Indigenous leaders from 12 Commonwealth countries, including Australia, have called on King Charles to formally apologize for what they describe as “centuries of colonial racism, slavery, genocide and cultural theft” perpetrated under the monarchy.
In a statement issued two days before his coronation, they argued that the king should initiate a process for compensation and the return of human remains and cultural artefacts taken from territories previously ruled by Britain.
Jamaica wants to break away from the British crown
Jamaica, a Commonwealth member country, wants to break away from the British crown and quickly become a republic. The announcement was made on Thursday by the Jamaican Minister for Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Marlene Malahoo Forte, for the British channel Sky News, reports AFP.
“The time has come. Jamaica in the hands of Jamaicans,” said Marlene Malahoo Forte, adding that the Kingston government is considering holding a referendum on the matter starting in 2024.
The announcement comes two days before the coronation of King Charles III – sovereign of Jamaica and 14 other countries around the world – which will take place in a lavish ceremony in London.
“Many Jamaicans had a warm affection for Queen Elizabeth II,” Malahoo Forte said, noting that the queen was already on the throne when Jamaica became an independent state in 1962.
“But they don’t identify with King Charles. He is as foreign as can be to us,” she added.
Mentioning the “complex” relationship between the two countries, the Jamaican minister said becoming a republic means “saying goodbye to a form of government that is linked to a painful past of colonization and the slave trade.”
During a trip by Prince William to the Caribbean in early 2022, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said his country’s transition to a republican regime was “inevitable”.
William and his wife Kate’s tour has been marred by protests, and the couple have been asked to apologize for the UK’s slave-trading past.
The British Royal Family have never formally apologised, with King Charles merely calling slavery a “terrible atrocity”, while William expressed his “deep sadness”.
Coronation of King Charles III, little interest in Australia
The coronation of King Charles III arouses little enthusiasm in Australia, a Commonwealth member country, where public debates are currently focused on the recognition of the rights of indigenous populations, once oppressed by the British crown, writes AFP,
From the 1975 dismissal of the Australian prime minister at the time to the 1999 referendum on the establishment of a republic, the question of the role of the monarchy has always animated public debate in this former British colony.
According to recent polls, the majority of Australians are in favor of establishing a republic.
Currently, however, this theme is not in the foreground of the political scene, interested especially in the project of the Labor government to include in the Constitution, following a referendum held until the end of the year, the right of the aborigines to be consulted on the subjects that interest them.
The first inhabitants of the island-continent, the aborigines were not mentioned in the 1901 Constitution, and their rights were violated for centuries.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese believes it would be a first step to remedy a long-standing injustice.
According to some recent polls, this government project has a high chance of success, despite the opposition of conservative voices who say that it is an attempt to “divide the country”.
Powerful symbol of suffering
For many Aboriginal people, the Crown remains a powerful symbol of the suffering endured during the time of the British settlers, who landed in 1788 in what later became Sydney.
The British Crown oversaw the exploitation of Aboriginal territories, says Hannah McGlade, lawyer and academic, member of an indigenous community.
Members of the royal family “played a key role in the dispossession of the native populations”, without ever having to “give an account”, she added.
“Our people are suffering”, emphasized the lawyer.
When Australia came under British colonial rule, Aboriginal people were driven from their lands, subjected to forced labor and massacred during bloody confrontations with the British colonies.
According to historian Cindy McCreery, from the University of Sydney, the opinion of young Australians about the monarchy is closely related to the problem of the suffering of the first indigenous communities.
“Part of the Australians are, in a pragmatic way, less concerned with the identity of the head of state. For others, the subject is starting to become a bottleneck”, explained the historian.
In addition, some Australians did not appreciate the call to swear allegiance to the sovereign at the time of the coronation.
“Few Australians want to take part,” she said.
All Britons, as well as the other peoples of the countries and territories where Charles III holds the title of head of state, will be invited to take an oath of allegiance to the sovereign during the coronation ceremony.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, who will conduct the May 6 coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey, will urge “all people of good faith in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and those in other kingdoms and territories, to pay homage, from the heart and with a loud voice, to their undisputed king, the defender of all”.
“Australians don’t appreciate this kind of public commitment, reminiscent of the American Pledge of Allegiance,” McCreery said.
Several events will take place in Australia on Saturday before the coronation ceremony. A 21-gun salute will be fired in Canberra, the Sydney Opera House will be illuminated and events will be held to watch the coronation ceremony.
On the occasion of a 2018 visit to Australia, the future king met with leaders of local communities, but some of them are of the opinion that he should initiate additional steps.
Source: Breaking News – Cele mai importante stiri – Ziare.com by ziare.com.
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