This week’s blog article on writing has been moved to next week.
This week’s blog article is about Queen Elizabeth II’s death and the unexpected vitriol that has made its way to social, mainstrea, and alternative media.
According to a peer-reviewed study by researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia, social exclusion is the most common form of bullying and even worse than violence because of the long-term effects on the victim as well as the bystanders. Social exclusion bullying includes excluding people from activities and groups by spreading harmful rumors and insisting these rumors are true. Furthermore, it is made clear that associating with those who are being socially excluded will lead to being socially excluded by extension by way of relational aggression.
If a person chooses to opt for being a bystander to the bullying, they perpetuate the bullying by way of social reinforcement.
When Queen Elizabeth II died at her Balmoral estate in Scotland last Thursday after being the royal monarch for 70 years, there were sincere expressions of grief from people around the world. Unfortunately, there were also some very horrible things said and posted on social media about Queen Elizabeth II.
Many are tying the evils associated with the past of the British empire to Queen Elizabeth II personally even though she had NO political power. She was not the head of an empire. She was a figurehead.
Yes, colonialism and imperialism were not good things but the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II goes beyond the past history she inherited from previous monarchs and governments of the British empire. I’m not suggesting we romanticize the generations of evil visited upon other empires but she was not personally responsible for those evils.
When she ascended to her position as monarch, the sun no longer set on the empire.
That was because in 1926 — the year the Queen was born — the Balfour Declaration stated that countries of the British Commonwealth were not ruled by the United Kingdom. They were no longer considered colonies. Yes, they swore allegiance to the crown, but they were their own countries.
The declaration was formalized officially in Section 4 of the Statute of Westminster in 1931 — when the Queen was just a child — further entrenching the fact that the countries affected by the Balfour Declaration were autonomous.
In 1949 — while the Queen was still a princess — the London Declaration dropped the prefix “British” from the Commonwealth’s name and emphasized the freedom and equality of all its members in a co-operative pursuit of peace, liberty, and progress. Allegiance to the Crown was no longer required.
No country is free of having made mistakes and bad decisions. In fact, mistakes and bad decisions continue to be made by governments around the world to this day.
But while some are vilifying the Queen, consider a few facts:
- Slave trade was abolished by the British empire in 1807 and in Britain’s dominions in 1833. Thirty years after that, the United States began its war to free slaves.
- The idea of self-government for some of Britain’s colonies was suggested in 1839 by (John George Lambton) Lord Durham suggesting that decisions on foreign affairs and defense which would be determined by Britain’s government (not the monarchy). Self-government began shortly thereafter in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Cape Colony.
- In 1907, British colonies had complete control over their country’s internal affairs and were granted the status of dominion.
- When World War I ended in 1917, Britain did not sign the peace treaties on behalf of its dominions and colonies. The dominions themselves signed the peace treaties for themselves, and they joined the League of Nations as independent states.
- When World War II erupted in 1939, each dominion made their own declaration of war just as Britain made their own declaration of war.
But here’s something to consider: Burke’s Peerage Partnership claimed Queen Elizabeth II was the Prophet Muhammad’s 43rd direct descendant through his daughter Fatimah. Should she be held accountable for all that has gone wrong over those generations on that side of her lineage? It’s an interesting question to ponder for those who are so intent on attacking Queen Elizabeth II.
My point in writing this entry is to underscore that much of what people are trying to hold Queen Elizabeth II responsible for happened long before she was born, and the efforts to address those wrongs came about before she was crowned Queen Elizabeth II.
Those who cheer at her death and those who wished so much ill will towards her in her final days are forgetting history — perhaps unintentionally — and forgetting that she was a mother to four children. She was a grandmother to eight children. She was the great-grandmother to twelve children.
Let’s be respectful and remember not to speak ill of the dead. For those who are being mean-spirited and rejoicing in the death of Queen Elizabeth II, I’m not even saying you have to pretend to have liked Queen Elizabeth II.
No one is asking anyone to forget the atrocities that began in the past before Queen Elizabeth II became Queen Elizabeth II.
What is being asked is that people recognize that acknowledging the good in someone’s life does not invalidate that which was not good, and vice versa. Let’s have a balanced, respecful remembrance instead of a polarized retelling of that person’s life.
Let’s not speak ill of the dead.
Let’s knock it off with the bullying.
Let’s work at making this world a better place in which all people can live.
9 September 2022