Tag: Myanmar

Boris, Racism, Imperialism, and “The Road to Mandalay”

Boris, Racism, Imperialism, and “The Road to Mandalay”

Prime Min­is­ters are always pop­u­lar tar­gets. Boris John­son, Britain’s new PM, wears the bulls­eye over there now. For every­thing from domes­tic squab­bling to “insen­si­tiv­i­ty” in recit­ing “The Road to Man­dalay” on a vis­it to Myan­mar (for­mer­ly known as Bur­ma). In the immor­tal words of Richard Nixon, let us say this about that.

* * * * * “I appoint­ed [Lord Roberts] Com­man­der-in-Chief in India when I was Sec­re­tary of State. That was the year I annexed Bur­ma. The place was in utter anar­chy. They were just butcher­ing one anoth­er. We had to step in, and very soon there was an ordered, civ­i­lized Gov­ern­ment under the vig­i­lant con­trol of the House of Com­mons.” There was a sort of glare in his eyes as he said “House of Com­mons.”  —Lord Ran­dolph Churchill to Win­ston Churchill in The Dream, 1947 Mandalay as Dog Whistle Gen­er­al­ly speak­ing nowa­days, we deem paeans to the British Empire impe­ri­al­ist, racist twad­dle.…

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