|A typical classroom in Gambia. Taken by me as I visited on trek with my NGO.|
Somewhere in a vault with glass cases, in a castle that stands as a remembrance to the world as the height of imperialism, is a bunch of ornate golden silverware referred to as the crown jewels. I have seen this absurd spectacle complete with a massive golden royal punch bowl.
I watched a few minutes of the royal wedding. The TV was in a hollowed out shack across from my work. I ordered a small bread and egg sandwich for a whopping 23 dalasi (75cents) and as it was being made on a dirty gas burner I thought of the golden punch bowl and what a disconnect with reality this spectacle represents!
And say you were to sell that punch bowl. Well no one ever would because of its history and tradition. But with the price of gold, if you were you could fund teachers and food programs that could boost the welfare of 100,000 kids in Africa at least. I live in a country where the adult literacy rate is 40%, it is maybe 1/5 of that in the villages. I live in a country where people have trouble affording food and there is a time consistently called “the Hungry Season.” Most of my friends are surviving off no vegetables, coos, and onion sauce because there is not enough water for a garden. You get the idea that this is an impoverished country.
Our country also happens to be a former British colony. Slavery as a foundation, this land was looted and plundered of people and wealth, and now it is forced to learn English and has practically been abandoned by the first world. So here are my thoughts on a royal wedding, you cannot embrace the only the parts you like about the past and throw the others away. The royal wedding stands as a symbol of tradition, but only the tradition that can be locked away like a golden punch bowl and presented as royalty at opportune times. But the counties that were invaded and imperialized are not saved or cherished they are thrown away.
So please royal family, sell your punch bowl to balance the damage you have done to cultures and peoples around the world, in the name of humility and progress. Get married, but donate the multi-millions of your family fortunes to balance out the ancient serfdom on which those fortunes were founded. This may only mean you drive BMW instead of a Rolls Royce, or the dress costs less but is still as beautiful. Because if you really want to embrace tradition and the past in a true light, you can’t just have a beautiful spectacle, you would need to invite some of the small naked children from across my street to run up and down the aisles of Westminster Abby kicking trash as they would soccer balls.