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On Queen Elizabeth’s Passing

STATEMENT | 16/09/2022

A week has passed since Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom passed away. She ruled for 70 years as the ceremonial head of state of the United Kingdom and its many overseas territories and colonies.

And whilst OSYS under no circumstance lament her passing, we do find great excitement in the very obvious fact that her death has lit the flame of a renewed debate surrounding British colonialism and the role she played as the figurehead of such a relentlessly brutal and violent regime. We also note an increased interest in Yemen, a country that has suffered and continues to suffer under the yoke and drawn sword of British colonial and post-colonial violence.

October 14th 1963 is a date celebrated all across Yemen. It marks the day the struggle to expel British colonial rule from South Yemen was officially proclaimed. November 30th 1967 marks the country’s official national day, a commemoration of the Yemeni people’s victory over colonial rule coinciding with the retreat of the very last British soldier from Yemeni territory. What the Yemeni people had abolished was a colony dominated by Britons in the public view as well as all administrative positions, with the native Yemeni population forced out of sight in an apartheid-Esque systematic exclusion. Queen Elizabeth, to the Yemeni people, represented this violent and oppressive apartheid rule. The Yemeni people were excluded in the name of the Queen, arrested in the name of the Queen and shot in the name of the Queen.

Even today the British Government continues to oppress the Yemeni people by supporting an ongoing war of aggression which entered its eighth consecutive year on the 26th of March 2022. Since the earliest onset of the war in 2015, the United Kingdom has not only supplied weapons to the Saudi-led Coalition, it has refuelled and maintained them fully aware that they are used to murder innocent civilians with impunity. The United Kingdom also maintains a small contingent of covert personnel operating illegally on Yemeni territory, an act tantamount to a declaration of war by the UK against Yemen. Had there been no guarantee of supplies and upkeep by the United Kingdom and the United States, the war would not have been fiscally feasible for the Saudi regime. Let alone possible.

British colonial violence continues to kill innocent Yemeni people to this very day. Remembering October 14th and November 30th is as important today as ever for the people struggling to preserve their only Yemeni homeland. Decolonization for the Yemeni people remains an objective yet to be accomplished, although its shining light can be seen across the horizon. We will remember Queen Elizabeth for what she was, right until her passing: a figurehead of a colonial and violent regime with millions of lives on her conscience.

Glory to October 14th and November 30th!
Long live the Yemeni people’s eternal struggle
against colonial terror and imperialist exploitation!