Today we were reminded of one of the greatest crimes of the British Empire- the massacre of thousands of innocents and the looting of the city of Benin in 1897
We went to see the magnificent pieces of Bronzework and carvings from the golden age of Benin civilisations exhibited in the Horniman Museum in South London.
This is a marvellous display if you can forget the blood dripping from them.
These cultural artefacts were stolen by the British, the great rogue state of the nineteenth century. (The British invaded more countries in the nineteenth century than all the countries of Europe put together.) This massacre was justified on the basis that this was about preventing the barbarism of the regime of Benin.
So the concept of "humanitarian" wars is not new, many of the wars fought by the British were justified by "pretend" humanitarian reasons eg.The Invasion of Sudan 1884
They have always lied about the reality of their wars. Why did they have to lie? Because public opinion would not support most of these adventures. There was an opposition in Britain. The same workers who were on the side of the slaves in the US civil war in the 1860s had to be persuaded to support these wars.
Before FESTAC '77 the Nigerians asked these criminals to release these artefacts to Nigeria, at least for the period of the festival but these evil devils refused!! The nerve of these thieves. The British are responsible for most of the injustice in the world yet they feel no shame or guilt and continue to hold on to the stolen loot.
While we were at the museum we asked the curator, "when will these artefacts be returned to Nigeria?" The bloke replied that there were no plans for them to be returned!!!!!!!!! We were like WHAT??? This is stolen stuff…
We decided that the best way to get the young people to connect with the people of Benin and their experience with the British was to reverse the history, turn it round: To get an ideas of what the British did to other nations. So we pretended that the people of Benin invaded London, burn down Buck House (Buckingham Palace) Put the queen on trial although she spoke no Bini and the people from Benin spoke no English. (So the People of Benin become the prosecutor and judge…)
They inflict massive damage and then London's artistic heritage is shipped off back to Benin to be put in the Museums there.
This is one way to confront the empire…in history
From: Emma Lewis firstname.lastname@example.org