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Brexit and England's ugly history of colonialism

A letter to the Queen, on Canada Day.


John R. Sylliboy is a graduate of international relations in Costa Rica, a policy analyst and researches on Indigenous health, education and community development. You can reach him at or @SylliboyJohnR.
  • John R. Sylliboy is a graduate of international relations in Costa Rica, a policy analyst and researches on Indigenous health, education and community development. You can reach him at or @SylliboyJohnR.

Really, your Majesty, I thought you were made of bigger tiaras than that!

Your people voted out of the European Union with a near-four percent difference—a tiny margin but significant in action. Are you doing so for the right reasons? The sterling silver is taking a beating, which may foreshadow economic slams and employment challenges for your nearly one million Brits spread out in Europe. This self-exile smells of nationalism masking marginal xenophobia to me.

Queen Liz, you’ve only conquered the four corners of the world and you falter now because the world wants a share of your wealth? They want a piece of your billions. It seems as though Brexit is a desperate strategy to balance powers in Britain among its domestic workers who claim to lose jobs to foreigners.

Will the chess move be the end of the EU and trigger another cycle of European nationalism? Globalization was once so glamourous, but now, England, you make it look so cheap. Brexit is sowing fear because of border (in)security and immigration (terrorism) with a keen isolationist approach in global politics.

The most important European power freely indulged in conquest and domination over foreign lands (Canada, New Zealand, Australia, India, Hong Kong, African nations, et cetera) and the establishment of British Imperial rule based on colonialism for centuries. Is it finally cracking under pressure due to reverse colonial conquest by immigrants, mainly people from its former “brown” colonial nations? You owe it to the world to digress.

Are modern-day Brits feeling their personal spaces over burdened with “other” people? Perhaps Britain is feeling slight guilty by sponging off other continental resources for its industries to produce lovely Land Rovers and Aston Martins? Or could it be national culture shock from millions of migrant workers? Or lack of nationhood overwhelmed by multi-ethnicity within its borders? Are Brits feeling what India felt during Gandhi’s times?

Ma’am, your subjects may now empathize with how our world Nations—Mi’kmaq, Wolastoq, Cree and Maori—felt when they were ravaged by your workers, colonizers, settlers, governors and lawmakers on our lands for centuries.

It seems, your Highness, that your people are not ready to accept others onto your lovely island. Do I have to remind you that it was British rule that subjugated our peoples under an imperialist economic rule, took our resources, wealth and most importantly tried to slash and burn our cultural and spiritual identities, for your own Anglo rule over the rest of Europe?

Reminder, your Majesty—we are still debating Cornwallis in Halifax to this day. We are only beginning our process of Reconciliation as First Nations with your daughter Canada, which by virtue is our Mother Kanata.

Is it irony or the inevitable at work in Britain? It is arrogance that the British will just turn away what it’s created as an economy based integration in Europe because it doesn’t work for them anymore and blame lack of domestic employment for nationals?

Your Majesty, pull up your bloomers and make it work for all your subjects, nationals and immigrants alike. Otherwise Brexit will make your diamond brooches look cheap. You are made of better tiaras than that!


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