What’s the Difference?
So, the British Government has apologised for torturing Kenyans in the 1950s and is even going to pay compensation to those victims who are still alive. I wonder if this paves the way for an end to the cover-up of the 1948 Batang Kali Massacre in Malaya. I doubt it. The British Government continues to maintain that the 24 ethnic Chinese men killed by the Scots Guards were shot while trying to escape – despite the testimony of both Guardsmen and Malayan witnesses. The Mau Mau in Kenya killed far more fellow blacks than the whites. The slayings were often barbaric. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those now receiving British compensation and an apology are murderers. Torture is seldom, if ever, acceptable. It often backfires on the perpetrators. A British High Court judge rejected British Government claims that the Kenyan Government, as the successor administration to the colonial regime, should compensate the victims, as “dishonourable”. The same argument is advanced by the British Government in the case of the Batang Kali Massacre, which it claims is a matter for the Malayasian Government to deal with. What baffles me is the differences between the way the British Government has dealt with the two countries. Something very wrong happened at Batang Kali. The British Government is getting away with sweeping it under the carpet. Some would argue that this is all ancient history and it is best to let sleeping dogs lie. That’s not true. Until the Government comes clean, Batang Kali will remain a stick with which to beat Britain’s international reputation. To let sleeping dogs lie is to not only condone what happened but to be complicit.