The Impact of Colonialism on London's Culture: An Expert's Perspective

The passing of Queen Elizabeth II has stirred up a range of emotions around the world regarding her life, her legacy, and the monarchy. According to the narrative, British paramilitary forces, many of whom were trained by the Tudors, became the foundation of a progressively more aggressive governing culture that sought to re-establish control after World War II, when the Empire needed colonial resources to reconstruct a weakened economy and bolster a diminishing geopolitical standing. Although military officials requested martial law during the term of office, the London prosecutor and attorney general denied the request. In an interview on Thursday, Anya, 46, stated that she is a product of colonialism; her mother was born in Trinidad and her father in Nigeria.

Contrary to Britain's domination of the world, the homeland was not very open to embracing ethnic and cultural diversity; this is still true both in present-day Britain and in many former colonies. In this case, the pertinent story was reported in some detail, since the United Kingdom government's ignorance of its own history of colonial citizenship was essential to the story. From the cultural appropriation that takes place every Halloween to the statues of slave traders across the United Kingdom, racism is deeply entrenched in Britain's history and society. The reports showed that the United Kingdom government persecuted people who were born as British subjects in countries under colonial rule and who thus had full rights of British citizenship under a law passed in 1948. British colonial subjects protested, questions were raised in Parliament, investigations were commissioned, reports were printed and filed, and eventually repressive capacities emerged with moderate force. Although Elkins occasionally acknowledges the variety and “kaleidoscopic” processes of the empire, her search for a unifying theory leads her to overlook the important distinctions in the governance of tremendously different colonial territories: some crowded treaty ports, some scattered inland, some with populations of settlers, some properties acquired in the 18th century and others in the 20th century.

Near the end of “Legacy of Violence”, Elkins reviews the campaign to bring justice to the victims of the Mau Mau in the courts of London and describes a turning point in which, after working in the highlands of Kenya to recover the stories of survivors, he helped to expose to the world “the weaknesses of liberal imperialism”. Even though examples such as the Windrush scandal are occasionally mentioned when discussing connections between colonial history and current crises, these connections are often only briefly mentioned. The laws, economic structures and cultural basis of European colonialism did not vanish when nations became independent in the mid-20th century. Insecure local leaders, some handpicked in Whitehall, strove to govern systems of government in which colonial politics had sharpened social divisions. In 1957, a British colonial governor informed his superiors in London that “the only way to wipe out the most staunch supporters was a violent shock, which justified a brutal campaign called Operation Progress”.The impact of colonialism on London's culture is still felt today.

From cultural appropriation to racism deeply entrenched in society to laws that persecute people born as British subjects under colonial rule - all these are legacies from Britain's imperial past. The Windrush scandal is just one example that shows how colonialism has shaped current crises. Even though nations have become independent from Britain since mid-20th century, its laws and economic structures remain present today. It is essential for us to understand our history if we want to move forward as a society. We must acknowledge our past mistakes and learn from them so that we can create a better future for everyone.

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