David Cameron has become the first serving UK prime minister to pay his respects at the scene of one of the bloodiest massacres in British history.Mr Cameron is visiting Amritsar in the state of Punjab on Wednesday, at the end of a three-day trade trip to India.
This was where hundreds of people at a public meeting were shot dead by British troops in 1919.
The prime minister described the massacre as "a deeply shameful event in British history".
Writing in the memorial book of condolence, he added: "We must never forget what happened here."
As he prepared to leave Amritsar, the prime minister explained why he had decided against issuing an apology.
"In my view," he said, "we are dealing with something here that happened a good 40 years before I was even born, and which Winston Churchill described as 'monstrous' at the time and the British government rightly condemned at the time.
So I don't think the right thing is to reach back into history and to seek out things you can apologise for.
It is massacres like this, and Cameron paying his respects, that actually serves to mask British complicity in far more deaths in India, amongst other regions. In other words, it makes people think that these massacres are the worst events to occur under British colonialist rule.
The overly-lauded Winston Churchill, who was quite the racist prick himself as were most in the colonial hierarchy in Britain and the U.S., stated, after the Amritsar massacre, “That is an episode which appears to me to be without precedent or parallel in the modern history of the British empire”. In other words, Churchill was saying, 'We didn't do worse than this." Hell you didn't.
What this plonker Churchill was doing by saying this is directing attention away from the acts of the British that had led to greater loss of lives in India and other parts of the world. By feigning great sorrow for ones lesser sins, and not saying anything about greater ones, we absolve ourselves from the latter.
Cameron disclaims responsibility because it was before he, and most Brits today, were born. But, my dear fellow, that does not mean that you are not currently profiting from the spoils of colonialism acquired in the past.
The Koh-i-Noor on Elizabeth's crown is a sparkling case in point.
And Cameron keeps up with this tradition by saying that it would be wrong to ‘reach back into history’ and apologise. Churchill denies evils that led to a greater loss of lives, whilst Cameron disclaims responsibility because it was before he, and most Brits today, were born. But, my dear fellow, that does not mean that you are not currently profiting from the spoils of colonialism acquired in the past. The Koh-i-Noor on Elizabeth's crown is a sparkling case in point.
The Koh-i-noor, stolen from the Indians (or more accurately, from the Indian elite) by the British is even set into the crown of the so-called 'Queen'. In this is a continuing justification of their exploitation and pillage of India as the most glittering of this loot still garnishes the crown of the monarchy in the UK. The last thing we are going to do is to cast a part of our loot in such a prominent light if we are truly sorry for committing the robbery in the first place.
It is no wonder that Cameron refused to acede to demands that it be returned as he probably knows that if the British government was to do so, that would be an acknowledgement that Britain had gained, and continues to gain, from its past colonial activities. That would destabilise the persepctival basis for any sort of anti-immigrant sentiments as an immigrant from formerly colonised states would be more of a shareholder in the UK given his ancestor's gifts to the country via colonialism.
This is a perspectival sleight of hand, if not in intent, most certainly in consequence. Cameron is paying his respects and expressing remorse for a particular event, i.e. The Amritsar massacre. By focusing on such events, he can defocus the masses, and the British, on the context, i.e. British colonialism. It is the latter that focuses on, and emphasises the fact, that Britain, or ‘King and Country’, profited greatly from it. It is when you link the two that one it would sound like, ‘we murdered people for the sake of power and profit for King and Country’. So given that Cameron is not about to return the Koh-i-Noor, which is one of the fruits of the British exploitative and murderous colonialism, that makes his 'respects' nothing short of hypocritical -
'it is truly shameful the way we slaughtered you guys whilst robbing you, but that doesn't mean we should be sorry about robbing you :-) '
When we are made conscious of this, that is when we might began to see institutions like Capitalism, Celebrity-worship, Royalty, amongst others, as exploitative and be less tolerant of it. We are not detracted by ‘events’, but allow the exploitative context to render the former its true meaning. It is then that the British, would blush in the face of anti-migrant sentiments, and refrain from talking about what a strain migrants place on the NHS, social services, etc, or how everyone else ought to assimilate with 'British Culture' - thankfully, I've not personally heard any British spout such nonsense, and most are quite the fair lot.
It is also then that they might progress to wondering why the British should favour the settlement of EU citizens over the settlement of citizens of formerly colonised and exploited nations of non-European origin and whom contributed far more wealth and lives for the betterment of British life and interests. There are some Brits who say that they built the NHS and other social services, so why should w.European migrants come in and benefit from it to the point that it deprives the locals. Same goes for the concept of the EU. The Indians, Africans, amongst others, contributed greatly to the economic foundations of the UK, so why are they excluded because they are not a part of the EU?
Think, for goodness sakes.