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From the Publisher

PublisherFrom the Publisher

In last Friday’s column, I submitted a list of those Belizeans (British Hondurans) who had sacrificed their lives in the British war effort in World War II (1939-45).

What I then did in this Tuesday’s issue was put their sacrificed lives in a fleshed-out context where the war’s principal European combatants (Britain and Germany) were concerned, and then suggest that Belize is owed something because of these human sacrifices.

We are seeking to consider the dangerous nature of our present situation where, even though Belize is a sovereign nation/member of the United Nations, we have been pushed into submitting our national borders to adjudication by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The climate among Belize’s younger generations is not a militant or patriotic one: it appears to me to be almost hedonistic. It is routine for older generations to find reasons to criticize younger ones, so I have always made a conscious effort not to criticize our youth recklessly or carelessly.

One huge problem is that our young people have not been properly educated, especially where history, the history of Belize and the world, is concerned. There is a reason for this. Our schools are controlled by religions which are headquartered in the metropolitan European countries which invaded Africa and America and conquered/enslaved our ancestors five centuries ago and more.

In our specific Belizean situation, the fact of the matter is that we became a British colony in 1862 (Crown Colony in 1871), after our previous generations of color had been enslaved by British pirates and settlers for a couple centuries. Belizeans of color have now become a minority. The majority of our Belizean population is now descended, it appears to me, from Indigenous people who were being victimized and brutalized in the Yucatan by Spanish invaders from Europe. (Those Spanish invaders from Europe actually tried to invade Belize in 1798, but that is another story.)

Now then, let us look at the European situation when the twentieth century, which featured World War I (1914-18) and World War II, began. Following is a quote from page 60 of a work entitled Destined for War, written by Graham Allison in 2012:

Fin de siecle, Britons could be forgiven for fearing things could only go downhill. Over the previous two centuries, an island twenty miles off the European mainland had acquired an empire spanning every continent. By 1900, it encompassed modern-day India, Pakistan, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, along with much of the African continent. It exerted a strong influence, sometimes equivalent to de facto control, over Latin America, the Persian Gulf, and Egypt. By ‘ruling the waves’ with a peerless navy, Britain really did rule an ‘empire on which the sun never set.’”  

Germany did not become a European power until the nineteenth century, when it became unified under Otto von Bismarck and became the strongest land power in Europe. The man who became Germany’s ruler in 1888, Kaiser Wilhelm II, was an admirer of British power, but he was also jealous of that power, and highly ambitious. One reason for his personal mindset was the fact that Britain was the birthplace of his mother, Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter.

“Damaged at birth, his left arm remained shriveled the rest of his life. He resented the insistence of his British mother that her homeland was congenitally superior to Germany.” (Destined for War, pg. 68) 

(Incidentally, while reading Allison’s book, I was surprised by the revelation that Britain and the United States almost went to war over Venezuela between 1895 and 1896.)

So, Germany’s ambitions helped to spark World War I, where the British and the French emerged victorious and humiliated Germany in the terms of the war’s peace treaty.

In their quest for revenge, Germans decided to follow Adolf Hitler into World War II. Germany easily crushed France, and badly battered Britain in 1940. Remember, the United States did not enter World War II on Britain’s side until December of 1941, when Japan, Germany’s ally, attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor (Hawaii).

It is worthy of note that the U.S. had delayed entry into World War II on Britain’s side because there was a powerful pro-German lobby amongst their population. There is a large German population in America, especially in the Midwest.

Britain emerged out of World War II a weakened empire, while the United States quickly became locked in a struggle with Soviet Russia to see who would rule the post-World War II planet. This struggle, which was known as the Cold War, lasted until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the Americans became the world superpower in the 1990s.

The point of all this is that this Belize situation in the ICJ courtroom is so very tricky, because Guatemala has always been a strong ally of the United States, while Britain has basically left Belize to fend for itself since our political independence in 1981. These are matters which intrigue me, but they are very seldom discussed in Belize’s learned circles and are ignored in our schools.

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