Mourning the Lives Damaged by the Longest Living Monarch

Zaynab Kouatli, Opinion Editor

On September 8, Queen Elizabeth II was pronounced dead. It was a great day to be a Twitter user because quite honestly the memes were hilarious. However, when I checked my Instagram, my feed was flooded with posts from Queen sympathizers sharing their tributes of Her Majesty and offering condolences to the royal family.  

Many are mourning the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, but I am drastically on the other side of the spectrum and choose to celebrate her death. I am on the side of all indigenous communities who suffered by the reign of Her Majesty for she is both the symbol and face behind modern day colonization.  

R.I.S.E., an Indigenous artist initiative committed to amplification of Indigenous culture, posted on their Instagram, “Today we mourn all the stolen, violated, and traumatized lives who were affected and destroyed during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Today is a brutal reminder that war criminals will be honored while entire populations and societies bear the battle scars of colonial genocidal violence, invasion, religious persecution, and white supremacy.” 

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, Queen Elizabeth II was the head of state for 15 countries including: Canada, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Bahamas, Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica, Belize, New Zealand, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the United Kingdom.  

Her Majesty is not a relic of colonial times for during her reign she was an enthusiastic contributor to colonialism. She continually attempted to stop movements for independence and actively kept freshly independent colonies from leaving the commonwealth. 

Not only has Queen Elizabeth been an active member of colonialism but has never apologized or has provided any sort of compensations to the suffering that royal family has caused. This includes but is not limited to the plundering of India via the East India Company, causing the Bengal Famine which resulted in the death of millions of people, Concertation camps built in Kenya and committing genocide against the Aboriginals. 

To add onto the list, the royal family has not apologized for aggressively contributing and profiting off the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.   

Even the queens’ jewels and crown serve as a reminder of Britain’s long and disgusting history of colonialism. The orb and scepter feature the world’s largest clear-cut diamond known as the Great Star of Africa and was stolen from South Africa in 1905.  

“The diamond was stolen from the treasures of the Azanian (African) soil,” said The Azanian People’s Organisation (Azapo). Spokesman for the Azapo people, Zithulele Nxawe said, “She must be reminded that the diamond belongs to the Black people of this country, and to them alone.” 

The Queen Mother’s crown holds the Koh-i-noor diamond which was taken from the overthrown ten-year old prince, Maharaja Duleep Singh in the East India Company. This crown also holds the Cullinan 2 that is also from South Africa. In the center of the crown is the Black Prince’s Ruby thought to have come from Afghanistan. The sapphire at the top of the crown known as the Saint Edward’s Sapphire is assumed to have come from Tri Lanka. 

All of the jewels I have mentioned come from regalia worn for coronation. Can you imagine how many other stolen jewels and artifacts the royal family possess?  

You might think how I reacted to Her Majesty’s death as harsh claiming that she was someone’s mother, grandmother or daughter. However, she was responsible for the torture and deaths of many mothers, grandmothers and daughters in Kenya.  

She watched over a government that was responsible for the genocide of thousands of black and brown people. You may think that celebrating the death of the queen is insensitive, but I believe it is more callous to flood social media with mournful post about a figurehead who is a symbol of several atrocities, genocide, famine and colonization.