August 1, 2021

A symbol of colonialism for students, a portrait of Elizabeth II retired from Oxford University

The case revives the debate on racism and colonialism in the United Kingdom. Students at prestigious Oxford University in England removed a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II from a common room citing colonialism, which sparked controversy on Wednesday, June 9.

Members of the Middle Common Room (MCR) committee of Magdalen College, an association of graduate students, voted in favor of removing this portrait. According to them, “The representations of the monarch and the British monarchy represent recent colonial history”, reports, wednesday, the british daily The Times, citing the minutes of a meeting of this committee.

This action « a was carried out after a discussion on the purpose of such a space, and it was decided that the room should be a welcoming and neutral place for all members ”MCR chairman Matthew Katzman told the Daily Mail. And to add:

“No position has been taken on the queen or the royal family the conclusion was simply that there were better places to hang this picture. “

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An “absurd” decision for the Minister of Education

The case was relayed on Wednesday in “one” of several dailies. “How dare they! “, the tabloid is indignant Daily Express with reference to students. The queen has become “The most recent victim of cancel culture », deplores the conservative daily The Telegraph.

British Education Minister Gavin Williamson has ruled “Absurd” the decision of the students. Elizabeth II, who will celebrate her 70th reign next year, “Is the head of state and symbolizes the best in the UK. During her long reign she worked tirelessly to promote the British values ​​of tolerance, openness and respect in the world ”, reacted Mr. Williamson on Twitter Tuesday evening.

Magdalen College President Dinah Rose said the students were not representative of this reputable college, established over five hundred and fifty years ago, but defended their right to “Freedom of expression and political debate”. On Twitter, she added : “Being a student means more than studying. It’s about exploring and debating different ideas. Sometimes it is to provoke the older generation (…). Looks like it’s not very difficult to do these days. “

The World with AFP