The discovery of unmarked graves at three former residential schools in Canada has triggered statue toppling and accusations of shame in the state of Canada. While the modern state of Canada has been slow to make up for the genocidal treatment of indigenous groups, this all began more than three hundred years ago as the British Empire arrived to exploit the resources, steal the land and then destroy the tribes, with the Church and its ‘teachers’ as the tool.
The people who started this were not Canadians. They could not be. Canada did not exist. They lived in part of the British Empire and were British. They were racist, white, Christian supremacists.
No one would think of suggesting that the deliberately enabled starvation of a people, an Gorta Mór, was Ireland’s shame. We know who was responsible and how they thought of themselves, Protestant Britons. The deaths of Irish babies at the hands of those ‘Brides of Christ’, the nuns and priests, was also the work of imperial supremacists, serving the empire that is the Catholic Church. They did the same and worse across the Americas, from Chile to Mexico.
The near-genocide of the indigenous population in Brazil is not ‘Brazil’s Shame’ but that of Portugal and the Vatican. In the other South American countries, all then colonies when this began, it is the shame of Spain and the Vatican.
When Britain did this in India, it was clearly Britain’s shame:
Imperialism is a bad thing. A system of violent protection rackets on a scale the Mafia could only dream of and, of course, self-justified by a racist religious philosophy.
But, but says the Tory MP, they would never have had railways but for ‘us’. Yes to move our troops to then murder them and to move rice supplies away from the starving. Such was the nasty brutish nature of the British Empire, it cleansed its closest kin out of Scotland and murdered them in Ireland.
There’s more blood and tears, much much more. Readers will add them no doubt.
Knock down statues of Victoria? Get the councils to dump them all in a holocaust memorial park, free entry.
Finally, Nazi Germans, were they worse? Certainly more technologically advanced, more ambitious but, globally, less impact than ‘us.’