Black soldiers forgotten on VE Day
As the UK marked the 75th anniversary of the end of World War ll in Europe on Friday, many Black soldiers who dedicated their lives to fight for Britain are still not giving the recognition that they deserve.
More than 600, 000 African soldiers fought for Britain in WW2. But once the war ended, Britain sent these men back home with an end-of-war bonus, that was roughly a third of the reward given to their white counterparts.
In addition, many Black soldiers faced discrimination and unfair treatment whilst on combat. Including being beaten by their superiors and at times forcibly and secretly conscripted.
Former Burma campaign veteran, Mbiuki told Foreign Policy, "When I got out, they gave me nothing". Mbiuki who is now 100 years old and living in poverty in rural Kenya, said "They should have known how much we had helped them. They would have given something, but that was not the case. We were abandoned just like that".
Mbiuki added, "Our bodies became so swollen from the beatings. They would beat us and slap us until you accepted everything you were being told".
These shocking discovers had led a call on the government to make an apology and to launch an investigation. As well as action to compensate the last surviving veterans affected by this controversial policy.
“There must be an urgent inquiry into Britain having paid its African and Asian soldiers according to the color of their skin,” said Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader.
The British government’s response to the new revelations regarding the prejudice and mistreatment of its African soldiers has so far been muted, with officials refusing to engage with the issue publicly.
“This is a Foreign Office lead, and I hope they will be able to provide more detail on how we move forward,” said the Conservative minister, Tobias Ellwood. Ellwood describe the issue as “very important” and “something that the secretary of state is also aware of.”
VE Day is supposed to be the day to acknowledge all servicemen and servicewomen who sacrificed their lives for us. We can only hope on the next anniversary of VE Day, that we do much more to remember and celebrate our African heroes.
Source: Foreign Policy