Donald Trump’s comments about a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US were made in the context of the Paris attacks and although certain commentators have likened it to the restrictions placed on Jews attempting to enter the US during the 2nd WW, it should be noted that members of the Jewish faith did not kill American citizens on American soil. His comments were also made in the context of a fiercely fought battle for the US Republican Party nomination and it can reasonably be assumed that the comments played, although somewhat irresponsibly, to the far right voting base.
However what is remarkable in its hypocrisy is the fact that the Conservative led British government is considering a ban on the ‘privilege’ of Mr.Trump entering the UK. The British have one of the most brutal records of colonial oppression and racism and the Conservative Party has the ignominious reputation of spearheading the worst of their imperial policies. Under the tutelage of the Tories some of the worst atrocities were committed against the subjects of the British Empire, particularly in India and Africa. The poverty that plagues India today and is the underpinning of many of its social ills, can be traced back to the grand thefts committed by the British in their global dominion. People should not forget this even if the current British Government has conveniently fallen into a state of amnesia.
Banning individuals from the UK has been a time honored tradition of British politicians looking to curry public favor. This same establishment banned and harassed Catholics coming in from Northern Ireland during the ‘troubles’ in the 1960s and 1970s. There were no calls then to ban Edward Heath or Margaret Thatcher from the US and so why does David Cameron now believe it is acceptable to exclude an American who has expressed his opinion on an issue of American national security.
Many of the airports that received flights from Belfast during the sectarian violence had special units dedicated to the arrival of passengers disembarking from these flights. As the travellers entered the airports they would be forced to walk down a narrow corridor that had one-way mirrors on either side, behind which sat officers from the British secret service, MI5, who profiled the passengers. The British mainland had been under attack from the IRA and the government responded by curtailing the rights of Irish Catholics on both sides of the Irish Sea. The story of the Guildford Four involved the imprisonment of four innocent men after a pub bombing at a British army barracks in Guildford, Surrey. It is one example of the human rights violations that characterized British policy even into its immediate post-colonial era.
The history of the British in India has been one of brutal psychological and physical terror and even after Indian Independence the racist attitudes held by the British towards Indians were evident in the attitudes, writings and speeches of Enoch Powell. The calls to deport all Ugandan Indians back to either Africa or India was nothing short of criminal. The bloodshed in Uganda when Idi Amin wrecked violence on the Asian community caused these individuals to flee the country out of fear that they and their families would be slaughtered. Powell’s vile rhetoric fuelled the British National Front whose skinheads terrorized Indian families with widely reported attacks that included petrol bombing their houses and shoving human feces through letterboxes. The trauma to the children of these families cannot be calculated but never has the British government apologized for this shocking part of their history.
A story published in the New York Times on December 31st 2015 and written by Steven Erlanger entitled ’85 Memo Prompts Apology From a Cameron Aide’ highlights the institutional racism of the British government in the 1980s. Oliver Letwin who is currently an aide to Cameron sent a memo to Margaret Thatcher in which he ascribed the social unrest in the British black community to their moral bankruptcy. He compared their plight to that of impoverished white individuals who he claimed did not resort to anti-social conduct despite, in his opinion, having to deal with similar social deprivation. It should not be forgotten that it was the British along with the Dutch and French who conceived of transporting slaves from Africa to their new world plantations and it is the Cameron government that has now refused to compensate Jamaicans their forcible deportation from Africa. The hypocrisy of British culture is also evident in the way that they attempted to re-write history by portraying themselves as slave abolitionists.
An interesting aspect of this entire affair is the fact that no other countries have called for ban a on Mr.Trump and especially none of the Middle Eastern states. Does this not make the Cameron government’s behavior look overtly political? It is no secret that Christopher J Christie met with David Cameron in February 2014 and is now in a competition with Donald Trump to win the Republican Party nomination. Is it possible that Cameron and Christie are aligned against Trump who has also been at loggerheads with a number of British county councils in regards to his golf courses in Scotland and Ireland. One of the disputes recently found its way to the UK Supreme Court, which interestingly ruled against Trump. Significantly the matter had been with the court for more than six months and it was only after Cameron saw political capital in Trump’s comments that the court rendered its decision.
The old adage that people in ‘glass houses should not throw stones’ seems also to have been banned from the UK and so before anymone else jumps on the Trump bandwagon they should look closely at the conduct of the Cameron cabinet and ask what apologies or compensation have been made for their atrocious conduct. Trump has not massacred thousands of unarmed civilians, as did the British in Amritsar in 1919. Neither has he referred to Indian leaders in derogatory terms as did Churchill when he called Mohandas K Gandhi a ‘dirty little fakir’ after Gandhi visited Churchill in London. In fact Mr.Trump, whose ancestry is Scottish, has demonstrated a markedly non-colonialist attitude towards every racial group and his comments about Muslims originate from a genuine desire to protect the national security interests of America.
Trump, in contrast to Christie, has advocated against war and has sensibly engaged with Vladimir Putin in an attempt to increase world stability. He has a profound sense of compassion towards military veterans and although has not served in active duty seems to be cognizant of the human cost of war. Christie in comparison has done nothing to support veterans and has openly declared his intention to start a war. Christie has received large donations from radical Muslim communities in the US and has been accused of selling chemical weapons to Syrian rebels in 2012-2013. No such charges have been brought against Trump.
The relationship between Cameron, whose family owned slaves, and Christie, who was involved in an act of domestic terrorism, should actually be a greater source of concern to the global community, than the well intended, but arguably clumsy statements of an individual who understands the commercial value of world peace.