Thousands sign letter supporting CMU professor who wished Queen Elizabeth II an ‘excruciating’ death
More than 3,000 people signed a letter rallying Uju Anya, a Carnegie Mellon University professor whose tweet last week wished Queen Elizabeth II an agonizing death and sparked outcry from some and support from others .
The signatures – just over 3,800 at 5:30 p.m. Monday – came from students, scholars and other across from Pittsburgh in Venezuela.
The post, which Twitter has since deleted, came with reports that the Queen was in poor health and that her family had gathered by her side. The royal family had yet to announce the death of the 96-year-old monarch at the time.
“I heard that the chief monarch of a genocidal thief and rapist empire is finally dying,” the initial tweet read. “May his pain be excruciating.”
The tweet caught attention after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos took note on the platform, taking aim at Anya’s position as a teacher: “He’s someone supposed to work to make the better world? I do not think so. Wow.”
“While in public discourse the term ‘colonizer’ may seem like an abstract term that people have only read about in history books, Dr. Anya experienced firsthand the repercussions of colonial white supremacy. .” https://t.co/7ppF8ZaUby
— Society for Cultural Anthropology (@culanth) September 10, 2022
“Bezos did not condemn the words and sentiment of Dr. Anya’s tweet, which would have been his right to free speech,” the letter read in part. “Instead, he vilified her by suggesting that her teaching, advocacy and academic contributions are ‘supposedly’ not ‘worked to make the world a better place’.
“We disagree,” the letter continues, “as would the many students with better experiences teaching world languages and the growing number of African-American students entering applied linguistics because They now see themselves in historically white spaces precisely because of the groundwork laid by Dr. Anya.
Anya, a professor in CMU’s Department of Modern Languages, focuses on the language learning experience of black students. Her biography states that she won many awards during her time at other universities including Penn State.
Carnegie Mellon condemned Anya’s sentiment as “offensive and reprehensible”, but noted that it was posted on his personal social media account and that “free expression is at the heart of the mission of higher education “.
“However,” said spokesman Peter Kerwin, “the opinions she shared in no way represent the values of the institution, nor the standards of discourse that we seek to promote.”
Anya, of Nigerian-Trinidadian descent, defended her views, noting that the colonialism of the past decade has deeply affected her family.
“If anyone expects me to express anything other than contempt for the monarch who oversaw a government that sponsored the genocide that massacred and displaced half my family and the consequences of which still live today you can keep wishing for a star,” she wrote.
The letter of support lays out Anya’s roots, noting that her parents and siblings barely survived the genocide in Nigeria. Other family members, according to the letter, were killed.
“While in public discourse the term ‘colonizer’ may seem like an abstract term that people have only read about in history books, Dr. Anya experienced firsthand the repercussions of colonial white supremacy. “, according to the letter. “So Queen Elizabeth II was not figuratively but literally her coloniser.
He continued: “As a black woman 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 Twitter account personal.”