• Owen Walsh International Relations and Global

The Nature of Removing controversial statues

Statues within history are to commemorate a person even for the establishment of the system that we are living in today, protecting the country, uniting the country or other factors however statues do have other controversies which include people such as Rhodes, Saddam Hussein, Confederate soldiers and many more. Within this topic, I will argue that tearing down some statues represents a change in rebellion against a system which is also related to the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Why some Statues are controversial?

With the with some statues that are displayed within the public squares of some countries such as the Confederate statues within the United States, slave traders such as Edward Colston and also Cecil Rhodes in the United Kingdom and also dictators such as Saddam Hussein of Iraq. The reason why they are controversial is mainly that they represent oppression of people who are either different ethnicity, class, culture, race and colour as well as when it comes to the colonial era of slavery. They are there to frighten the people who are against the system so that people of colour as well as those who are against it. However, it is not just to intimidate the people, but to have this sort of whitewashing of history, so that they are viewed as a hero or a person that has achieved a lot even though they have killed, enslaved and ruled over them in an authoritarian fashion.

Take for example the statue of Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister who got Britain through World War II and said no to Hitler and the Nazis who wanted to pursue the racial superiority a complex of Germany through lebensraum. With most people in Britain, they viewed him as a hero due to this legitimate cause of defending the United Kingdom and stopping Hitler from ruling not just Europe but the world which could have caused more deaths and that some of us wouldn't be here if Hitler won WW2. However, even though there was called a hero, he was responsible for one of the worst famines in history within British India call the Bengal famine of 1943-1945. This was caused by a drought which in turn had killed between "6 to 7 million Indians" and that Churchill said "Indians will Breed like rabbits" which is the reason why the statue of Winston Churchill has recently being grafted on for a legitimate purpose by the protesters. In addition, it is not just Winston Churchill, the British Empire had killed more people than even Hitler and Stalin throughout its history. According to Imbesat Daubi (2014, p. 182), about "150 million" people died within the British Empire, including the era of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Why do people take down Statues?

However, the main question is, why do some people take down statues even though that they are controversial, well it's because the statues again represent oppression, slavery, the deaths of innocent people under their reigns and also whitewashed history. Tearing down or removing statues is a human tradition of liberation, rebellion and a change towards the system that has educated the young in glorifying leaders who are responsible for genocide, segregation, famines, slavery and other despicable acts that are also now in the modern era considered crimes against humanity.

Also With Black Lives Matter, it is a movement to introduce an in-depth view of what colonialism was, to shed light on the injustices that still plague international society as a whole and that racism and white supremacy has no place within the 21st century and beyond, including police brutality. Take for example Saddam Hussein statue being taken down by his people after the Iraq war and the statue of a 17th-century slave trader, Edward Colston who enslaved and sold "100,000 black people", they both oppressed people for power, profit and forced influence.

To conclude, even though that the statues are in the public square glorifying slave merchants within the UK, Confederate soldiers in America and authoritarians such as Saddam Hussein, we must take them down so that this cancer of racism and any form of a superiority complex, including white supremacy does not repeat in the 21st century; also other countries education systems must learn in-depth of colonialism as well as human rights both in high schools and Primary Schools without glorifying slave merchants and world leaders who had caused crimes against humanity. Universities learn colonialism in-depth, so why cannot primary and secondary education systems learn about it too, in both developed and developing countries?


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