Remove the memorial and condemn the ceremonies to apartheid state Rhodesia in Southrepps

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Rhodesia was a white supremacist regime ruled exclusively by a white minority who comprised only 5% of the country’s total population. The social, political, and economic oppression of the indigenous African population at the hands of this white settler regime reduced them to second class citizens in their own land, a situation directly comparable to the better-known case of the apartheid regime in South Africa. The violent and morally corrupt history of Rhodesia makes the presence of a memorial to the regime and the flying of its flag in rural Norfolk troubling and reprehensible; it is an affront to commitments both locally and nationwide to racial equality, unity, and justice.

As well as the memorial, there is an annual flag raising ceremony which takes place on the each September. This ceremony is organised by the Rhodesian Christian Group and the Constitutional Monarchy Association to commemorate the same flag-raising ceremony which took place in Salisbury, Rhodesia every year from 1890-1980 to celebrate the arrival of the first colonisers. Speakers at the ceremony have included members of the Springbok Club such as A.D. Harvey who declared the group to be 'unapologetically neo-Imperialist in ideology' -  this club openly states that one of its aims is to lobby the West to 'restore civilised rule in Africa'. What is particularly disturbing is that the annual ceremony is also attended by members of the public including local members of the clergy as well as brass bands.

It is clear that the existence of this memorial demonstrates a worrying lack of education about the British Empire in both Norfolk and across the country which must be amended. Memorials such as the one in Southrepps propagate a rose-tinted version of Britain’s imperial history which denies the suffering, violence, and humiliation inflicted by colonial rule upon millions of indigenous peoples worldwide and the troubling legacy this continues to have.

Flags are powerful symbols and when one so closely associated with a profoundly racist former state is allowed to be flown it alienates and targets People of Colour in Norfolk and condones racist thought and action on an individual and systemic level in times both past and present. Concerningly, the Rhodesian flag has been used by white-supremacist terrorists worldwide, notably by the Charleston shooter Dylann Roof in 2015. Roof displayed the flag on his jacket during his attack on the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in which he brutally murdered nine innocent African American church goers in an effort to incite a race war. Such an abhorrent and provocative symbol cannot be allowed to have a public presence.

The memorial to Rhodesia and the annual flag raising ceremony represent an open glorification of colonialism and white supremacy that is shameful and unacceptable in 21st century Britain. North Norfolk must not be a safe space for racism, this memorial must be removed.

Details about the flag-raising ceremony and transcripts of extremist speeches given at these events:

http://www.springbk.org.uk/speech16.htm 

http://www.springbk.org.uk/speech12.htm

http://www.springbk.org.uk/speech13.htm 

http://www.springbk.org.uk/speech14.htm

More information: 

https://thenorwichradical.com/2019/01/21/rhodesia-in-norfolk-and-the-dangers-of-britains-imperial-amnesia/ 

https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/politics/ukip-mep-defends-speech-at-pro-apartheid-springbok-club-meeting-1-6001844 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/10/magazine/rhodesia-zimbabwe-white-supremacists.html

https://theconversation.com/trumps-america-first-pledge-has-echoes-of-rhodesias-racist-white-nationalists-71815