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One of the things that helped me get through lockdown was creating a bedtime routine. At ten o’clock, I’d brush my teeth, wash my face and moisturise (the hyaluronic acid is giving what it’s meant to give), I’d pray and then curl up in bed with a book to help me drift off to the land of nod where the whole world wasn’t being ravaged by a virus. Recently, I’ve been reading Musa Okwonga’s stunning memoir, One of Them, about his time at Eton. You know the one; it’s the boarding school where they send wealthy boys who’ll grow up to be prime minister or a banker. Boris Baby-Father Johnson and David Dickhead Cameron both attended the college but so did Okwonga who, it’s important to clarify, is neither a serial philanderer nor a piece-of-shit politician. And it’s there that Okwonga learned about Operation Legacy.

Listen, I’d never heard of Operation Legacy and now I can’t stop thinking about it. Operation Legacy was a British campaign to systematically destroy thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes perpetrated by the British government, and their forces, during the British Empire. The aim was to stop evidence of the British having their brutal way with the nations in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, who’d recently been granted independence. For the most part, these documents were hidden but the most damaging had been destroyed. The secretary of state for the colonies believed that allowing people who’d survived centuries of British oppression and subjugation access to the truth of the horrors that had been visited upon them “might embarrass Her Majesty’s government.” If I laugh, I will cry. The British government has long since been an embarrassment.

The only reason that anyone outside institutions like Eton or the government now know anything about Operation Legacy is because, in 2011, a group of Kenyans who had survived being detained and tortured during the Mau Mau uprising that took place between 1952 and 1960, won the right to sue the British government. Consequently, the Foreign Office promised to release nearly 10,000 files from former colonies that hadn’t been destroyed. It isn’t lost on me that, once again, it is the most marginalised people who have to muster the strength to seek justice. According to reports, the documents that were not destroyed were hidden to protect Britain’s reputation but also “shield the government from litigation.”

Here, we come to my point: the British love to remix history. The British are more concerned with maintaining a sanitised image of the British Empire being a good thing that benefited the world than they are with the awful truth; the British Empire was a state-sanctioned operation of white supremacist violence that sought to destroy the cultures and autonomy of non-white people across the globe. And now that the British Empire no longer exists, Britain continues its legacy of white supremacy in the racist manner the current and former British governments pursue present-day race relations.

Case in point: Thieving Boris Johnson’s commission into race and ethnic disparities. The commission, established to investigate why racial disparities persist in contemporary Britain, came about in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests in response to the police murder of George Floyd. Chaired by noted coon Dr Tony Sewell, the commission’s findings concluded that the “well-meaning ‘idealism’ of many young people who claim the country is still institutionally racist is not borne out by evidence” and that there was no evidence of institutional racism in this country. I wish you could hear me screaming. How is anyone with even basic common sense supposed to take the findings of this “investigation” seriously? How could educated people believe these finds in isolation, let alone when they are held up against the backdrop of Operation Legacy, Grenfell fire, the Windrush victims, the preventable death of Evan Nathan Smith (who was refused oxygen in hospital during a Sickle Cell crisis but who wouldn’t have died had medical professionals been trained about the disease which mainly affects Black and brown people), the purposefully hostile immigration environment that the Home Office enacted to make staying in Britain as difficult as possible for undocumented people, and countless other acts of abject cruelty Britain has visited upon racialised people?

The truth is, those committed to denying the existence of racism in this country, like Tony Sewell, Munira Mirza, Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Kemi Badenoch and Sajid Javid, need to believe that white supremacy is a figment of the deranged imaginations of loony left-wing snowflakes. Because admitting racism not only exists but has been used as a weapon against people they demonised because of the colour of their skin, by the British government, for centuries, means they would have to admit that they are beneficiaries of racism. Denying racism’s existence, remixing history, and misrepresenting facts to paint Britain as a post-racial eutopia means they get to pretend that their positions as thugs of colour in the prime minister’s gang were earned and that they are somehow especially hardworking, model minorities when the truth is it is expedient for their bitch boss, Boris Pan-Seared Prick Johnson, to have Black and brown faces in his criminal clique. Racists get to say “well, those niggers said institutional racism doesn’t exist, so what’s you niggers’ problem?”

Telling the truth is hard. Have you ever tried to get a toddler to admit to something wrong they’ve done? Toddlers would rather suffer than tell the truth. And therein lies the nature of man. However, Britain isn’t a child. Britain is a wealthy, deeply flawed country that must take accountability for the atrocities it was and remains involved in committing across the world. Britain can run all the investigations and establish all the commissions it likes but until the British government and, by extension, the British people, are honest with themselves and the world about the role Britain played in horrific crimes against humanity, this country will never know peace.

Posted on December 13, 2021