Political activist Nadeem Dawud argues that inquiries like the Chilcot Report into the Iraq war are Britain’s way of sweeping its crimes under the carpet.
“Have you heard, Chilcot published that inquiry of his!” “Oh there’s been an inquiry, has there? What about?” “About that whole Iraq war affair”, “Oh yes, terrible business, all that.”
I imagine that was the sort of conversation that was had at the higher levels of The Establishment. So used to this whole charade that I wager they hardly skipped a beat while buttering their crumpets. This is the British way though – commit the most egregious crimes against humanity and then issue some blabbering statement about how terrible the whole affair was.
“Absolutely ghastly what happened to those wretched Indians”. “Shocking thing, this Boxer rebellion,what?” “Contemptible what went on with those Irish”.
In fact, this too is more than we, the disgruntled majority, can hope for.
British history is full of “inquiries,” to which the level of suffering meted out to us all are just footnotes. Somewhere in the 240 page Bengal Famine Inquiry are figures detailing millions of deaths. The savage treatment of the Irish at the hands of the British is sanitised in the ten volume Saville report, an inquiry into Bloody Sunday.
Not every crime committed by the British has a Chilcot report, but all have been in some manner massively understated or completely ignored. It’s also in vogue now to apologise for British war crimes by talking about trains.
Perhaps in fifty years’ time the British will talk about how scandalous the whole Iraq thing was but it was worth it because they got a Green Zone.
Of course the reports, inquiries, investigations and Sherlock-ing into the aftermath of British crimes mostly just turns up new ways to call things very bad and the perpetrators very, very naughty. There are very few exceptions to this, and where there are exceptions they don’t nearly make up for the atrocities.
Britain has done no meaningful or in fact any actual atonement for the crimes it is built upon. The territories of its monstrous expansionism still bleed from the wounds inflicted upon them, due mainly to Britain’s pig-headed refusal to atone.
For instance, the debate on whether or not Britain should pay reparations for its centre stage role in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The countries from whom Britain stole people and the people it stole have been systematically disadvantaged for centuries. Inversely Britain has reaped ungodly profits from disadvantaging them.
An inquiry doesn’t help these people in the slightest, it merely allows The Establishment to pat itself on the back, “good-show”-ing each other.
These inquiries just won’t do. They are a by-word for extrication. Extrication of all those who lied about WMD’s. Extrication of all those who bayed for war. Extrication of The Establishment. Extrication of the system. Extrication of Tony Blair. Just as those who came before him were extricated.
I for one am sick of it. I want an inquiry in to how we can pay reparations to those whose ancestors were enslaved by Britain. I want an inquiry in to how best Britain can pay back those who are disadvantaged due to directly to its colonisation. I want an inquiry in how Britain will return Native American and Aborigine land back to the tribes that it belonged to.
To start with though, I want an Inquiry in to how long a sentence Tony Blair should serve to atone for Iraq (this is also known as a trial).
You can follow Nadeem on Twitter @ndawud