CMU professor: Wish of ‘pain’ upon Queen Elizabeth’s death stemmed from 1960s tragedy

The Carnegie Mellon University professor’s since-removed tweet, disavowed by the university, had roots in a dark chapter of the United Kingdom’s involvement in Africa.

by Rich Lord, PublicSource

A Carnegie Mellon University professor who wished Queen Elizabeth II “excruciating” pain in a viral tweet Thursday detailed her reasons for her controversial statement in an email to PublicSource.

Uju Anya, an associate professor of second language acquisition at CMU, noted the United Kingdom’s role in the suppression of the separatist Igbo people in Nigeria in the late 1960s. Estimates of the deaths from starvation and violence in the country’s Biafra region range from 1 million to several million.

“I am the child and sibling of survivors of genocide,” Anya wrote in response to an inquiry from PublicSource. She added that she has previously tweeted about her mother’s experience during the war in Biafra.

“I was born in the immediate aftermath of this genocide, which was directly supported and facilitated by the British government then headed by the monarch Queen Elizabeth II,” she continued in her statement. “This support came through political cover, weapons, bombs, planes, military vehicles and supplies the British government sent to kill us and protect their interests in the oil reserves on our land.”

She said the war “has shadowed our entire lives and continues to affect it, because we’re still mourning incalculable losses and still rebuilding everything that was destroyed.”

Anya’s tweet, coming almost as Queen Elizabeth II died and calling her part of a “thieving raping genocidal empire,” spurred online reaction — some supporting her, and other condemning her — before Twitter removed it as a violation of its content rules.

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