The controversial Nigerian-born American Professor Uju Anya of Carnegie Mellon University that tweeted the ‘excruciating death’ wish on the late Queen Elizabeth II has asked Nigerians and the rest of the world to delink and dissociate her from Nigerian internal politics and polity. Her words:
“I would not like to comment on the Nigerian government or any of the politicians or leaders on what they are doing and what they are not doing. I have not lived in Nigeria for almost 40 years. I am not registered to vote and I am not part of any political movement in Nigeria nor do I get involved in Nigerian politics. US politics is what I know and what I am involved in. Even in the US, I am a registered Independent. I neither support the Democrats nor do I support the Republicans or any of those parties. That is how strongly I believe in political independence and not being part of any party strategy whatsoever. All I can say is that I believe in a unified Nigeria. The wrong that has been done to the Igbo has to be compensated. At least, ‘sorry’ should be said. I expect this of the British government and the monarchy. No matter who you are or how big a government you are, when you have done wrong, hurt people, killed people, especially on a massive scale, I believe they must apologise and recognise that they have done something wrong. I also believe that Nigeria should be for all Nigerians. We didn’t have a choice for the country to be formed in the first place – the British did that, too, forcefully putting independent nations into one. Now that we are together, we must try to accommodate one another so we can thrive and not just one group over the other.”
Uju Anya, the Carnegie Mellon professor who sparked a firestorm when she wished Queen Elizabeth II an “excruciating” death has doubled down on her comments, saying she was trying to teach America about the monarchy’s role in an African and Nigerian genocide.
“The news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death has been met with public outpourings of grief commemorating her service as the longest-reigning monarch in British history. But not everyone is in mourning. For many impacted by the lasting legacy of the British Empire — one marked by genocide, racism, and exploitation — her death has been met with indifference, rage, and even celebration. “I heard the chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying,” Uju Anya, an applied-linguistics professor at Carnegie Mellon, tweeted on Thursday. “May her pain be excruciating.”
Anya was born in Nigeria in the aftermath of its civil war, which included a genocide aided and abetted by the U.K. over oil interests. Anya is far from alone in criticizing the queen’s role in obscuring the realities of colonialism, which, over the course of her 70-year reign, she at times acknowledged but never explicitly apologized for. Yet Anya’s words were met with harsh backlash, including from Jeff Bezos, who responded, “This is someone supposedly making the world better? I don’t think so. Wow.”
Anya replied to Bezos, writing, “May everyone you and your merciless greed have harmed in this world remember you as fondly as I remember my colonizers.” Twitter responded by removing Anya’s initial tweet, claiming it violated the site’s policy, while Carnegie Mellon released a public statement saying it did not “condone the offensive and objectionable messages” Anya posted. “Free expression is core to the mission of higher education; however, the views [Anya] shared absolutely do not represent the values of the institution, nor the standards of discourse we seek to foster,” the university explained. Last year, Carnegie Mellon received a $2 million donation from Amazon for its Computer Science Academy.
“If anyone expects me to express anything but disdain for the monarch who supervised a government that sponsored the genocide that massacred and displaced half my family and the consequences of which those alive today are still trying to overcome, you can keep wishing upon a star,” Anya wrote in a tweet that remains up on her account. She spoke with the Cut about her feelings on the queen and her passing as well as the backlash she has faced for speaking frankly about colonialism.” ( The Cut)