Has anyone been watching this series on BBC 1? The series, presented by Jeremy Paxman, just came to a close this week. I must admit, I’m a bit of a Paxman fan. Just ask the fam - I won’t miss Hard Talk at 1am for anything lol. I’ve got a lot of respect for his journalism and his manner of grilling guests on his shows. He has a way of prodding them from all angles until they’re cornered and are forced to admit to their misgivings.
I really rate Paxman for reporting on this issue. The British Empire isn’t easy to talk about. Although I’ve got some pretty strong views about it, I feel like opinions on this subject aren’t always very well received. As a Zimbabwean man, the story of empire is one that’s close to my heart. I attended David Livingstone Primary School, named after one of the first Westerners to make the journey to Africa. Personally, I don’t think British colonialism is addressed enough but I always get the impression that people are tired of hearing about this part of our history. If you check this article from The Daily Mail, you’ll know what I mean: link.
As for the positive aspects of the empire, well those are obvious aren’t they? Power, wealth, resources. But at what cost? I am in no way saying that Britain should apologise for what happened – after all, the slave traders are all dead now right? I guess what I’m trying to say is that, for me, imperialism is less about assigning blame and more about learning my history. I’m not fussed about casting Britain as ‘the bad guy’. It’s now one of the most democratic and tolerated countries in the world…doesn’t mean I don’t wanna know the dirty laundry though right? Every country has history it’s not proud of. Why should we overlook ours?
Check out Empire on BBC iPlayer. Don’t forget to let me know what you think. What are your thoughts on Empire? – the program and the history.
PS: Jeremy sure got a nice holiday out of it...shame he couldn't stop by in Zimbabwe...from what I hear, Bob doesn't think much of the BBC ;)