Britain’s reign of terror in their war on the Mau Mau

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13/10/2015 by socialistfight


In this memorial the fighter looks away lest he is captured and forced under torture to reveal the name of the young woman helper. Britain has now paid £19.9 million to Kenya’s Freedom Fighters and £90K for the memorial above.

Britain’s reign of terror in their war on the Mau Mau

Socialist Fight Flyer for demo at Tory party Conference Manchester on 4 October (2)

No colonial war was more brutal than the British in Kenya from 1952-60; over 100,000 killed. Caroline Elkins in her 2006 Pulitzer Prize winning book Britain’s Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya describes what happened:

“It was a culture of routine beatings, starvation, killings (the hanged represent only a small fraction of those who died in British custody during the ‘Emergency’) and torture of the most grotesque kinds. Alsatian dogs were used to terrify prisoners and then ‘maul’ them… men were forced to sodomise one another. They also had sand, pepper and water stuffed in their anuses. One apparently had his testicles cut off, and was then made to eat them. ‘Things got a little out of hand,’ one (macho European) witness told Elkins, referring to another incident.

“By the time we cut his balls off he had no ears, and his eyeball, the right one, I think, was hanging out of its socket. Too bad, he died before we got much out of him.”

Women were gang-raped, had their nipples squeezed with pliers, and vermin and hot eggs thrust into their vaginas. Children were butchered and their body parts paraded around on spears. Then there were the pettier deprivations: women forbidden to sing hymns in Komiti camp, for example, because they were putting ‘subversive’ words to them. All this while anti-Mau Mau and pro-British propaganda blared out at detainees from loudspeakers.

In his book Histories of the Hanged: Britain’s Dirty War in Kenya and the End of Empire David Anderson quotes an officer—‘Mickeys’ was a slang name for the Mau Mau:

“‘They wouldn’t say a thing, of course, and one of them, a tall coal-black bastard, kept grinning at me, real insolent. I slapped him hard, but he kept right on grinning at me, so I kicked him in the balls as hard as I could. He went down in a heap but when he finally got up on his feet he grinned at me again and I snapped, I really did. I stuck my revolver right in his grinning mouth and I said something, I don’t remember what, and I pulled the trigger. His brains went all over the side of the police station. The other two Mickeys were standing there looking blank. I said to them that if they didn’t tell me where to find the rest of the gang I’d kill them too. They didn’t say a word so I shot them both. One wasn’t dead so I shot him in the ear. When the sub-inspector drove up, I told him that the Mickeys tried to escape. He didn’t believe me but all he said was ‘bury them and see the wall is cleared up.’

“The significant thing here (apart from the refusal of the three prisoners to co-operate) is that the officer had no qualms about describing all this.”

This is the patriotism Labour leaders have always embraced. We demand Corbyn and McDonnell reject this.

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