Diamonds have always been the jewel in the crown, whether you were the Empress of India and Queen of the entire British Empire. Which is, by the way celebrating 150 years since the 1858 first great bong from the famed bell clock of British Parliament, Big Ben. Another of diamonds in it's way. However, in 1936 the father of Queen Elizabeth began, but did not end his reign as Emperor of India, but rather as mere King George after 1947, upon independence of India and Pakistan. The diamond jewel remains in the crown, but is no longer what it once was. Now symbol, not power.
The need to get off the once diamond concept of a British Empire upon which the sun never set, which was true, Churchill was coaxed and teased into backing it off to a club by Franklin Roosevelt. Every time they met, Franklin would tease Winston that this would no longer be an Empire with subjective nations, but more a club, in which any member nation could decide to stay with, or leave. And so it has evolved today into a members club fondly known to all, including India, as a proud English speaking Magna Carta of the British, or simply the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth Games are held every four years, two years separated from the Olympics. It is a huge success wherever the event is held. And all this was eventually promised by Churchill to Roosevelt as WW11 did seem to be about freeing people. More diamond minds. And how more a club it seems to be, now some times voting to condemn or vote out of the club a member such as South Africa for years for apartheid. I attended many of the sports events with my English son in law when the Games were held in my home town Victoria Canada.
It was a magical time. I operated my seaside Inn at the time, and we hosted mostly black delegates from several African nations. All were highly educated and held many seniors posts in their governments, and I came close friends to many, as did my youngest daughter, then aged eight. She referred to a very eloquent diplomat from Nigeria as the “gentle general" as she knew from me to be polite, but also that the leader of his nation was a brutal dictator. We all need Nigerian oil into the international mix. Sigh.
But the feeling inside my hotel, on the streets, and coming and going on the bus systems by merely showing your stadium pass for some event, it was an international party on the bus, a zoo. It was something that I could not explain to my American guests, who began arriving as the party was winding down after ten glorious days. But more about stepping aboard that bus: you had Jamaican music, people in costumes from a variety of nations from Africa, south Asia, Pacific Islands, Hong Kong, and for the first time in decades, newly black governed South Africa under Nelson Mandella, back in the club.
You should have been there in the stadium in the opening, and closing ceremonies, when as at the Olympics, athletes of all nations come by in alphabetic order, with their flag flying, and a warm applause from us all. But the emotion of the crowd built, and the welling of emotion as the athletes of Hong Kong walked on by. China was taking over Hong Kong, which had quite a Victoria connection, , as both deep harbors were east and west repair depots for the British Pacific Fleet from 1843 until these 1994 Games. It was goodbye.
And yet the excitement built and we applauded but all began to stand as the South African black and white athletes walked by all mixed together, with their new flag. And the foot stomping, hand clapping, cheering and chanting welcome back into the club built to such a roar we all had huge smiles and tears down our cheeks. And all the way through to Zanzibar or whoever, we were in a wonderful mood. And when the Queen made her appearance, we all cheered so much, and noticed she was not wearing the crown, with the huge diamond jewel. Just a very nice hat. But probably a diamond where we can't see. On her blouse, silly.
Derek Dashwood enjoys the combining of science into the humanities to measure politics and use and wise use of power and how it is shown at It's Her Diamond, She Will Decide