britain’s collective consciousness. Missing are the Mau Mau who were burned alive by colonialists, the Boers (themselves colonialists) and…

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