**Today I heard two desperately sad, separate stories of the deliberate suppression and persecution of a racial kind by British imperialism
The first was in Canada, once a British colony. Imperial policies, begun in Ireland and Scotland, led to the destruction of indigenous peoples way of life – their laws, culture, history and language. Reading history of the late 16th century and the Tudor expansionism, followed by James Stuart (I & VI) who believed in bringing the British isles together in a united religion and culture. That didn’t work!
In Canada 751 unmarked graves of children have been found beside a Catholic run residential school and are part of Canada’s cultural genocide
The Cowessess First Nation said the discovery was "the most significantly substantial to date in Canada". It comes weeks after the remains of 215 children were found at another school in British Columbia. The Marieval Indian Residential School was operated by the Roman Catholic Church from 1863 to 1997
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was "terribly saddened" by the discovery . "a shameful reminder of the systemic racism, discrimination, and injustice that Indigenous peoples have faced". 130 boarding schools funded by the Canadian government during the 19th and 20th Centuries, were run with the aim of assimilating indigenous youth. An estimated 6,000 children died in these schools, due to the squalid conditions. Chief Delorme said. Technical teams will now work to provide a verified number and identify the remains,
More than 150,000 indigenous children were taken from their families and placed in these schools throughout Canada. The children were not allowed to speak their language or to practice their culture, and many were mistreated and abused.
"They made us believe we didn't have souls," said former residential school student Florence Sparvier at a press conference on Thursday. "They were putting us down as people, so we learned to not like who we were."
II The second story was the partition of Pakistan and India in 1947, when 17 million people were displaced and I million died – after 200 years of British rule. I watched a program by on this partition presented by Gurinda Chadha: before partition Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims lived together peacefully ad in Delhi there are mosques, The British government in India followed the deliberate policies of divide and rule. They employed Sikhs as their military to do their dirty work. So before India’s independence, the Indian leaders all encouraged religious division in order to advance their own political advantage. At this time some believed that some races were superior to others.
|Indian partition 17 million people were displaced and I million died|
Then there is the partition of Ireland, which is a story in itself! The Normans who settled Ireland, after 1066, assimilated into the Irish culture and for a long time only the Pale was under English control (area around Dublin). The problems began with the Tudor expansion, first under Henry VIII and then under Elizabeth, which led to the 9 years war (1594- 1603) and the flight of the Earls from Ulster – and afterwards the Plantation of the north – alongside the suppression of Irish laws, language and culture. Henry VIII was a bully and tyrant and appears to be upheld up as a model English hero. It’s a sad day that Brexit and the Irish sea border and the Northern Ireland protocol is now causing all these tensions to resurface.
And in Scotland - Since the enforced Highland clearances, to bring sheep grazing, deer stalking and grouse shooting estates for the Victorian elite - who saw Scotland as empty moorlands and glens for their holiday retreats – there has been deliberate policies of exploitation and the destruction of Scotland economic life. Kilts and Scots language were banned. The Scottish highlands and islands are the most depopulated areas in Europe - with desolate glens and only 4% natural forests, which compares to 37% average for forests in Europe. the rewilding Scotland is a crucial project. We need people to return.
All this led to centuries of emigration, exploitations, violence, bloodshed. In recent times in the EU has led to peace and prosperity across Europe and in Ireland. Religion should not be part of government or schools, but a private matter.
I used to believe that religions were a cause of divisions – but I begin to wonder now is it ignorant, ambitious leaders who exploit and exaggerate difference for their own political gains? Brexit was led by the blaming and dislike for the ‘other’.
Imperial policies, begun in Ireland by Henry Tudor, and later the Highland and Lowland clearances, lled to the destruction of indigenous peoples way of life across the world and their laws, culture, history and language. Reading history of the late 16th century and the Tudor expansionism, followed by James Stuart (I & VI) who believed in bringing the British isles together in a united religion and culture. That didn’t work!
The time for empire and imperialism has now past. More and more, culturally we are recognising the rights of equality and difference .... I hope. In fact difference and debate are necessary for democracy. We are also recognising the dreadful crimes of the African slave trade.