BRITAIN’S GULAG- The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya by Caroline Elkins

It is the scale of British brutality in Kenya that is the most startling revelation of this book. We always knew about the Mau Mau atrocities, of course. But for years the equally savage abuses by British officers and their African collaborators in the detention camps and controlled villages of Kenya were mostly hidden from people at home . . . It was a culture of routine beatings, starvation, killings and torture of the most grotesque kinds. Alsatian dogs were used to terrify prisoners and then ‘maul’ them. There are other similarities with Abu Ghraib: various indignities were devised using human faeces; men were forced to sodomise one another . . . ( fonte:London Review Bookshop)


"In March 1953 a British policeman wrote a letter to his buddies back at Streatham police station bragging about the ’Gestapo stuff’ that was going on in his new posting in Nyeri. All this happened a few years after the war, so such analogies came quickly to mind. The critics - many of whom had fought against Nazi Germany - knew what they were talking about too. One relatively liberal police chief in Kenya claimed that conditions in the detention camps were far worse than those he had suffered as a Japanese POW. Comparisons were also made with the Soviet gulags, and, later on, by a former defence lawyer for the Mau Mau, with ’ethnic cleansing’. The accepted view of Britain’s decolonisation hitherto has been that it was done in a more dignified, enlightened and consensual way than by other countries - meaning, of course, France. It will be difficult now to argue this so glibly. Kenya was Britain’s Algeria." (...) (fonte:


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