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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

commonwealth Day..........

Being born in 1946 I missed all the bad stuff. To me the "Empire" was gone but the "Commonwealth" was still with us. I am proud of what it is today, but not of it's past. My Queen is the Monarch of a lot of the countries but not all. Many countries enjoy the connection with Great Britain, now a days its more of a friendly relationship. Different to what it once was.
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The day that "the sun never set on the British Empire" is long gone. Those days we owned all "the Pink bits" on the world maps. After WW2 the Empire was pretty much ended but many countries still wanted the connection for whatever reasons.
The British viewed so many of the countries peoples as uneducated children, in their arrogance they thought they were better off being ruled by the Crown. That may well have been true in many cases but........it boils down to the arrogant feeling that our way is better. That may not be true for many. I think that the USA still has that lesson to learn. Britain now seems to get along with its Commonwealth peoples and many love our Queen.
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Canada, Australia and New Zealand still remain members and the people are most like us. Many being descended from the English. In the case of Australia it was a prison colony for a long time. In the 1950s English families were encouraged to emigrate to Australia to take children and settle there. My cousins live there now because their family went.
The downside of the whole thing is the atrocities that took place in most of the countries of the Empire. Much like the annihilation or genocide of native peoples in the USA and it took place way too often in places like Africa. In the Boar War for example there were horrific prison camps where many starved and died. Germany was not the first country to do that. There were massacres in India when people protested. Now in most cases I must hasten to add it was not so much British policy as individuals who took it upon themselves. Or the infamous East India Company.
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Winston Churchill may well have been one of our greatest statesmen, there is much about him I admire........but there is much that I do not. He could be callous. He, I believe is responsible for what happened to our men, my Dad among them at Singapore. This is not a history lesson. Really its just about my feelings. I think he made decisions many could not and that is a soldiers woe. He was responsible for many atrocities.
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He aged into a terrific statesman and orator and is mainly remembered for that. There is much I admire about him, his arrogant younger days that probably led to what he became. He was very aware of his heritage as a warrior and his legacy as a Churchill.
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Much of the bad things that happened comes down to greed. The East India company rather than the British military were responsible for so many tragic decisions. Slavery and murder of blacks in Africa of dehumanizing whole peoples. I am proud to say that we ended that and that outlook way long ago 1833, but the mind set had began back in 1783 when the British public wanted an end to slavery.
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What the Empire did for the modern people in Britain was to make them less aware of colour. There is not the same kind of prejudice as there is in the States. Oh it's there but on a different level. Right now its immigration and people who want to change the British way of life. There is a reason, right or wrong for it. Unlike in the US where it is pure hatred based solely on colour.
I worked with a man from China and one from Malaya. I lived after I was married in a street where I was probably the only "English" person. I had no problem with that........I grew up believing we were the "mother" country of many dependents and territories who wanted to be a part of our Commonwealth. Today I believe they still do. Like Scotland where the country was/is divided but chose to remain British........so too, many others have done the same. Some have left the fold but most remained. The ones who left have not flourished but, their freedom was more important to them. So.........I am proud of our Commonwealth I feel connected through that and through our Royal Family (Victoria's offspring) to many countries in the world. That is one thing sadly lacking in America and one more reason I will never be a citizen of any country but my own.

1 comment:

Magic Love Crow said...

Very good post Janice! I understand everything you are saying! Hugs ;o)