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The death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday sparked posts on social media from verified accounts associating the late monarch with “colonialism” and suggesting she be blamed for various suffering and unrest across the world.
“Journalists are tasked with putting legacies into full context, so it is entirely appropriate to examine the queen and her role in the devastating impact of continued colonialism,” Atlantic writer and former ESPN host Jemele Hill tweeted Thursday.
As reports of Queen Elizabeth’s deteriorating health were swirling, Carnegie Mellon University professor Uju Anya took to Twitter to wish the 96-year-old monarch “excruciating” pain on her deathbed.
“I heard the chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying,” Anya tweeted on Thursday morning. “May her pain be excruciating.”
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Anya later added, “If anyone expects me to express anything but disdain for the monarch who supervised a government that sponsored the genocide that massacred and displaced half my family and the consequences of which those alive today are still trying to overcome, you can keep wishing upon a star.”
“The way I wish newspapers would write: ‘Colonizers lost one of their most beloved foot soldiers as Queen Elizabeth II, 96, mostly known for f***s**t and racism, has died,'” Huffington Post opinion writer Stephen Crockett Jr. tweeted.
“Black and brown people around the world who were subject to horrendous cruelties and economic deprivation under British colonialism are allowed to have feelings about Queen Elizabeth,” Washington Post columnist Karen Attiah tweeted. “After all, they were her ‘subjects’ too.”
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“Telling the colonized how they should feel about their colonizer’s health and wellness is like telling my people that we ought to worship the Confederacy,” University of Michigan professor Ebony Elizabeth Thomas posted on Twitter. “‘Respect the dead’ when we’re all writing these Tweets *in English.* How’d that happen, hm? We just chose this language?”
Washington Post reporter Eugene Scott responded to those expressing opposition to discussing the effects of “colonialism” immediately following Queen Elizabeth’s death by asking when that conversation should take place.
“Real question for the ‘now is not the appropriate time to talk about the negative impact of colonialism’ crowd: When is the appropriate time to talk about the negative impact of colonialism?”
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“In nearly 200 years of genocidal colonialism, the British empire stole $45 trillion in wealth from India (17 times more than UK GDP), killing millions,” journalist Ben Norton tweeted. “The UK monarchy, Queen Elizabeth, the royal family are simply symbols of murder, exploitation, and theft.”
“For those saying we should be magnanimous about the passing of the queen, a reminder that the queen inserted herself into the lives of Indigenous people here multiple times,” Macquarie University professor Sandy O’Sullivan tweeted. “She wasn’t a bystander to the effects of colonisation and colonialism, she was an architect of it.”
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“The matriarch of a royal family legacy of slave-trading, imperialism, colonialism, theft, symbol of opulence and mascot for the ruling class is dead,” director Boots Riley tweeted. “The media will now parade the queen’s zombie ass in front of u while telling u that overthrowing capitalism is not what we need.”
Queen Elizabeth’s death has sparked calls from some for England to return some of its crown jewels to Africa and India to make amends for its past conquests. CNN anchor Zain Asher suggested that an apology for colonialism from the British monarchy is in order.
“There is now an understanding how much money the royal family may have made from slavery,” Asher said on CNN. Their involvement in colonialism, and there are calls for reparations, right? And even if the reparations are unlikely to happen, you sort of do get this sense, you know, that it’s unfortunate that there’s been no apology, and that’s what people really do take issue with at this point in time.”
MSNBC host Ali Velshi used Queen Elizabeth’s death as an opportunity to decry the “horrors of colonialism” which British historian Andrew Roberts dismissed as “wildly overstated.”
Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, died Thursday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland at the age of 96.
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The Queen’s doctors said earlier Thursday that they were “concerned for Her Majesty’s health” and that she was “resting comfortably” at Balmoral under medical supervision.
She died “peacefully” Thursday afternoon, Buckingham Palace said in a statement.