Tuesday, 25 December 2018
15 years ago Benjamin Zephaniah, turned down his OBE (Order of the British Empire) ‘honour’ saying, “No way Mrs Queen. Me? I thought, OBE me? Up yours, I thought … I get angry when I hear that word “empire”; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds me of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised.” The Queen has just announced the 2019 New Year’s honours list. Good luck to them all. For me greater honour goes to those who refused them. I am sad that the charity I co-founded has, over the years since I was sacked for whistle-blowing, taken part in this Establishment charade. I am honoured to have played my part as a co-founder, not only of the charity, but of the wonderful Pavarotti Music Centre in Mostar. Happy 21st birthday to all my friends there.