1/. In 1898, Mbuya Nehanda & Sekuru Kaguvi who led a rebellion against British colonizers in what is now Zimbabwe, were hanged

Their heads & those of other rebel leaders were cut off, taken to Britain & displayed as war trophies

124 years on, their heads are in the @NHM_London
2/. “And they call us ‘savages’!”

Mbuya Nehanda & Sekuru Kaguvi were involved in the Ndebele-Shona revolt against the Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company after the company introduced a hut tax

Discussions around repatriation began in 2014
3/. Today we went to the Natural History Museum to see if we could get the director, Doug Gurr & curator @NatHistGirl to agree to send the skulls of Nehanda & Kaguvi back to Zimbabwe were they can be buried with the respect & reverence they deserve.
4/. The @NHM_London keeps 20,000+ human remains

A museum spokesperson told me today

“We have the remains of eleven individuals from Zimbabwe but have found no evidence to suggest that they are the remains of Mbuya Nehanda or others associated with the First Chimurenga uprising”
5/. “In our culture, the spirit will hang in limbo because the body has not been buried properly,” says @VusiNyamazana a Zimbabwean involved with a newly launched campaign @BBOB_Zimbabwe

In London, campaigners unfurled a
#BringBackNehandaAndKaguvi banner today in the @NHM_London
6/. In 2015, Zimbabwe’s president Mugabe said Britain keeping war trophy heads “ranks among highest form of moral decadence”

Mugabe wasn’t in the best position to talk about morality but, in this instance, he is right

So why doesn’t the UK return them?
7/. At the @NHM_London, campaigners who unfurled a
banner were quickly moved on

But the questions won’t go away

Why has it taken so many years to repatriate these 11 skulls?

Please direct questions to @DCMS, @NadineDorries & her adviser, @hudson_roe
8/. Ex-Colonial powers don’t like to dwell on the horrors they committed in the name of Empire: the enslavement, brutalisation & Genocide of entire populations

These horrors must be acknowledged

Proper amends must be made

Failure to repatriate the skulls rubs salt in the wound
9/. “Back then I didn’t realist that you were a human being with rights, values & feelings like me. That’s my bad. But it was along time ago. I’m a different person now”

Refusing to return stolen artifacts is bad enough

Keeping human remains is ghoulish!
10/ Most societies have a concept of “redemption”

It requires 3 simple steps
1. Acknowledgment
2. Contrition
3. Making amends

At #COP26, this man did what our govt will not. Apologise

“I’m so sorry for what my nation did to your nation. What my ancestors did to your ancestors”
11/. It’s not easy to look in the mirror & to acknowledge the true horror of colonisation (slavery, Genocide etc)

In this visual of world population though the ages keep an eye on #Brazil & #Mexico

Q. What happened in 1500AD?
A. White people happened
12/. This is not about judging past behaviour

It’s about acknowledging what happened & recognising that the past is still present

“The conqueror writes history. You don't expect the people who came to invade us to tell the truth about us” (Miriam Makeba)
13/. The past is still present

Invisible structures of coloniality shape our ideas & our realities

They divide the world into "the West & the rest" assigning racial, intellectual & cultural superiority to the West

Right now, Indigenous populations are fighting for survival.👇
14/. It isn’t about applying modern standards to the past but rather acknowledging the moments where the world went wrong

In 1588, a mill here👇went from grinding corn to grinding gunpowder: from feeding people to feeding canons & muskets

So began 500 years of colonial conquest
15/. Prof David Stannard estimates that almost 100m Indigenous people in the Western Hemisphere were killed or died prematurely because of the Europeans & their descendants during the past 500 years

Raphael Lemkin believed colonization was in itself "intrinsically genocidal".
16/. "Today's generations aren't guilty of what happened in the past, but they bear the responsibility of repairing a little of damage that their ancestors inflicted. The first step should be the restitution of objects stolen & put in museums including human remains" María Zúñiga
17/. “If my ancestors played the drums, they’d cut off their hands. If they danced, they’d cut off their feet”

But the brutalisation isn’t just historical

Companies around Ruben Vucuname’s village in the Chiapas are felling trees, poisoning the soil & polluting the rivers.

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More from @StefSimanowitz

2 Jan
Next week, we’ll mark the 6th anniversary of the loss of David Bowie

6 days after his death, an incredible 5hr musical celebration of his life was held in @UnionChapelUK

100+ musicians
18 Bowie songs

We’re making a documentary about how it came together
What made the @bowie_tribute gig so extraordinary the way so many people came together in so short a space of time with zero budget to make this happen

Here’s David McAlmont doing #Bowie's Sweet Thing + Malcolm Doherty & @TheRebelles doing Bewlay Brothers
Tickets for the 900 capacity venue sold out in 45 minutes

The entrance fee was £2 to cover costs

All performers played for free

Here’s @GeorgeVjestica (@nickcave) & Dan Donovan (@BigAudioDyn) playing Kooks & @themagicnumbers playing Quicksand. #Bowie
Read 5 tweets
2 Jan
#BREAKING: Firefighters are battling a large fire that has ripped through the Houses of Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa

"There have been reports of some walls showing cracks, which could indicate a collapse” Jermaine Carelse, of CT fire service
“Looks like they have the Cape Town parliament fire almost under control. Can’t make out the huge flames anymore. It’s mainly smoke. One smaller section seems to still be burning though.” @jasminbauomy

Footage taken earlier by @RoshBardien #CapeTown
This footage via @Lisaleesolomon1 shows the scale of the fire in the Parliament building in Cape Town, with smoke obscuring Lion’s Head in the background

Earlier footage🖕via @SISONKE_MD #CapeTownFire #CapeTown #SouthAfrica
Read 6 tweets
28 Dec 21
1/. #BREAKING: A Russian court has just shut down human rights group Memorial International

"The authorities’ use of the ‘foreign agents’ law to dissolve this organization is a blatant attack on civil society that seeks to blur the national memory of state repression" @amnesty
2/. “Shame! Shame! Shame!”

Crowd gathered outside the Supreme Court building in Moscow after the decision to shut down #Memorial, Russia’s oldest human rights NGO.

At least one protester was taken away by police
(Footage via @hrc_memorial)
3/. Memorial was founded in 1987, with Nobel laureate Andrei Sakharov serving as its chairman

It consists of Memorial International, which deals with Soviet-era crimes, & Memorial Human Rights Centre, which deals with political prisoners in modern-day Russia (Pics David Frenkel) ImageImage
Read 6 tweets
27 Dec 21
"Are you interested in French cinema, at all, Ted?"
For those who don’t get the reference, it is a nod to the Fast Show Ted & Ralph sketches in the 90’s

The sketches usually involved excruciating attempts by a painfully shy & lonely impoverished aristocrat, Ralph, to strike up a conversation with Ted who worked on the estate.
The Ted and Ralph sketches were always poignant, but none more so than the 1997 drinking game sketch, one of the high watermarks of 90’s British sketch show comedy.
Read 5 tweets
26 Dec 21
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”

Veteran anti-apartheid campaigner, Desmond Tutu, has died”

He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 & two years later became Archbishop of Cape Town #DesmondTutu #Tutu
The oppression & brutality of apartheid never dampened #DesmondTutu’s belief in humanity’s potential

“You can overcome some of the most horrendous circumstances & emerge on the other side, not broken, with the eagerness to spread goodness & compassion.”
Waking up to the news of #DesmondTutu’s death, then thinking back on his life, I was reminded of something I wrote last year:

“The heart is built to break
It breaks each day
The heart is built to fill with joy
It fills with joy each day”
Read 6 tweets
25 Dec 21
#BREAKING: Large numbers of turkeys have been gathering in towns & cities across the US & UK to protest against #Christmas

This footage shows 20+ turkeys circling a dead cat outside the home of Derek Clutterbuck, who runs the local butchers in Borcester.
This “gathering of the turkeys” was prophesied in 1704 by Isaac Newton

“And lo, in second decade of the second millennium, when dark-souled men who think themselves Gods have seized the seat of power, the turkeys shall gather & shall circle the dead cat” openculture.com/2015/10/in-170…
Jokes aside, in 1996 Carl Sagan warned:

“We’ve arranged a society based on science & technology, in which nobody understands anything about science & technology. This combustible mixture of ignorance & power, sooner or later, is going to blow up in our faces”

That time is now👇
Read 5 tweets

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