Britain Apologizes for Racism in World War I Memorials

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Britain apologizes for racism in WWI memorials

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace apologized on behalf of the government after an investigation found that many African, Indian and Arab soldiers who died in World War I were not given adequate memorials.

When the Imperial War Graves Commission was founded, its basic principle was equal treatment in death, regardless of rank and social or military life of an individual, regardless of religion, they would be equally appreciated. Unfortunately, the work of this report shows that they have failed to adhere to this principle. The IWGC relied on others to find the bodies of the dead, and where it couldn’t find them, it worked with state offices to compile lists of those who did not return and were not reported. There is no doubt that prejudice played a role in some of the Commissioners’ decisions. In some cases, the IWGC assumed that communities of forgotten workers would not recognize or value individual forms of remembrance. In other cases they were simply not given names or burial sites. Speaker, on behalf of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Government, I would like to apologize, both today and today, for failure to live up to its founding principles all those years ago, and I deeply regret that it has taken so long to correct the situation . First, the Commission will expand its search of historical records for inequalities in memory and action, geographically and chronologically, and respond to what is found. Second, the Commission will renew its commitment to equality in commemoration by building physical or digital memorial structures. And finally, Mr Spokesman, the Commission will use its own online presence and wider educational activities to reach out to all of the World War II affected communities of the former British Empire and to ensure that their hidden history comes to life.

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