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What would it take for the UK to apologize for centuries of atrocities carried out under the British Empire?

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The British government made a rare move last week: it expressed regret for the killing of Maori in New Zealand in 1769. When Captain James Cook “discovered” New Zealand, it wasn’t long before local Maori people were being attacked and killed by Cook and his band of merry men.

To be fair, the government only took this step because it wanted to push ahead with a government-funded commemoration of Cook’s initial landing, including replicating his sailing ship with an accompanying flotilla. In fact, New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters (who has Maori ancestry, mind you), suggested that Maori had their own share of the blame.

Captain Cook and his gang didn’t just kill innocent natives. As my good friend and former rugby star Eliota Sapolu points out regularly, the captain took native Polynesian women as sexual slaves. Perhaps rejecting the commemoration of people who commit such acts is actually not a bad idea.

The British Empire spanned far and wide, often at the expense of the basic rights of the local populations that fell under British rule. So much so, that you would be hard-pressed to Google search a country and find that the British hadn’t interfered extensively in that neighborhood.

In South Africa, the British rounded up approximately one sixth of the Boer population (allegedly, the majority of whom were women and children) and detained them in camps during the Second Boer War. More than 22,000 of the 27,927 detainees who died were under the age of 16, while an unknown number of black Africans were also killed.

The Second Boer War was also infamous for Britain’s use of its devastating scorched earth policy, which saw it destroy farms and civilian homes to break the Boer’s resolve.

British forces also held thousands of Kenyans in camps during the 1950s Mau Mau Uprising, this particular event rife with allegations of sexual........

© RT.com