Thousands of university professors are speaking out in support of Uju Anya, the Carnegie Mellon University professor who was condemned by her own institution last week for publicly characterizing Queen Elizabeth II as a "genocidal colonizer" and "wretched woman."
In an open letter on Anya's behalf, the supporting professors wrote that Queen Elizabeth II oversaw a "throne of Indigenous and Black blood, embedded in the overall legacy of the British monarchy," and that "her actual government presided over and directly facilitated the genocide that Dr. Anya’s parents and siblings barely survived."
Last Thursday, after news broke of the queen initially falling ill, Anya tweeted:
"I heard the chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying. May her pain be excruciating."
And then later, after the announcement of Queen Elizabeth's death at age 96, Anya wrote:
"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."
Shortly after that, while exchanging byplay with other Twitter users, Anya offered this observation:
"That wretched woman and her bloodthirsty throne have [expletive] generations of my ancestors on both sides of the family, and she supervised a government that sponsored the genocide my parents and siblings survived. May she die in agony."
The professors' supporting letter — penned by professors Chelsey R. Carter (Yale University), Nelson Flores (University of Pennsylvania), Sirry Alang (University of Pittsburgh), Crystal M. Fleming (Stony Brook) and Adia Benton (Northwestern), as well as postdoctoral fellow Dick Powis (University of South Florida) — continues:
"Dr. Anya tweeted her feelings about the queen’s death. As a Black woman who was born in Nigeria, whose family has been directly harmed by the insidious impacts of British imperialism, genocide, and white supremacy, Dr. Anya expressed her pain on her personal Twitter account."
Also, "While within public discourse, the term 'colonizer' can appear to be an abstract term that people have only read about in history books, Dr. Anya experienced the reverberations of colonial white supremacy first hand," the letter continued.
The professors' letter concluded with the following notion: "Queen Elizabeth II was not figuratively but literally her colonizer, and the colonizer of millions of people across the world — and particularly countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and Indian Ocean territories ... Over the course of more than 70 years, the imperial reign of Queen Elizabeth II was inextricably tied to the legacy of the British Empire’s commitment to white supremacy and colonialism."
For their statement last week, Carnegie Mellon administrators said:
"We do not condone the offensive and objectionable messages posted by Uju Anya today on her personal social media account. ... Free expression is core to the mission of higher education, however, the views she shared absolutely do not represent the values of the institution, nor the standards of discourse we seek to foster."
Also last week, Twitter flagged Anya's tweets for violating terms and conditions.
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