FAMINE STRUCK INDIA FORCED TO PAY FOR GEORGE V’S 6,170 DIAMOND CROWN
[ 12 December 1911 ]
At noon on 12 December 1911, King George V, wearing a robe of imperial purple, was crowned Emperor of India at a ceremony of ‘unparalleled splendour’ in Delhi, at which he received the ‘homage and allegiance’ of the administrators, nobles and princes of the country.1 The King-Emperor complained in his diary of the weight of the crown. It was laden with rubies, sapphires, emeralds and 6,170 exquisitely cut diamonds and had been specially commissioned for his Majesty to wear for just that one day of his visit.
It had been paid for, to cite one British newspaper, by the ‘teeming millions of his subjects in the great Asian peninsula’, an involuntary gift at a time when reports were already appearing ‘that the monsoon has been a failure and that famine prevails over large areas of the country.’2 It cost £60,000 which would be equivalent to about £39 million as of 2020, and even today Britain sees no reason why it shouldn’t still profit from its display at the Tower of London.3
BRITISH TROOPS MURDER 24 UNARMED CIVILIANS IN MALAYA
[ 12 December 1948 ]
On 12 December 1948, British troops executed 24 unarmed labourers, after separating them from the women and children at a Malayan rubber plantation at Sungai Rimoh, near the small town of Batang Kali.
UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY PASSES RESOLUTION CONDEMNING BRITAIN’S USE OF MILITARY FORCE AND TORTURE IN ADEN.
[ 12 December 1966 ]
Today in 1966, after listening to damning reports from the International Committee of the Red Cross and Amnesty International, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution (2183) expressing its opposition to Britain’s ‘maltreatment of political detainees and prisoners’ in Aden and against its ‘continuation of military operations against the people of the Territory.’4
BAHRAIN’S DICTATOR WELCOMED AT DOWNING STREET
[ 12 December 2011 ]
At 12.45 pm on 12 December 2011, the tyrant of Bahrain, King Hamid bin Issa al-Khalifa, was welcomed at 10 Downing Street. Prime Minister David Cameron discussed with the Bahraini dictator how British business could best profit from both trade with his country and direct investment. Meanwhile democracy activists in Bahrain were being subjected to disappearances, torture and show trials in what Amnesty International called a ‘relentless crackdown on human rights.’5 However Foreign Secretary William Hague strongly defended the meeting on Twitter. ‘Some people saying PM shouldn’t meet King of Bahrain. I disagree. Engagement is the best way to encourage reform and Bahrain is an important partner.’6 This ‘encouragement’ was so successful that by 2018 Bahrain was detaining more opposition activists in relation to its population size than any other country in the Middle East.7
- ‘India’s Homage to King Emperor,’ The Aberdeen Press and Journal, 13 December 1911, p. 5, ‘Coronation Durbar,’ Leicester Daily Mercury, 13 December 1911, p. 2 and The Scotsman, 13 December 1911, p. 8.
- ‘The Fruits of the Durbar,’ The Birmingham Daily Mail, 13 December 1911, p. 2 and ‘Famine in India,’ The Coventry Evening Telegraph, 22 August 1911, p. 3.
- Nikita Garia, ‘The King’s Super-Bling Crown,’ The Wall Street Journal, 10 November 2011 accessed online at https://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2011/11/10/the-kings-super-bling-indian-crown/
- Aaron Edwards, Mad Mitch’s Tribal Law: Aden and the end of Empire, Penguin, London, 2015, p 131.
- ‘Bahrain: Emergency Law’s renewal signals more repression,’ Amnesty International UK, 4 May 2011, accessed online at url https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/bahrain-emergency-laws-renewal-signals-more-repression
- Cited in ‘Britain urges reform in talks with Bahrain king,’ Gulf News, accessed online at url https://gulfnews.com/world/gulf/bahrain/britain-urges-reform-in-talks-with-bahrain-king-1.949725
- ‘Bahrain: UN alerted to deterioration in human rights situation on anniversary of uprising,’ Islamic Human Rights Commission, 14 February 2018, accessed online at url https://www.ihrc.org.uk/activities/press-releases/17059-press-release-bahrain-un-alerted-to-human-rights-deterioration-on-anniversary-of-uprising/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA4NTxBRDxARIsAHyp6gAqJDW_aNf8Qf2LOt8SappVS-ocK8L0-RhQ3MGuSa0l279uMAql-uYaAsGuEALw_wcB
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