Statues Part 1

These past few months have been crazy to say the least. Following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, there have been worldwide protests at the treatment of black people and the inequalities we face are also coming to light.

One thing that I was truly amazed with was the tearing down of the statues during these protests.

People kept asking me for an opinion on these actions? I was indifferent to be honest. I want the narrative of fighting for equality to always be the main message that is published in the press, but when people started to tear down statues this became the main narrative.

I don’t want to give the government an excuse not to acknowledge inequality, and I hate giving the British media an excuse to write negative press about black people. That being said, I was happy that the statue of Edward Colston got pulled down.

The statue of Winston Churchill was the subject of vandalism in June 2020

Some of his wealth was made through the trafficking of enslaved people. If you knew your history, and lived in Bristol, it must have hurt if you had to walk past him everyday.

Although he had this history, the Bristol council did not deem it fit to take down the status even though Bristolians had campaigned for this for time. I get that he used his money to help build the city of Bristol – Hitler also had erected statues in Berlin, just saying.

The subject of Edward Colston in Bristol wasn’t a new thing which started in 2020. Bristolians had previously submitted petitions for its removal, so its not like they went from 0 to 100 real quick. Massive Attack, the UK band had previously refused to play at the Colston Hall due to its connections with the slave trader.

One of the online petitions to get the statue removed had around 100 signatures signed, but once the black lives matter movement began to grow, the number of signatures began to increase.

I am all for the removal of the statues of people who committed heinous crimes and acts against the humanity of people. I don’t care where they put them. I think that this is a conversation for people who have strong feelings on the matter.

The far right come to oppose the black lives matter protests

But honestly, for me, this shouldn’t be our priority. Continuing the conversation to pull down statues is only giving the media a narrative to push which makes out like this what all black people want.

When people started talking about pulling down statues, suddenly the far right groups started to get involved.

The far right were relatively quiet at the start of the movement. But suddenly remembered their sympathy for Lee Rigby, RIP. They started to post images calling out for nationwide sympathy for Lee Rigby – The former soldier who was targeted by two madmen who killed him in a senseless act in 2013.

Protesters also want Nelsons Column to be removed

Upon hearing this, the Rigby foundation released a statement saying that they did not want to associate themselves with these racist groups. Leaving the right wing nationalist groups looking for something else to fight for. And unfortunately we gave it to them.

As we saw by the images, the far right couldn’t care about Churchill. They just wanted to get pissed and fight. We saw many images of them throwing up Nazi salutes – This coming from a group who repeatedly say that we would be speaking German if it wasn’t for him. I wonder what he would think of the nationalists throwing up Nazi signs?

Ripping Down History

Is tearing down statues ripping away history? What difference does it make to keep them up in museums and having them on the street?

I think it would be a good gesture by the British government to start erecting statues of people in history who have made a positive difference to the UK to which the majority agrees. Values have changed since these statues were erected and the nation now has a voice.

Do you think that the people would want to keep the statues of these people if given a choice?

I’m on the side of removing these statues due to the dark history of the people who have been erected. But again, as this isn’t my main focus, I don’t think this is something which should be at the top of the priority list to get done.

What do you guys think? Keep them, remove them? Destroy them? Museum?

The statue of Nelson Mandela in central London

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