The Queen Is Pretty Resilient. Pssh!
6 months ago Chad 1
So people in the UK have finally found their moral compass (coincidentally, it points north). Yes, these compassionate, thoughtful people were all heartbroken back in February about the message it sends that The Donald was being given an official state visit to the UK. Can you imagine it? The Queen will have to, through those spotless white gloves, touch his shriveled hand. Oh the horror! What would we do after such an cataclysmic episode?
Never mind all the homeless people and the food banks and the drugs and the crime and the gross, iniquitous inequality. Never mind killer drones and Syrian refugees and third world impoverishment perpetuated in part by their government’s advocacy of an unjust global order. Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK is the real problem of our times.
But on Sky news, I just heard from a member of Her Majesty’s esteemed, ‘doggone honest’ British press (doing the paper review– yes, that incestuous moment has arrived) that everything will be fine. Why, you wonder, will that be so? Why will everything be ok? Well didn’t you know that ‘the queen is ‘pretty resilient?’ (And the orchestra in my mind immediately played a song called bullshit)!
What Is Resilience?
Resilience, according to my dictionary is ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; depressions, adversity, or the like. The power or ability to return to original form after being bent, compressed, or stretched.’
Like a hopping bunny I jumped onto Google, so curious was I to find an adversity the queen had recovered from. I really needed to know when the queen was ‘bent and stretched out of shape’ and showed resilience.
Down With The Monarchy!
Before I reveal what I found, lets preface by declaring my chips on the table. The monarchy is nauseating to me. All the usual arguments apply. It is patently undemocratic and sends the wrong message about unearned wealth and privilege. It perpetuates and promotes social division. It discriminates against other faiths by making Anglicanism the state’s official religion. It is without purpose, despite the pomp, pageantry and outdated tradition.
Such outdated practices perpetuate the delusion of their inherent superiority, which are both insulting in principle and manifestly untrue in reality. It is expensive to maintain (and all that propaganda about the monarch funding itself. Come on now!)
But, But, All Those trips Abroad
But let’s get back to this resiliency of the queen stuff. What has she done since 1952 to demonstrate steel and toughness? Well, if travelling on private planes and meeting plenty rich, important people toughen you up, then I’d be wrong and we’d have one tough queen on our hands. Alas! She has made many historic visits and meetings, and has had visits from five popes. Five! That’s amazing, I’m told.
A War Veteran? Perhaps Not
Let’s keep digging. During World War II the Queen’s mother refused to flee to Canada as suggested by Lord Hailsham. They would stay in solidarity with ordinary Britons…. (Ahem) in Balmoral Castle (set on 50,000 acres with ponies, deer and grouse moors)… (Ahem) in Scotland before moving to Sandringham House (a country house on 20,000 acres of landscaped gardens, park and woodlands) and Windsor Castle. Not so ordinary then.
During the war, she trained as a driver and mechanic and was promoted to honorary junior commander five months later. I’m guessing she was not shot at, didn’t shoot at anyone nor had to flee any of the Luftwaffe’s Trialen 105 bombs. No Post-traumatic Stress then. I wouldn’t think so.
Arranged Marriage Must Have Been Mentally Tough, Right?
She married Phillip against her mama’s wishes in 1947 so that must have been tough. Could that have been the moment of resilience? To be fair, she did receive 2,500 gifts from around the world. That ought to have helped.
Bravery, Freedom Fighter, Decolonizer
Somehow the literature seems to suggest that her ‘presence’ for decolonization and the growth of the commonwealth reflects well on her as if she summoned it, fought for it, welcomed it. No, she was not there with Nkrumah and Manley and Lumumba, when her countrymen were forced to finally release their firm grip from around the necks of other peoples’ nations. In no way, was this queen ahead of the curve, pleading for natural justice and the rights of the colonized black and brown woman and man.
Maybe the resilience was evident in her visit to Ghana in 1961, when she apparently dismissed fears for her safety, even though Nkrumah, who had replaced her as head of state, was the target for assassins. Harold Macmillan wrote, ‘the Queen has been absolutely determined all through … She is impatient of the attitude
towards her to treat her as … a film star…’
Before her tour through parts of Quebec in 1964, the press reported that extremists had planned to assassinate her. No attempt was made, but a riot did break out when she visited Montreal.’ The Queen’s “calmness and courage in the face of the violence” was apparently noted.
I’ll let the reader make his or her own mind up here. I thought that the ‘face of violence’ is the type of phrase one would use to describe present day Aleppo or the Gaza Strip. Not a privileged white queen touring Canada with the best security money can buy. But that’s just me and I’m pedantic. A few years ago Prince Harry was also in the army in Afghanistan and apparently his life was also in danger. Just one of the boys, right? Right!
The Jamaican Power Cut
In the years to come there were silver jubilees and golden jubilees and diamond jubilees and even sapphire ones. Parties and events were held. She even had an interesting visit to Jamaica when the guesthouse she was staying at had a power cut. She called it memorable. Jamaicans such as myself would call it routine.
In 1981, the queen was on another of her fandy dandy ceremonies in a former colony, the ravaged and torn Burma, when six shots were fired at her from close range as she rode her horse. Police later discovered that the shots were blanks. Again, royal propagandists claim that the Queen’s composure and skill in controlling her mount were widely praised. Again, make of that what you will.
Show Me The Money
I don’t question the queen’s morality or the claim that really, when you meet her, she is a nice person. I do not know the woman. Nor am I inclined to judge. No one ever handed me a gavel. But the claim that she is a resilient person is really without foundation, particularly by the people in the media claiming it. They endorse her with singing platitudes because her face assumes a firm, fastidiousness.
Resilient, in my mind, are the immigrants fleeing poverty and hopelessness in Baghdad and Sudan and Islamabad to find a better way as invisible aliens in her majesty’s Britain.
Resilience is the single mother from Jamaica who turns up in England by outwitting the immigration officials, and then sells drugs to pay for her sons’ tuition when washing dishes in kitchens won’t cut it.
Resilience is meeting all sorts of institutional racism head-on, yet find a way to not be bitter or make your children filled with hatred.
Resilience is Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica, Trinidad, India and all the countries raped and enslaved by her majesty’s subjects for centuries yet somehow strive to survive in a global political order that still seeks to suck them dry. Yet survive they do.
In The UK, they sing God Save the Queen. I hope God, if he is there, saves the poor and dispossessed. Judgment, it has been argued, requires evidence. I suggest we acquire some before we leap to crown the undeserved.