When someone screams that a certain statue in a certain part of town is the representation of a slave trader, they forget all about the massive stone buildings that fill cities like Liverpool and Manchester built buy companies involved in cotton and sugar - all who used slaves in the industries that brought great wealth and power to the UK. Are we now to take down these massive buildings - now converted into top of the line apartments and offices :- Are we to destroy all visible signs of our history because some people get upset.
NO WE SHOULD NOT.
Why: Because a statue is not just a statue. It represents a part of our history that is considerd bad, and visibly seeing that statue invites conversation and education and input concerning our history that many would not know about. Remove the statue - you remove the conversation and anti racist loose - it actually looses more than the statue, it looses its voice, it looses its hstory and it looses its power.
This power gets people talking and sharing something that many - otherwise - would not know.
When you can put a face to something, it gives it meaning.
When you can put a face to something, it changes its power.
How many people cannot eat fish if the head is still on.
Why ? Because it reminds them its a living creature.
The recent statue thrown into Bristol Harbour was of slave trader Edward Colston - I had never heard of him. My history is clearly not very good.
As long as the statue stood there, it was a reminder of our bad past and how far we have come and as a symbol that we must never return. Taking it down, we will soon forget all about him and generations to come won't - like me - have a clue - but as long as the statue stands, it is a constant reminder. Take that away, and history is lost and the many who suffered at his hands as slaves, suffered in vain.
Baden-Powell created the Boy Scout movement here in Dorset and there have been calls to take down his statue on Poole Quay. The campaigners highlighted Baden-Powell's associations with the Nazis and the Hitler youth programme, as well as his actions in the military. It has always been rumoured that Powell was a pedophile yet even to this day scouts have come along to protect the statue which now the council has covered over temporarily.
Tens of thousands admire this man as his legacy will endure - whitewash over the truth and all we end up with as a homogonised
society full of no heroes, no giants of industry, no leaders that led from the font and no one brave enough to follow what was then THE LAW OF THE LAND and do what was considered correct - at the time.
The statue of Sir Winston Churchill is also now under threat. The man who is honoured with winning WW2 for England.
Prisoners in American jails make fridges etc for GEC ( one of the worlds biggest companies ) and get paid pennies for doing so, and this means GEC is using slave labout in a prison camp to make billions of $ and where other companies cannot compete on price and the American government allows this.
Many European companies we all know and love used slaves from concentration camps during WW2 and yet these companies are still going, still have their horrendous past and no one says anything and even buy their products.
SEE THE LIST OF THESE COMPANIES HERE - and you will be astounded to see Barclays Bank, Coca Cola, Krup, Bayer, Nestles, BMW, Hugo Boss, Porsche and many many more - all benefited from the holocaust.
I bet most buy sugar from Tate & Lyle - who used slaves. Are they to take the mansion houses built by the company, and the workers houses built in the UK by the company - and the docks built to accommodate their ships, and take away the wealth from these companies because of their past ?
Of course not. That would be dumb.
Taking it down denies generations to come to see and feel our histpry and as bad as it was - and in this case it was horrendous, but we cannot deny history, we cannot turn the closk back, and considering there are thousands of slaves in the UK this very day - and nothing is done.
But it doesn't go away.
Generation to come will have no focus point to discuss -
Matthew Shepard - The death of a gay student bound and tortured and tied to a prairie fence in Wyoming 2 decades ago - shocked America. The young lad was brutally beaten and the position he was tied to the fence made it look as if he's been crucified.
To read more about this - CLICK HERE
A decade or so later - or about a decade ago now - Fred Phelps, head of the Primitive Baptist church in Topeka, Kansas, planned to install a 6ft granite monument to Shepard in the municipal park to 'celebrate' his death. Under a bronze engraving of his portrait it would have had the words:
'Matthew Shepard entered hell 12 October 1998 at age 21 in defiance of God's warning: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination." Leviticus 18:22.'
When I read this in the news here in the UK, I went to the internet and e mailed the towns mayor and Chief of Police and complained that I was from the UK and was worried that they would actually allow such a thing and how the USA would go down in the global view of the country if such a statue was allowed. It was not the statue, but the wording that was / is so offensive especially as people edit what Leviticus says and ignore 95% of what else it states but scream about men having sex with each other.
READ MORE ABOUT LEVITICUS HERE
The mayor - a women - returned my e mail astounded that someone all the way in the UK had even heard of the case and was gob smacked to receive my e mail. She pointed out that there was no way that statue would be allowed as it stood for hate and I am glad to say it never came to pass.
So am I a bigot.
Claiming taking down a statue is unhelpful but not even being allowed to put one up is surely the same in the end.
No it is not. I was not complaining about the statue, but the wording - which instills hate and bigotry and a Christian Biblical quote on a statue in a country where religious freedom is part of the Constitution. Religious freedom is fine as long as it is not used to limit and deny life and liberty to another.
A statue of a racist does not have a vile message for everyone to read - and to be honest, most of us see these statues and have no idea who they even are.
Matthew Shapard was a victim - and using a Biblical quote destroys so much more and stirs up religious fervour, and we all know where that ends - just look at history.
Are we to dismantle the Catholic Church for aiding and abetting the Nazi's.
All I know is that by taking down these statues we loose a chance of education and only through education can any of us move forward.
BLOG HOME PAGE