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Program Information
 BCfm documentary specials 
 Jim White talks about his National Service role in Kenya in 1955
 Interview
 Jim White, Martin Summers, Tony Gosling
 Bristol Broadband Co-operative  
 For non-profit use only.
 Attribution Non-commercial (by-nc) 
 Warning: Program may contain strong or potentially offensive language, including possible FCC violations.
Martin Summers has been reading the new book Imperial Reckoning, The Untold Story Of Britain's Gulag In Kenya by Caroline Elkins.
Kenya looking for its independence. Armed struggle in Kenya, British intervention in Kenya.
Incremental steps of imperialism and the downfall of British power in Kenya. Kikuyu & Masai tribes divided by this revolutionary war.
Anyone who has lived in the U.K. since 1960 will recognise the way in which the phrase Mau-Mau can strike fear in the hearts of children. This book aims not to dispel that myth but to uncover some of the reasoms why the whole story of the British suppression of the Mau-Mau uprising was, and could, never be told. The almost unendurable accounts of torture and brainwashing under the colonial power were the reason for the silence. This material provided the basis of a BBC programme in 2002 at the time when Kenya had just gone through elections which seemed to offer the possibility for the truth to be told at last. It would appear, on the evidence of this book, that claims for compensation are not likely to be forthcoming. Elkins does not seem to have any political agenda ; however she is convinced that the silence which followed Independence was more a result of British tactics of divide and rule than an absence of dissent in the indigenous population. She cites Ngugi as one of the few who dared to question the official line of the Moi regime, for which he was imprisoned. I am constantly reminded of his prophetic line in "From the barrel of a Pen" that the British would only quit their colonies when thay had taught the people how to oppress themselves.
Elkins has produced a monster of a book which will haunt the fainthearted. Somehow i fear that the enormous amount of research which went into it's making may slide, like the terrible truth which it unfolds, into the mists of time because it is too blatant to confront. Anyone who has not read the account of restorative justice in South Africa by Desmond Tutu will perhaps not grasp my point. Ultimately this book asks you to judge for yourself - if you dare.

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