Let the Bones of Cecil Rhodes Rot Somewhere Else

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Europeans and Euro-Americans are proud of their heroes, even if – especially if – they are mass murderers and mega-thieves. Some are incensed at African demands that the bones of the infamous imperialist Cecil Rhodes be dug up from his Zimbabwean grave and shipped back to England. But “no people have an obligation to respect the graves of their murderers.”

 

Let the Bones of Cecil Rhodes Rot Somewhere Else

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The victims of British imperialism have every right to expunge the influence – including the rotting bodies – of their former oppressors and tormentors.”

The mayor of Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo, says the remains of the infamous British imperialist Cecil Rhodes should be dug up and sent back to Great Britain. Sounds like a good idea to me. Britain has exported many things to the world, most notably, mass murder, the annihilation and suppression of whole nations and peoples, and Cecil Rhodes was one of the great practitioners of imperial slaughter. Certainly, the victims of British imperialism have every right to expunge the influence – including the rotting bodies – of their former oppressors and tormentors. The arch-racist Cecil Rhodes, whose most fervent belief was that Africans should not be sovereign in their own lands, has no right to pollute those same lands with his foul presence. No people have an obligation to respect the graves of their murderers.

The Daily Mail newspaper, of London, carried the story of Bulawayo’s mayor’s complaint. Based on readers’ comments about the piece, it is clear that a white-ruled country is the proper resting place for Cecil Rhodes. An Irish reader lamented his own people’s sufferings at the hands of the British, and wrote that, “by today’s standards” Rhodes would certainly be incarcerated for his crimes “after trial in the Hague.” Then the Irishman railed against what British bankers have recently done to his own country. But in the end, he concluded that British crimes were not quite as bad as those of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

What bizarre reasoning! The Irishman believes that centuries of British murder and pillage around the globe, including in his own country, is not as bad as what he imagines one Black man in a relatively small country has done in the course of only 30 years in power. In the final analysis, the Irishman prefers the idea of white power, no matter how bestial and murderous, to Black power in a Black country.

The existence of one Black man who has the impudence to give the finger to Europe is considered a threat to civilization.”

Other newspaper readers from England, Australia and South Africa were even more dismissive of the effrontery of a Black mayor in the sovereign nation of Zimbabwe calling for the exhumation and deportation of the bones of an imperialist killer and mega-thief. For all of these writers, five centuries of constant European aggression against all of the non-white people's of the planet amounts to...well, not very much in the larger scheme of things. But the existence of one Black man who has the impudence to give the finger to Europe is considered a threat to civilization. Such thinking is only logical when one believes that white power and human civilization are the same thing.

The United States, which behaves as a great white power regardless of who is the nominal president, is even more narrow-minded than Europe in its dealings with the non-white world. U.S. rulers, including Barack Obama, believe that Washington has the inalienable right to smash and eradicate anyone or anything that might be an impediment to American global hegemony, which they believe is synonymous with human civilization – just as Cecil Rhodes equated British power with civilization, itself. Which is why the British and the American imperialists are, in reality, the world's worst barbarians.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].