I return to my column in a flurry of emotion. While I am excited to pick up my pen again, a part of me fears that whatever instinct I had in the first edition of my columns is long gone, reduced to dust under the bureaucratic weight of the Opinion Editorship. Another part doesn’t believe that I have anything else to say that’s interesting. Might this be another year of recycled, gently anti-western sentiment? 

The answer is yes. Two days ago, Buckingham palace released the image of the Queen’s final resting place at Windsor castle. As has been the case these past few weeks, the internet exploded with sentiment, both good and bad, in memoriam of the United Kingdom’s long standing monarch. My own feelings about the Crown are not a secret: to me and many members of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth’s death signifies the end of decades of tyranny, despotism and, post-independence, paternalistic hand shaking. Yet as I stood in Schwarzman rapidly refreshing Twitter, fact checking and sending mass messages to my family group chats, I was overcome with an impending sense of doom.  

Is it really the end? I wrote in a previous column that “the royal family manages the space of both the cruel former master and the beloved fairy tale with a proximity that only those who carefully create and manage a century-long mythology can employ.” This seems to be even  truer in death than it was in life. The Queen’s death opens up a Pandora’s box of everything we forget to talk about — the fact that she presided over the colonization of a large majority of the world, and, even after reluctantly letting go of England’s imperial aspirations, continued to project ideas of empire and domination through her tours. Yet still, many continue to adore her,  and refuse to separate her jolly outward persona from the institution that she represented. Even the argument that we should grieve for someone that loomed so largely over our modern life points to the Crown’s ability to maintain dominance over millions of people for so long, with little more than tabloid discourse and cultural imperialism to show for. Somewhere in our mixed emotion, the subjugated hoped that something as large as the Queen’s death might warrant some sort of reckoning for these types of thought processes. The most optimistic of hearts wished for a grand apology, while the realists hoped for a footnote. In the end, we get nothing. 

The Queen dies and remains exactly that: dead. The Crown refuses to recognise the atrocities committed during her reign, and instead stoically canonises her.  The world becomes torn up between royalists that adore her memory and those that continue to suffer the effects of colonialism. None of this works to move the needle an inch in any direction. Eventually, the world moves on. If the Queen can die and we remain oppressed, when is the point at which we receive justice? If the Queen can die and we remain oppressed, does there truly exist a movement to free the colonised world? Some may argue that it is too soon to say, but I think that we are moving too slowly. The emptiness that I felt observing the events of the past fortnight is not a positive omen.Here is perhaps, our biggest chance to date to bring injustice into the light. No more pretence, no more hesitation. The mixed feeling for the crown that was so carefully instilled within me now rests in the grave at Windsor Castle. I can only hope that we, like Queen Elizabeth, will get what we deserve. 

AWUOR ONGURU is a junior in Berkeley college, majoring in English and French. Her column, “Wild West,” runs on alternative Tuesdays. Contact her at awuor.onguru@yale.edu


Awuor Onguru edits the Opinion Desk. She is a Sophomore in Berkeley College, majoring in English and History.