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British Genocide in Kenya: the Case for Reparations

Mehdi Alavi

On August 20, a group of Kenyans filed a case against Britain at the European Court of Human Rights. They are seeking $200 billion in reparations for the crimes perpetrated in the tea-growing regions in the Kenyan Highlands. Unsurprisingly, Britain has failed to address, leave aside apologize for, these atrocities in Kenya...  For millennia before British colonization, the people we now call Kenyans comprised many tribes. Some communities farmed, others raised livestock, while others practiced a combination of both activities. Some were hunters and those by Lake Victoria fished. Family and clans shared ownership and cooperated in production as well as distribution. Notably, communities generally operated without the modern version of the chief... British rule kicked off with the 1884/85 Berlin Conference, which deprived Kenyans of their natural, territorial, and political rights. In 1894, Britain declared  Kenya a protectorate of the Crown. Its officials created Kenya and drew the nation’s boundaries without ever consulting the Kenyans themselves. These new boundaries divided existing communities and brought disparate ethnic groups into a new country. The British created an atmosphere in which communities had to compete for resources and survival... In 1919. they required all native men to wear identity discs, more than a decade before the Nazis adopted the same policy with the Jews. In the 1920s, natives were forced to live on reservations and subjected to flogging, much as the British had done to the indigenous peoples from North America to Australia.