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Britain's Gulag - The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya


I spent part of the first Armed Forces Day on 28 June 2009 (which ironically was also the seventy fifth anniversary of the founding of the Peace Pledge Union) starting to read Caroline Elkin's disturbing account of the Kenya Emergency in the 1950's in which as many as 100,000 Kirkuyu were murdered in one of Britain's racist colonial wars supported by British and Kenyan Military forces.


It is a a terrifying account of the misuse of state power to spin an international web of lies about the so called Mau Mau terrorists, coupled with the willingness of senior members of the Government to repeatedly lie to Parliament about the extent of atrocities committed against the civilian population, It is also compounded by long term detention without trial, show trials with Magistrates and witnesses bribed to falsely convict peaceful opponents of colonial rule. When all of these oppressive measures including a series of concentration camps in which illegal integration methods including physical and sexual abuse as well as murder were used against thousands of men the British authorities moved on to the effective imprisonment of about three quarters of a million of women and children.


I would recommend this book as compulsory reading for anyone who wants a fair and balanced understanding of Britain's African legacy - a legacy we should all be ashamed about, especially as one of the Regiments involved in this murderous war was the Gloucetershire Regiment.

Chas Townley

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