From A World to Win News Service:

Barack Obama and Winston Churchill

May 2, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | Editors’ Note: Recently, there was a brouhaha in the mainstream media over the revelation that at the start of his presidency, Barack Obama had returned a bust of Winston Churchill, the British prime minister during World War 2 and in the 1950s, that had been in the White House during the George W. Bush years. Some claimed that Obama was snubbing Churchill. The following is an excerpt from an article by A World to Win News Service, dated April 25, 2016.

Obama’s press secretary responded that it is customary to return items given to former presidents, and that another bust of Churchill enjoys a prominent place in the White House. Obama said he keeps this Churchill bust where he can see it every day. “It’s there voluntarily... I love Winston Churchill. I love the guy.”

Some of the 150,000 Kikuyu people who were forced into detention camps in the Mau Mau rebellion, 1952.
Some of the 150,000 Kikuyu people who were forced into detention camps in the Mau Mau rebellion, 1952. (AP photo)

What is there to love about Winston Churchill? His hands were shamelessly drenched in the blood of literally millions of people in Africa and Asia, and he defended these deaths by arguing that the world’s dark-skinned natives benefited from the rule of the superior white man. Yet people are so brainwashed that UK polls hail Winston Churchill as a great statesman, perhaps the greatest ever.

As a young man he set off for Africa to take part in “a lot of jolly little wars against barbarous peoples.” When he found the local population fought back against British troops and settlers occupying their land, he branded their resistance as “a strong aboriginal propensity to kill” and demanded they be crushed. As Colonial Secretary in the 1920s, he unleashed Black and Tan thugs (the Special Forces of the day) on Irish rising up against British rule. When Kurds rebelled against British domination in the 1940s, he declared himself “strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes.”

Churchill believed the fertile highlands of Kenya should belong to white settlers and indigenous populations should be cleared out. When the Kikuyu people fought against this in what became known as the Mau Mau rebellion, some 150,000 were forced into detention camps. In her book Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag, based on five years of investigation, Pulitzer prize-winning historian Professor Caroline Elkins describes the electric shocks, whipping, horrendous mutilation and murder, including burning people alive, used against Africans suspected of supporting the uprising.

In sheer numbers, Churchill’s imperial policies were most brutally demonstrated in colonial India. In the 1943 famine, at least three million people starved to death in Bengal. In full awareness, Churchill refused to send food supplies to the region, saying it was the fault of Indians themselves for “breeding like rabbits.”

Madhusree Mukerjee’s book Churchill’s Secret War vividly describes the famine’s effect, drawing on interviews with survivors. “Many suicides, mercy killings and cases of child abandonment took place among families who could no longer bear to see the wild-eyed, starving faces of their children. Mass prostitution by village mothers, wives or daughters with anyone who had grain often saved whole families. Brothels for [British and Australian] soldiers were serviced by the starving young girls from the countryside. Many were lured by promises of a real job and then forced into servitude, in much the same way as today women are forced into prostitution around the world.” (See “Book Review: Churchill’s Secret War in India.”)

After WWII, the British empire gave way to U.S. domination, and British imperialism flourished as junior partner in this new “special relationship” with the U.S. The days when Western powers enjoyed direct and open government over colonies may be mainly over, but imperialism as an economic and political system in which a handful of countries dominate and bleed the world is still in force. For instance: the troop occupations and wars spawned by the need to protect U.S., UK and other Western interests in the Middle East, and the sweatshops in Bangladesh and China without which there would be no Western malls, are no less devastating than the horrors faced by directly colonised peoples who once made up most of the world’s population.

Obama’s own Kikuyu grandfather was imprisoned under Churchill’s reign. But Churchill is Obama’s role model, just as he is for most leaders and would-be leaders of imperialist powers. When Obama says “I love the guy,” he is speaking as the commander in chief and chief executive officer of the American empire, and like Churchill, he is prepared to do whatever he can to defend it.



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