My mother, now a fresh Yorker, was raised speaking the Queens English. Her father was an Anglophile who excelled as an attorney in a British legal system. He dressed up in tweed jackets, drank tea with milk and smoked a pipe. He also supported the resistance movement, leaving everything behind in Jallander (now India) to migrate to Lyallpur (now Pakistan) when dissolution of the British Raj created new political boundaries and national identities.
With the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the final monarch overseeing the British colonial project, my 73-year-old mother says she only feels sadness at the duration of time, the change of tradition and the increased loss of what she knew as civility and grace.
This duality of craving independence while honoring the monarchy runs deep in the former colonies.
Its a grief felt within America, with President Joe Biden saying the queen defined an erain an environment of constant change, she was a steadying presence. Kind words from the fellow head of state. But there exists a cognitive dissonance in hearing the queen venerated by everyday Americans who call themselves patriots and normally shout about freedom. This duality of craving independence while honoring the monarchy runs deep in the former colonies.
In her 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth saw the final brutal gasps of colonial oppression, with British soldiers on three continents attempting to maintain an imperial government formed in her name. The queen was the final vestige of a British Empire that stole from my ancestors and broke the sub-continent into pieces. Following her death, fellow millennials of South Asian descent make reference to the crown jewels on Twitter, asking, Can we get the Koh-i-Noor back now?
The British left their last colonial outpost in Yemen in 1965. As recently as 2020, countries continued to get independence, with Barbados formally rejecting the queen as head of state and removing her statue from public squares. For millions upon an incredible number of Black and brown people, the queen was the symbol of historic oppression. Yet 54 former colonies choose to remain section of the Commonwealth, sharing similar systems of education (O level comes before A), sports (cricket is really a bug), and lingo (try complimenting someones pants).
In comparison, my native country revolted contrary to the monarchy a lot more than 200 years back. We have now venerate those rebels as founding fathers. Rejecting a sovereign can be an essential section of American political identity. When a letter encouraged George Washington to become king, the war hero admonished the writer to banish these thoughts from your own mind, calling the monarchy the best mischief that may befall my country. The founders shortcomings could be glossed over in lesson plans and musicals, with reduced reckoning of these hypocrisy on slavery, however the legend of America always keeps true to the thought of rejecting hereditary rule. Yet in the generations to check out, the colonizer and onetime colony join together to create the backbone of a liberal world order, their special relationship shaping the planet in countless ways through the entire 20th century.
The constant of an unchanging, steady monarch soothes those that fear and resist the changes of the 21st century. Individuals of the best Generation, memorialized as stoic heroes who stepped around save the planet from evil in World War II, have offered. Until Thursday, Queen Elizabeth was the final living head of state to personally serve in World War II. Now countries are led by way of a younger, more diverse cohort which has no living link with that specific sense of historic greatness.
In the refrains of Make America Great Again, we hear the siren call of monarchy
We hear this sense of loss reflected in American political rhetoric today, the yearning for an idealized time when people had grit, understood sacrifice and knew their invest a segregated society. In the refrains of Make America Great Again, we hear the siren call of monarchy: a perfect of white Christian leadership, of benevolent leaders bestowing favors upon the masses, of never letting sunlight set on national influence. In increasingly louder tones, we hear about great replacement theory, a call back again to the purity of bloodlines and the thought of nobility of birth, not of action. A looming majority-minority population scares people used to holding power, plus they express it within their disdain for the household Prince Harry has generated for himself. There is absolutely no denying this reality: the Queen of Englands eponymous grandchild, Lilibet, carries drops of Blackness in her veins.
What my mother sees as an instant of loss, I see as an instant to become. The continuity of history, of language, of identity will not live within one staid symbol or tradition but within individuals who keep on the task knitting together a nation. The passage of a leader isn’t an ending; it’s the passing on of ideas and capacity to younger generations, seeing the country evolve and grow.
My mother is proficient at separating institutions and people, so she’s kinder words to state about events just like the death of a queen. She remembers the coronation of Queen Elizabeth as witnessing as soon as a woman honored her duty by upgrading and claiming her invest the planet. I only know the coronation from us bingeing on the show “The Crown” together when my first child was created.
We enjoyed the grandeur, the reflection of history, the household tensions in the story. But we knew what we were watching was a superbly crafted fiction. What we were truly enjoying was the truth of our time together, the opportunity to stay connected over the generations by nurturing a new baby who will mature in a multiethnic, English-speaking world linked with the traditions of his ancestors.
Nayyera Haq is really a broadcast journalist concentrating on international security and diplomacy who previously served as a senior director in the White House, senior advisor at hawaii Department, and spokesperson at the U.S. Treasury, where she advised our nations top leaders.She hosts conversations on SiriusXM talk radio and previously hosted the nightly newscast, THE PLANET Tonight and was chief foreign affairs correspondent for the Black News Channel.