Joseph Hansen

Lords and Rhinoceros-Hide Whips

(7 September 1946)

Source: The Militant, Vol. 10 No. 36, 7 September 1946, p. 8.
Transcription/Editing/HTML Markup: 2021 by Einde O’Callaghan.
Public Domain: Joseph Hansen Internet Archive 2021. This work is in the under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Marxists’ Internet Archive as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

Are you worried about the atomic bomb? Afraid you might be one of those fated to sizzle away, like a drop of water on a hot stove when Wall Street’s surprise packages start dropping on your city in World War III?

Just to relieve your mind for a while, consider a real worry. A worry that is facing the House of Lords in Great Britain. They can’t decide whether or not to do away with the rhinoceros-hide whips they’ve been using for generations to put the fear of the British lion in the hearts of the colonial people.

It seems these rhinoceros-hide whips inflict such cruel lacerations that even professional nurses turn sick at the stomach when they look at the moaning victims.

The story is told in the July 1946 New African, published monthly in London.

“The House of Lords,” says the New African, “was told yesterday of nurses in the colonies who had asked to be moved to other wards because they could not bear to nurse victims flogged with rhinoceros-hide whips.”

It was Lord Faringdon who brought up the question. He thought there had been an “excessive use” of flogging, especially in the Sudan.

He said that the statistics on flogging were higher for the Sudan Defense Force than in the rest of the Empire. Apparently the Sudan Defense Force proved more reluctant that some of the others in fighting for the “Four Freedoms” and they had to be braced up a bit.

“If any of your lordships were found punishing a dog with such a whip,” said the Lord indignantly, “he would justly be prosecuted by the RSPCA;” It was not reported what kind of whip the Lord advocated or whether he thought flogging should be done away with entirely.

Viscount Addison, Dominions Secretary, was able to report progress on the question. He said that “approaches” had been made to the despots stationed in the colonies and they had been “urged” to consider “alternative” punishments.

However, there may be considerable resistance on the part of conservative members of the British ruling class to doing away with flogging with rhinoceros-hide whips. After all, isn’t it one of the burdens of capitalism to bring “civilization” with all its benefits to the backward colonial peoples? How else can super-profits be wrung from the colonies?

And what instrument in the whole arsenal of imperialism is better or cheaper in carrying out this lofty aim than a good, tough, searing rhinoceros-hide whip?


Last updated on: 18 June 2021