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tv   The Forgotten Heroes Of Empire  Al Jazeera  February 17, 2019 8:32am-9:01am +03

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home agreement which is aimed at the escalating the fighting was signed in december as vice president mike pence has called on the e.u. to pull out of the two thousand and fifteen iran nuclear deal at a security conference in munich a speech highlighted the divide between the u.s. and its allies over iran which has defended germany's decision to stand by the deal and call for a dialogue president donald trump's pick for the u.s. ambassador to the u.n. has withdrawn her nomination there now it says it's in the best interests of her family the state department spokesperson and or her fox news anchor described the past two months as a grueling job as expected to nominate another candidate for that position soon as the headlines keep her on al-jazeera and much more news to come people in power that is at bakst a team of chinese scientists embark on a daring deep sea mission searching for rare resources and new species one of the
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nice reveals china's underwater hunt. an auxiliary. during world war two the british employed recruited hundreds of thousands of african soldiers to fight in africa asia and the middle east when peace came the survivors faced discrimination and neglect many being abandoned to poverty in the shaming act of killing to disregard now we've been to investigate the plight to britain's african veterans the forgotten heroes of a temple. second
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zambia november twenty eighth and the royal visit is underway red herring right off my piece here today if you want. to try to write there are pieces of campaign to take a. minute right just one. hour now ninety four years or. oh is this for all of this in bio. war. we suffered there or. just enclose was one of several hundred thousand africans who fought for the british during world war two and one of the many who later felt abandoned to
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a life of poverty and neglect. you know what it might have looked ah. prince harry has come to zambia to pay his country's respects to its african veterans justin hopes his meeting with the prince will also raise awareness of his plight so you can try and fool who poured into you who called mark so that you are on this of course is ours is really good. because and ourselves. for him to give that. out there when we come back our love for work or anyone you never forget me because we will give. a lot in africa yet on the kenya front many different types of men are defending the british empire during the second world war more than half a million african troops served with the british army many deployed thousands of
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miles from home across the continent the middle east. it was part of the largest single movement of african men overseas since the slave trade. it would expose them to the horrors of past two in the deserts in the jungle and cost many thousands of lives during the service person would also subject these men to systematic racism and prejudice and on their return they would suffer the indifference of an empire on which the sun was soon to set now with the number of persons african veterans when ling fast there are callers to fully acknowledge those sacrifices and belatedly to make amends for that post-war neglect we should be ashamed but back from the scene for all country all they think of the things we have an opportunity and that twilight to get that right it's not too late.
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to do them when they don't run but. we're at the door the door do no good that kind may yet be bloody but i don't know that god will go down by need your nine and up by new not but they're going to be a new one one zero with the least i know you have a good background you would not go get that kind know whether he's a good guy doing good work working or no good they're going to get well so i know they're all good i would do that. so wargrave cemetery near mount kenya. buki and gash an infant he have come to pay their respects to the fourteen comrades . both men fought for person during world war two facing death and hardship and battlefields far from. what could have. little quantum by walking around in window going on be a little movie there an hour of you're. never going to come again you will talk i knew my way with the dog argument over joke on my brain i will go like
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that. as with many soldiers recruited from british colonies you said you have literally tear of what was a stake in this war. good men are good are right to remain unable to a degree no dry run runnable but the downward a dear. man a temporary. new bride were about to but really did the new the new talk ready every year for. those that. i don't know why i'm here like. all those. when we began in one thousand nine hundred thirty nine european powers had colonized most of africa brisson quickly put as many african colonies on a war footing much as it had done in won't one some years before. yes at
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first officials would doubtful about the row so cool native african so which is might play in the conflicts some were even opposed to giving them mixing them with white soldiers reflecting the white spread prejudice of the time racism was pervasive in the one nine hundred thirty s. and forty's it was perfectly acceptable to be a racist and polite western society. still look upon the words of rudyard kipling when you call people. child timothy passed and this is a historian and one of the roads leading authorities in the east african army he champions the rights of these cologne you're a soldier is and has dedicated his life to chronicling their last history the imperial system was riddled with racism there were people who are unapologetic racists at all levels of civil society at all levels of the military
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institutions might feel obliged to keep them in political and economic and. no one volunteers to live under an empire their authoritarian states that are almost invariably one hundred percent built by conquest the subjects of empire have no rights now british empire was arguably the most. the world's empires they justified these conquests in this paternalist idealistic rhetoric and on the assumption that africans read an inferior stage of development and then needed a helping hand. by nine hundred forty nazi germany and he said talley and allies were making gains in europe and north africa isolated on the man. and increasingly concerned about the japanese threat to its asian dominions person desperately needed more troops so despite earlier reservations it turned to a sex with economists launching an intense recruitment drive.
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i am more money. we're only ninety minute the. goods were on go where i knew that was where my not bad there were. many africans were reluctant to enlist in this white man's war but britain had three key tactics to recruit them the first was presenting army life is economic opportunity another was propaganda. war that hitler wanted to seize that land land that of course had already been colonized by the purchased themselves through that new movie. but there we go where am. i going to go with. got the damn we're going mad we're going to get there. there was a third means of recruitment force officially conscription was ruled out and the list was supposed to be entirely voluntary but desperate to raise numbers colonial
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officials would often pressure local chiefs and now it is to find the men and turn a blind eye to how they went about it. the way men were actually recruited was often that the chiefs would press in some cases they would press gang men who were out of favor men were definitely swept up into the combat units who were absolutely not tears. greyson beef a widow now living in the highlands near nairobi remembers how the chiefs men snatched her husband from their village before he was sent off to north africa and . i'm one year and go. where me that i'm angry oh god go on go we'll all go home oh we're under good that we were no where to momo no our choir to and a man on now where we that met in my local language. and now and then pray in wonderland where we are no quiet to air quiet day we're not going back to our nowhere now good year there not a night of
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a near one not. although one of those who volunteered you said b o two faced miserable conditions in the forests and steep river valleys of heavy rain tropical disease and fick jungle russians were in short supply gloom with. what they do only did that about good to come when companies would do anything. corny had told them not to be a good worry when you had to be a little over book i learn no either. in theory african soldiers in persons forces were subject to the same military discipline as all its other troops however in reality there was some notable difference that they were barred from becoming commissioned officers and from disciplining lower ranking white soldiers most disturbingly corporal punishment which the british army had officially outlawed for
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decades elsewhere was still used against african troops throughout world war two beatings were not uncommon where we were working where we were all going to ok them we're going to need them in by we my weemba or did. i learn. everyone. be about to get up go. didn't or now work the idea. why did you have a nanny nanny but i bet it will not will be a now do it now women will remember going to get is. not at between that will. teasing eyes as if. they are not thing because he wanted to be the voice of the world that. he was not when a person is willing recruits he was sent to ethiopia and somaliland is a signalman relaying messages between units if you're done in a world alone here's
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a. young lad to be brought back. i'll go along on your gambling the wrong way i'm going to go. the route because you are no pal. leave it reach your high rank of. we have no choice we have no way that the. wealthy are not going to begin. again or by one day and they'll be. well you know that you know by what. but if the harsh discipline to come back to hard to bad they were compounded by the treatment that soldiers like you said be a receipt when the victory came discrimination would not be limited to the us.
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once a soldier left the yomi person paid him a lump sum known as award for serious but this payout wasn't only based on the soldiers rank and the length of his service it also reflected his cologne you origins and ethnicity this document long hidden in britain's warraq lives shines a light on this racial hierarchy the government paper reveals that white person now even those living in african colonies could receive three times the amount of their black counterparts differing levels of compensation and that the colonial regime placed a different value on african life and it on european right european settlers are considered to be more civilized and therefore more deserving of a higher payment verse in the states indorsed colored extended to asian personnel recruited in british east africa to these troops received less than their white comrades but more than african soldiers. are now where did go
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a bit. and the bad about that that they did they had the bottom leg and there were dago. we're going to get. when japan surrendered in one thousand nine hundred forty five percent prioritize demobilizing as white troops putting black soldiers to the back of the line many africans remained in asia for two years after the war had ended although their role in the war was praised by winston churchill and others before long cash strapped britain was soon quietly downplaying the contribution that african soldiers had made to the allied victory there was explosive propaganda directed at african soldiers trying to remind them that they were had only played a small role and that they should not have high expectations they didn't mean that they gave me nothing. i said then go on as. even when soldiers came back their war wasn't over many veterans brought the trauma of conflict into the
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family home or. know what was in the will is little more. they are not. a new political namang basma had no money no. idea when their move. while i look at how you got out there what you do why do what was real what led to one. woman no no there's no more. victorian before you is a kenyan scholar on a mission to preserve this vanishing history she believes that africans who fought for britain should not be for cross a late grandfather served as a world war two medic his service instilled in her a passion for the era my grandfather talked about his wartime experiences when the young children. schooled yes but not to the point of
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being told that. or to walk. during the war this propaganda ministry. used to pump about this east african soul which is which distilled the air is condescending views in the first picture this was a military man from this little kingdom their own material the second picture is talking about a finished product this is modern warfare. new mindset towards african people as a negative they believe they were less just by looking at this they were made to look like simple people is racism in that they were not very valued that high at the time if you felt this person was invaluable to that extent then you should not have involved them in your face as right so go do your wars but don't call other people to help you if you cannot see them for their true. but not
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everyone has forgotten the wartime heroics of britain's african veterans at lusaka international airport the former brigadier of britain's colonial forces is arriving for a week in zambia. david williams is president of the kings african right was association the regiment for which he said and once fort william has flown in from england to pay his respects to his african comrades at a memorial event my roots in africa are a very deep i was educated in what was southern rhodesia. as kids we used to spend a lot of time in the bush it was a very good life and much enjoyed it one's heart remains in africa. williams's destination is a small town in the far north of the country. he's traveling with a crew of history buffs and descendants of colonial era commanders who are stopping off that key points along the way to remember the fordham i was commissioned into
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the first battalion of the king's african rifles with lots of time spent in the bush on exercises getting to know one's men and forming a good bond. very fine and so does and they have proven to be so. the african soldier had absolute innate qualities. when you goes into the bush he is immediately like a hunter. a british soldier often find you have to impose a discipline in whereas an african is very very well equipped. one looks back with fond memories and of course one having established that bond with the african soldiers when there's continued to to be keen to fulfill what one regards as a sort of obligation towards them they fought for the defense of the british empire . and western values and
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a time when that was threatened. on their journey of remembrance williams's entourage spend nights at the colonial era mansion some of those present their grew up in a colony or served in britain's armed forces. sacred. and . there's no question when i was growing up we were living in a country where there was a measure of racism i mean i think on the most positive thing you could say was a form of paternalism one was establishing good principles of rule of law and education and great infrastructures in the country. those of us who lived in africa we were living at the end of a nearer this was obviously going to change overdue for change. we were all of members of our association passionately committed to making sure that we honor the
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legacy of all african soldiers. racism paternalistic or otherwise was ingrained in the fabric of the british empire and to some forces but that doesn't negate the fact that many individual british officers felt and continue to feel a deep sense of loyalty towards their african comrades even in the one thousand foresees some commanding officers on the record as standing up for african soldiers and demanding baby provided with pensions to this day williams's organization and the royal commonwealth tech services league. these funds for these that buy them at least they are not forgotten they were afraid. it was all no more it. was made. by. among the v.i.p.'s at the event is the former chief of the u.k.
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armed forces general lord richards for him britain's mistreatment of african veterans and the poverty they face today is a national disgrace we should be ashamed that from the sioux for our country living in poverty we have an opportunity in the twilight to get that right it's not too late we could still make amends we're talking about people who fought for us in the most horrendous circumstances as surely if britain and the british people mean anything it's about generosity of spirit. i think all of political leadership sometimes doesn't remember that this is a battle that's not yet what the u.k.'s ministry of defense did not respond to our repeated requests for comment yet there are signs that government policy could be changing in november twenty eighth seen as the world prepared to mark the seventeen
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read of the end of the great war britain announced a twelve million pound package to help impoverished veterans and war widows from commonwealth nations but senior officials insist that this relatively modest sum is eight not compensation it's not designed to attain what it is designed to do is provide some very practical support what my department. is to alleviate extreme poverty of all the commonwealth that ends up living what we consider to be extreme poverty so that means that they'll be able to get good nutrition that they'll be living in dignity. but critics are clear while these men are in urgent need of aid the injustices they suffered under british rule must also be richer rest it wouldn't cost a great deal of money printed vidual someone who studied this destitute men who were in some way harmed who were not well really integrated into their home
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societies then there may be an opportunity to rights and wrongs. despite persons new aid package david williams still feel has a deep sense of regret about the past treatment of african soldiers that is not something that i think we should be proud of and certainly wouldn't fit into the ethos of what those of us who served with african troops would would wish to have happened but if it did happen we have to face the fact that you know times were different i don't know street believe it's it's it's something that's worthwhile of an apology what is we feel obliged to do is to make sure that we look after people who are in need we can provide veterans with at least a meal a day and hopefully two meals a day. we do our best to help. those
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few veterans still alive were not be with us for long a few million pounds from the u.k. government to pay for me while helpful is not much restitution for past injustices what many want most of all is full recognition. also more veterans have been afraid that they have been forgotten completes many of them experiences but that mean is they die that's gone but we need to talk to them fast we should not let them die with. tom is not a lost sight when they're so they need help they need assistance let them die knowing someone can't.
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