UK needs 'fuller reckoning' with colonial legacy amid Canada statue toppling

4 July 2021, 14:56

By Seán Hickey

The discovery of thousands of unmarked indigenous children's graves in Canada should push Britain to look deeper at its colonial legacy, Maajid Nawaz insists.

Scenes from Canada shook the world this week after statues of Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and Captain James Cook were toppled by protesters.

Maajid Nawaz clarified for listeners that "indigenous protesters of first nations are the ones toppling these statues" in response to the discovery of over 4,000 unmarked graves belonging to First Nations' children.

Read More: Hundreds of unmarked graves found at school for indigenous children

He urged listeners to consider this a very different scenario to the toppling of statues in the UK last summer.

"What do we value a piece of concrete versus 4,000 children who died in these schools, belonging to these communities?"

He insisted that "the state ultimately took [indigenous children] from their families" and both the Canadian state and the British state should be held responsible.

Read More: Maajid Nawaz: Race report 'missed an opportunity' to tackle colonialism

He was disgusted at the reason behind these children finding themselves in the boarding schools on whose grounds these graves were found. "They were deemed unassimilated" he explained.

"This has got to be one of the worst stories I've read through my time on LBC. I can't remember feeling this badly about something than since the Uyghur genocide."

"Do we need a fuller reckoning with our history of colonialism?" Maajid wondered, before insisting that this is certainly the case.

"This happened under our watch. It began under our watch and it continued under the watch of Canada after they broke away and maintained independence."

"Does the toppling of statues in this case feel different to what we witnessed last summer? I'd say to you yes."