My memory of the older women on many of London’s streets during the period between 1975 and 1981 when I lived on-and-off in that capital, as well as later on during multiple visits when I went to see my Mother and Aunt who lived there, still evokes an amusingly vivid picture in my mind. There they were with their little hats, gloves, tiny purses, and sensible pumps going to the grocery store, the surgery (doctor’s office), church or otherwise. They had the same clothing style, demeanor, quiet voices, and civility that was displayed, and copied, from the Queen Mother and from their own Queen Elizabeth. The BBC (British Broadcasting Service) is a perfect example of that, where even the Weather Update is civilized, unlike our own theatrical weather people jumping around with their false jocularity and/or drama! I had always been convinced that Civility was portrayed by the Queen and unobtrusively seeped down to her people, as well as to many corners of our World. Undoubtedly, she was the epitome of a decent, honorable, poised, dignified and civilized human being. Watching the unending coverage of her funeral and all the befores and afters of that event was quite stupendous! No One can pull off Theatre like the Brits! No Broadway, No Hollywood, No Bollywood! No One! They are – and have always been – Masters of the Field. Thus, the Queen’s Funeral was beyond Magnificent and Spectacular!
Having said that, I was thinking to myself while watching that any one of us could have been just as decent, honorable, poised, dignified and civilized had we had Elizabeth’s same circumstances and privileges. I doubt that the woman ever washed her own tea cup, let alone scrubbed a toilet, or bathed her children, or did any of the stuff that billions of women across the world do every day! However, like most of us these days, she has quite a dysfunctional family! Nevertheless, and for seventy years, she ruled over a Huge Enterprise, and a Colonist Empire who’s native populations were her “Subjects.” Barely had the announcement of her passing been announced when chatter regarding that Colonialism was all over the air waves!
Personally, I, my family, and the Palestinian People paid a Humongous Price for a Racist, Merciless, Arrogant British Colonialism that decided to strip us of our homes and roots in order to give away our country to Israel in 1948. Just give it away with the stroke of a pen! Moreover, never during that time and up till now did that Monarchy which had dictated our fate ever endeavored to acknowledge, or redress that decision. To the contrary, the UK, together with the US and Israel, have incessantly thwarted every Palestinian effort to achieve Justice. They are still doing that! They speak from both sides of their mouths when they demand Democracy and Freedom for Ukraine while totally obstructing the same for Palestinians! Evil, Racist, Hypocrites!
However, there is no doubt that the Merciless Colonialism that has been unflagging since it began all those centuries ago is nowadays being challenged by many of those nations that had been furnishing the Monarchy with its Riches, Resources and Power. This process of “decoupling” will take many years yet to come to fruition. In the meantime, Colonialism – or, as I call it Neo-Colonialism – will continue to wield its might, to deplete resources from every corner that it had ruled over, and persevere in its efforts to dictate its policies and racist ideology.
One of the “successes” of that British Colonist Enterprise is the fact that any English-speaking journalist can go to any corner of our world, shove a microphone in Any Person’s face and receive an answer in English. It may be pidgin English, broken English, ungrammatical, or even unintelligible, but, it will be English. It helps, of course, that English is the language that was adopted by the United States. That language is not merely an articulation tool for it has carried with it the predominant culture in our world today from literature, to its version of skewed history, to songs sung all over the world, to movies, to inventions and products, to the Internet itself! it’s quite something!
Another British Colonist “success” is the fact that Tea, and the whole Tea Ceremony embodied by British Royalty – which, again, seeped into every little town and city within the Colonial Empire, and which was originally a herbal stimulant discovered by a Chinese Emperor and co-opted by the Brits – has come to be one of the Civilized Rituals associated with British Royalty.
I am waiting for the announcement that there will be a new museum in London hosting all the Queen’s hats! Goodness how many she had! However, there again, the Colonist Empire influenced the many newly-converted-to-Christianity female subjects within its Empire to wear hats and gloves, especially to Church, as well as to Important Events. That has always seemed so ridiculous to me, especially that African Women had their own Tribal, Colorful and Beautiful clothes and head coverings. Nowadays, we find less and less of that as African Women and their descendants strewn across the Planet, have embraced their Natural Hair and have adapted and modernized many of their Tribal Clothing and Head-ware to fit into today’s world. This is just one of the subtle, but very telling, ways that the “subjects” are asserting their Independence and Freedom from Colonist shackles! I just wish that they would elect leaders who are not corrupt, and not beholden to the Colonist Masters! Nevertheless, it is refreshing to see, and promising in that it is only a part of the process that will lead to Political Independence, and, hopefully, Justice for having been used as tools to maintain the Monarchy!
As the sun is setting down on what was once the British Empire, and with the passing of the Queen Elizabeth era, major shifts are taking place in our World signaling that there is an awakening occurring amongst the hoi polloi who do not want to be “Subjects” anymore, but are demanding to be treated with Dignity, and Equality, Fairness, Justice and, yes, Democracy such as has never been witnessed on this magnitude. It is a good thing! However, it will be years yet in the making, and as these momentous struggles across the Planet bring on fierce resistance from the monied, racist and powerful Colonists, a lot of bloodshed and woes will be occurring before there is any semblance of Civility, or Justice on our Planet! Rule Britannia? Not anymore! It is in the process of becoming Passé!
1 thought on “Rule Britannia!”
Another insightful post. A loving but not blinded take on civility and power. Well done, Hala.