Sunday, 7 June 2020

Tear Slave Owner Statues Down and put them in a Museum


I assume most of you have now seen the glorious footage showing the statue of slave owner Edward Colston being torn down and thrown into the Bristol channel. This action was taken by protesters after decades attempting to have the statue removed through democratic processes. Sadly those pleas fell on deaf ears, providing further evidence of the systemic racism which exists in modern Britain. The arguments in favour of keeping the statue have been predictably absurd:

"We must keep the statues for education!"

"Let's not rewrite history!"

"Colston was a product of his time!"

Let's get real here. Have you ever felt educated while walking past a statue? Would you even know the statue was of a slave owner, unless someone pointed it out? I know I probably wouldn't. In reality, I learnt more about Robert Colston in the five minutes after his statue was torn down than I learnt in all the decades the statue was up. The only people rewriting history are those who build statues to slave owners and other monsters, celebrating their supposed achievements while remaining quiet about their crimes, so here's the solution:
If we genuinely want to preserve history, if we genuinely want to educate future generations and learn from past mistakes, let's tear down every slave owner statue. We can put them on display in a museum where instead of focusing on glorification, we tell the true story about these terrible people, about how their wealth was built around slavery, about how their achievements were actually the achievements of black people.
We do not need a statue of Edward Colston any more than Baghdad needed a statue of Saddam Hussein, and I don't recall too many tears when that statue was torn down. Why are so many British people able to see with such moral clarity the importance of removing the statue of a tyrant in Baghdad, but not a slave owner in Bristol? Think about this. Would you want to walk past a statue of a man who enslaved your people every day? That's not educational or historical, it's grotesque.
Let's get these statues out of our town squares, end the glorification of monsters and make a sincere effort to educate people on the crimes of the slave trade in the same way we educate on the horrors of the holocaust. This would be a hugely symbolic step, a message to the black community we are finally taking their concerns seriously and learning. A message  we are genuinely sorry and ready to end systemic racism.
One more thing, I am hearing the police are searching for the "culprits" which begs the question: which is the bigger crime - tearing the statue down or erecting it in the first place?
To me it's absurd to suggest this is an act of criminal damage, it was a fight back against racism. To that end, I suggest that if anyone is prosecuted for this, they start a fundraiser. I would gladly contribute towards their legal fees or any fines.

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