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A History of Pan-African Revolt (Revolutionary Classics)
A History of Pan-African Revolt (Revolutionary Classics)
by C. L. R. James
Edition: Paperback
23 used & new from $6.95

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden History of British Colonial Crimes Against Humanity, May 18, 2011
British Colonial War Crimes in 1950s Kenya Mau-Mau Rebellion

By Jemima Pierre | BAR | 05/17/2011

The western-manipulated International Criminal Court, which has indicted only African leaders, tries to give the world the impression that barbarity descended on the continent when the white colonists left. But four aging Kenyan "Mau Mau" freedom fighters, demanding reparations, are forcing Britain to acknowledge the savagery of white settlers and soldiers. "The generation of Africans who fought against colonialism is dying without recognition of their fight or their suffering at the hands of racist colonialism."

In early April 2011, four elderly Kenyansi--three men and one woman--appeared in the High Court in London, accusing England of systematic torture during their siege of the so-called Mau Maus and demanding reparations for their treatment. One of the men was castrated by the British colonial government in Kenya. Handcuffed and pinned to the ground with his legs pulled apart, his genitals were sliced off by the white officers. He was then left for days without medical attention until he was liberated by Kenyan rebels. The one woman claimant was subjected to sexual torture. White soldiers repeatedly inserted bottles of boiling hot water into her vagina. In addition to these cases, thousands of Kenyans were maimed, lynched and brutally murdered by the British during the last century. Thousands of others were subjected to rape, forced labor, and gross abuse and torture in detention camps. It was part of a deliberate policy of the colonial British government to break a civilian population cast as "baboons," "barbarians," and "terrorists" and who were seen as a threat to the colonial order in east Africa.

The proper name for the liberation forces that fought against British colonialism and land-grabbing in East Africa was the Kenya Land and Freedom Army.ii The movement was derisively called "Mau Mau" by the British propaganda machine in an attempt to depict these African freedom fighters as a primitive and anti-white tribal cult. Against this, the late C. L. R. James described the movement as "an ad hoc body of beliefs, oaths, disciplines newly created for the specific purpose of gathering and strengthening the struggle against British imperialism, its military, political and economic domination and, in particular, the Christianity it sought to inject and impose." And it was land and white settlers, not African "tribal" beliefs that were at the heart of the so-called Mau Mau revolt against British colonialism.

The colonial invasion of Central Kenya began in the late 1880s. It was formalized through military conquest, particularly over the most numerous ethnic group, the Gikuyu, as well as the Embu and the Meru. By 1903, the British colonial government sent in waves of white settlers, from South Africa and England, with the hope of creating another "white man's country" in Kenya. They stole between 60,000 and 1 million acres of land, settling whites in the most fertile regions with the coolest climates--an area they eventually named the "White Highlands." By the time the colony of Kenya came into being in 1920, more than 10,000 whites had settled over 25% of Kenya's best territory. At the same time, the African population, mainly but not entirely the Gikuyu, were driven into reservations or were forced to work as sharecroppers. Then, through hut and poll taxes, restrictions on movement through the issuing of kipande (identity passes), and limits on agricultural production, Africans became systematically entrapped into the racist Kenyan colonial system. Add to this mix the ever-expanding power of the white settlers and Christian missionaries, and Kenya was primed for a revolution.

Though all ethnic groups were affected by British colonial land-grabbing and dispossession, the Gikuyu experienced this most acutely. They did not take lightly the heavy theft of land. When, in 1943, the colonial government threatened groups of Gikuyu with yet another eviction from their lands, they decided to take action. Their struggle began with overt passive resistance but was quickly radicalized. Wings of the movement began armed guerilla attacks on white settler holdings and on Africans who supported the British regime. At the height of the revolt, it was estimated that 1.5 million Gikuyu and other Kenyan groups had taken secret oaths of unity to fight against white settlers and colonial rule. They were met with a brutal armed retaliation. By late 1952, the colonial governor of Kenya declared a state of emergency. The colonial government established and enforced communal punishment, curfews, schemes to confiscate African properties, censors for publications, detention without trial, control of African markets, forced migrations, and detention and labor camps.

By late 1954 the revolt was said to have been militarily defeated by the British army, but the state of the emergency was not lifted until 1960. During the six intervening years, the Mau Mau struggle continued as the British colonial government established a terrorist state. The assault on the Africans continued both through the campaign to arrest and dispose of the alleged Mau Mau leadership, and in detention camps, prisons, and "emergency villages." The British focused primarily on forcing the Gikuyu to renounce their oath of unity by the most brutal means. According to the Kenya Human Rights Commission, by the time the colonial government ended the state of emergency, over 90,000 Kenyans were executed, maimed, or tortured, while 160,000 were held in detention camps. Others have argued that the numbers were higher. What is well documented is how colonial agents were unrivaled in their barbarity. They castrated and sexually abused, starved, and maimed detainees in order to force the alleged oath takers to confess. They used electric shock, cigarettes and fire, broken bottles, gun barrels, knives, snakes, vermin, and hot eggs were thrust up men's rectums and women's vaginas. The assault only came to an end when the Gikuyu population was almost physically decimated and psychologically broken.

If not for the legal case brought against the British government by four surviving Kenyans, we would not know about the trove of secret colonial files documenting the systematic nature of their torture of Africans. The generation of Africans who fought against colonialism is dying without recognition of their fight or their suffering at the hands of racist colonialism. In the current context where Africans, through organizations such as the ICC, are constructed and targeted as the greatest purveyors of "crimes against humanity," it is well worth remembering the venal work of Europeans in Africa. The demands for reparations may begin with four elderly Kenyans traveling to the old center of the British empire, but the colonial archive surely documents crimes against the Herero, the Congolese, and many other victims of European colonialism. We should not forget their struggles.

i - Wambugu Wa Nyingi, Jane Muthoni Mara, Paulo Nzili, and Ndiku Mutwiwa Mutua

ii - For Further Reading: C. L. R. James, A History of Pan-African Revolt (1995); Caroline Elkins, Britain's Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya (2005); Cora Presley, Kikuyu Women, the Mau Mau Rebellion, and Social Change in Kenya (1992); Gerald Horne, Mau Mau in Harlem? The U.S. and the Liberation of Kenya (2009)


Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer
Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer
by Helen Caldicott
Edition: Hardcover
79 used & new from $0.01

31 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Global Warming Beats Global Poisoning, August 8, 2006
Stephen Lendman writes: No one writes with more passion, commitment and knowledge about the immense dangers of nuclear technology in all its forms than Australian physician and nuclear expert Helen Caldicott. Since writing her first book (must reading for everyone), 'Nuclear Madness,' in 1978, Dr. Caldicott has worked tirelessly to expose the real threat this technology from hell poses to human survival.

In her first book she wrote: "As a physician, I contend that nuclear technology threatens life on our planet with extinction. If present trends continue, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink will soon be contaminated with enough radioactive pollutants to pose a potential health hazard far greater than any plague humanity has ever experienced."

Dr. Caldicott has now written six important books on nuclear technology and its dangers.

Her latestn just publishedn is 'Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer.' In it she's written a carefully documented account of the reasons why. Like her other books, this one, too, is must reading, and those doing it will never forget its vital message. The book is a basic text on all things wrong with commercial nuclear power and why, as Dr. Caldicott explains, this technology must be abandoned before it destroys us as it surely will if its use and proliferation aren't halted everywhere. This book is about commercial nuclear power in contrast to her last one, 'The New Nuclear Danger,' that was a powerful and convincing indictment of the military-industrial complex and its addiction to nuclear weapons of mass destruction and the Pentagon's intent to use them as needed preemptively.

Dr. Caldicott makes her convincing case in 10 chapters, each one covering a separate crucial issue about commercial nuclear power. Eight of them explain in detail its dangers and problems, and the two final ones propose sensible and urgently needed solutions so far largely unaddressed. But she begins in her introduction with a clear statement that our government has now embarked on a disingenuous and sinister campaign to sell the acceptability of the use and expansion of commercial nuclear technology to the US public long turned off on it by the near disaster at the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania in March, 1979 and the catastrophic Chernobyl meltdown and explosion in the Ukraine in April, 1986. She begins her detailed account that, contrary to government and industry propaganda, nuclear power is neither efficient, reliable, cheap, clean or safe. It's a very sophisticated, expensive and dangerous way to boil water, turn it to steam, which then turns a turbine to generate electricity.

Dr. Caldicott explains, contrary to government and industry propaganda, that the generation of nuclear power causes the discharge of significant emissions of greenhouse gases as well as hundreds of thousands of curies of deadly radioactive gases and other radioactive elements into the environment every year. It also requires huge and unjustifiable government subsidies including protection against catastrophic accidents to make it attractive to investors. In addition, and most disturbing, there's the real threat of an attack against any of our 103 nuclear power plants in blowback retaliatory response to hostile US acts against other nations in the past, the two current illegal aggressions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, our one-sided support for Israel's long-running conflict with and current aggression against the defenseless Palestinians and people of Lebanon, and our possible intent to spread the present Middle East conflict to Iran and Syria with the preemptive use of nuclear weapons. US nuclear power plants are notoriously inadequately protected and are thus vulnerable easy targets to strike if a committed antagonist wished to do so. If it happens, the result will be a catastrophic disaster irrevocably affecting the area struck and people now living there.

Adding further to the danger, these plants are atom bomb factories. A 1000 megawatt nuclear reactor produces 500 pounds of plutonium annually, only 10 pounds of which is needed as fuel for a bomb powerful enough to devastate a large city and make it unlivable essentially forever.

Dr. Caldicott explains all this and much more in her book, and her mission in writing it and her others, as well as her role as President of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute is to counteract the false rhetoric of governments worldwide and the nuclear power industry touting the so-called benefits of nuclear technology. In her duel roles, she's become perhaps the world's leading advocate for the abolition of a technology too unsafe to be tolerated any longer. She spends all her time dedicated to writing and speaking out around the world telling the public the truths they never hear in the mainstream about this dangerous and unacceptable form of producing energy to get them to demand it be abandoned.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 25, 2009 8:09 PM PDT


All You Can Eat Greed Lust And The Triumph Of The New Capitalism
All You Can Eat Greed Lust And The Triumph Of The New Capitalism
by Linda McQuaig
Edition: Hardcover
29 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Evaluation of Privatization from the Perspective of Feudal Society, April 26, 2006
This important work guides us into a lost value system which sustained societies for millenia. Modern writers pay homage to capitalist or socialist ideologies but remain ignorant of the economic system that preceded them. This should be used in history courses in place of the self glorifying mythologies that we study.


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