Some British folks are delusional, others are ignorant, others are both but a few have the guts to face the truth. What is the truth of the British empire in Kenya? The truth is Kikuyu blood sinking into the land stolen from the same Kikuyu by white men playing an elaborate game of finders-keepers commissioned by British royalty. The truths modern Britain has no balls to accept are crushed and ripped out testicles of Kikuyu men, mutilated breasts of women as well as cut off ears and fingers. Beneficiaries of imperialism are blinded by their privilege to the gouging of Kikuyu eyes by the colonialist machinery and they are too busy on the colonial gravy train that they do not realise that in Kenya, men were dragged by Landrovers until they disintegrated into chunks of scavenger food. These are the truths modern Britain refused to tell until it was forced to and even when it did, numerous people attempted to downplay the ruthlessness of the British imperialist machinery.
In 2012, the British Foreign Office was humiliated by its own dishonesty which had spanned for decades until then. It was revealed that Britain systematically destroyed evidence that would have exposed the evil of its imperialist machine to the world. The Guardian reported, "Those papers that survived the purge were flown discreetly to Britain where they were hidden for 50 years in a secret Foreign Office archive, beyond the reach of historians and members of the public, and in breach of legal obligations for them to be transferred into the public domain." It was dishonest and most unfortunate but the truth proved too big a secret to hide. The papers showed that ministers in London knew the Kikuyu were being tortured and killed in Kenya chose to remain silent. They also showed that Iain Macleod, secretary of state for the colonies, directed that post-independence governments should not get any material that "might embarrass Her Majesty's government". All Britain wanted to do was save face but the blood of the Kikuyu would tell a different story and escape the labyrinth of British lies and deceit. A claim for compensation filed in 2009 by five victims of British torture (Mutua Case) shook the tables and forced the Foreign Office to embarrass itself by releasing damning papers. Years later, the British government publicly accepted wrongdoing in Kenya.
The story of British brutality in Kenya took a macabre turn on 20 October 1952 when a state of emergency was declared by Sir Evelyn Baring as a response to the Mau Mau uprising. According to Benjamin Grob-Fotzgibbon in his book The Imperial End Game - Britain's Dirty Wars, the term Mau Mau is one with no meaning in the Kikuyu language but might have been a European distortion of the Kikuyu word "muma" being an oath. In the initial stages, the Kikuyu faced 8,251 full time, 6,484 part time and 1,645 full time members of the Kenya Police Reserve, 3,900 soldiers of the British army and 368 Tribal police. These numbers are said to have greatly increased with time. The contigent was not there for games. David Anderson in his account - Histories of the Hanged in Kenya says, "During the entire Emergency in Kenya from 1952 to 1960 the total number of settlers who died were 32, there were fewer than 200 British soldiers and policemen killed, and 1800 'loyal' Africans. As for the Kikuyu, in a census held in Kenya after the emergency it was revealed that over 300,000 Kikuyu had been either killed or were 'missing'. The official figure for the number of Kikuyu who died was never known." Elkins in Imperial Reckoning writes that a system of over 100 Detention Camps called the "Pipeline" were used to hold Kikuyu suspected of having sworn an oath against colonialism. White officers sexually abused both male and female detainees and Barbara Castle writing for the Tribune in 1955 said, " In the heart of the British Empire in Kenya there is a police state where the rule of law has broken down, where the murder, rape and torture of Africans by Europeans goes unpunished and where the authorities connive at its violation."
Elkins says some victims' skin was burnt off and they were forced to eat their own castrated testicles. One particular Kikuyu man was slowly electrocuted to death, his testicles and ears already cut off while one eyeball hung out of its socket. She says, "The men were sodomized by their guards, and bottles, brooms, animals and insects were forced into their rectums. They were pinned to the ground or tied to tables whilst their penises and testicles were beaten and torn from their bodies. Fighters were tied to backs of Land Rovers and driven around the village to slow and painful deaths. Men and women were made to run around with toilet buckets on their heads and they were sometimes made to eat the excrement in the buckets. Sometimes men would be forced to carry the decomposing bodies of killed insurgents, unearthed by the British officers. Some were swung around and around by their hair while others were held the necks and their heads banged together until they were unconscious. Pepper and water mixtures were sometimes poured into vaginas of groaning and vomiting women. Elkins uses census analysis to conclude that between 130,000 and 300,000 Kikuyu were unaccounted for by the end of the state of emergency.
Header Image Credit: The Guardian