‘admit our imperial wrongs’: post-empire britain and the politics of apology in public discourse

29Jul11

David Anderson, of the Guardian:

History teaches us that empire can bring out the worst in people. In Britain we applaud the “civilising mission” of our imperial past, but are less happy to acknowledge the violence and brutality that so often girded our imperial endeavour. It is time we were more honest.

[…]

To the imperialist at the time, such matters were functional and may even have seemed immaterial; to the colonised, they marked out the experiences that mattered – the history of oppression, of occupation and of subjugation that shaped their national consciousness and, often, their political identity.

Hat tip, Jenny Mac.



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