Apparently, on one of the various Boer War facebook groups, someone posted a few pictures of Imperial forces crossing the Vaal in 1900:
Nothing terribly controversial, one might think, but these pictures were enough to prompt a predictably lunatic reaction from one of the more deluded and fanatical Defenders of the Myth:
Proudly wearing his utter ignorance as a badge of honour, Mr Pretorius appears completely unaware that the only reason the British army was crossing the Vaal was because – with ocean-going stupidity – the Boer republics had earlier started the war by attacking and invading British imperial territory.
Always perfectly happy to humiliate himself on social media, the perennially mistaken Pretorius doesn’t even know that the Transvaal was not actually a sovereign state at the time, as it was, in fact, under British suzerainty[i].
It is also remarkable that Pretorius is so proud of the ‘elected government’[ii] of the Transvaal, despite the franchise being jealously and deviously restricted to a tiny minority of those living there; a sort of self-appointed, ‘Chosen People’ who Pretorius genuinely appears to believe had a God-given right to Lord it over (and deny the vote to) anyone who had a different colour of skin, who spoke a different language, or followed a different religion.
And what a truly bizarre form of ‘devastation and subjugation’; despite being attacked by them, not only did the ‘wicked’ British pump millions of pounds[iii] into rebuilding the defeated republics, but London also granted self-rule to both territories very shortly after the war. And far from being ‘subjugated’, the vote was not denied to the Afrikaners in the former republics[iv] – unlike the way Kruger had done everything he could to deny it to English-speakers of the Transvaal before the war. Indeed, many of the Boers who had led the invasion of British territory, or risen to prominence during it, ended up in political power when self-rule was granted. British victory meant that – though still by no means perfect – the franchise of the Transvaal was extended to many tens of thousands of those who should have never been denied it.
‘Devastation and subjugation’ indeed.
Either way, it was swiftly pointed out to the extremist buffoon that the river crossing was simply an event in something called a ‘war’ (and a war, indeed, which Pretorius’ heroes had started):
Pretorius, and other deluded, self-pitying apologists like him, seem to think that the Boer republics should have been allowed to pick a fight with Great Britain, invade and annex huge swathes of colonial territory, and loot, burn, and help themselves to whatever they want. And then, when the tide turned, British reinforcements arrived, and the invading republicans got routed back out of Natal and the Cape, he genuinely seems to think that the war should have just sort of ended at that point, and that everything should have been forgiven and forgotten.
In the fevered-mind of Pretorius, presumably the British army should have just stopped at the borders of the republics, and shaken their fists at the defeated and retreating rag-tag republican rabble, as they streamed home, laden down with loot. It is scarcely believable that anyone, even a Defender of the Myth, can really be that stupid.
Someone then posted this brilliant response to Pretorius’ mind-blowing ignorance:
Needless to say, Pretorius had no comeback to this, but will no doubt pop up again in a few days, keen as ever to display his extremism, thick-headedness, and complete lack of understanding of history. And to provide us a little more entertainment.
And speaking of river crossings, one is left to wonder what Pretorius’ reaction would have been to seeing photos like this:
To anyone with a functioning brain and even the most basic grasp of historical reality, they simply depict the Allies crossing the Rhine, and advancing into Nazi Germany, in March 1945. To the almost impossibly ignorant Pretorius, however, one can only assume they portray forces:
‘en route to devastating and subjugating a sovereign state, its elected government, and its people’.
[i] Though conveniently ignored by many today, British ‘Suzerainty’ over the Transvaal was clearly defined in the 1881 Convention signed at the end of the First Boer War. It basically meant that, rather than the republic having full, unqualified independence, Britain retained a degree of stewardship over the Transvaal’s foreign affairs, and over the treatment of natives in the territory. Kruger’s Transvaal began to flout these restrictions in the early 1890s, prior to the Jameson Raid, and considerably prior to Milner’s arrival in South Africa
[ii] And even then, in decidedly dodgy / rigged elections
[iii] The equivalent of many billions today
[iv] The vote was, temporarily, taken from a few thousand Cape Rebels – which was hardly unreasonable, given that these traitors had fought against their own nation. As Conan-Doyle put it: ‘The loss of five years’ franchise as a penalty for firing upon their own flag is surely the most gentle correction which an Empire ever laid upon a rebellious people’.