Saturday, 30 January 2016

Building Statues

When you get off the ferry at Le Harve in France, as you walk towards the town centre you are greeted by a huge statue of Napoleon on his horse.
It is not just Le Harve but all cities in France seem to have a statue dedicated to a megalomaniac who invaded and slaughtered his way across Europe and in whose footsteps Hitler trod a century later only with mechanised infantry rather than on horseback.
While Hitler is rightly reviled as evil, the equally vicious and repugnant Napoleon seems to have a
romanticised image and so statues of him are not treated the same as if statues of Adolf adorned the streets of Berlin. 
That is the problem with statues, someone somewhere will be repulsed by them especially as in the UK we seem to have a penchant for erecting statues to military personnel, men such as the Dambusters of Bomber Command who have a memorial in London's Green Park.
The Dam's they busted resulted in almost 2000 civilian deaths so should we be building monuments to people like this which is behind the furore over the statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oxford University, a white supremist who wreaked havoc in Africa and represented Britain at it empirical worst.
In his time, when Britannia Ruled The Waves, anyone stomping around the globe and putting the natives down while they raped and pillaged the land for Blighty was a hero, in the cold light of the 21st Century we seem them for the hideous creatures that they were.
I imagine Napoleon was viewed the same way in France, today we may see a precursor of the great dictators of the 20th Century but in 19th Century France he was thought to be doing his part to turn France into a major European power.
What is wrong is when we can see how misguided our ancestors were but still keep the sculptures built in their honour and that is why i believe the Oxford University is wrong in their decision to not remove the Rhodes statue from the University.
What i would certainly avoid is building further remembrances to any more political or military personnel because who may seem perfectly worth celebrating today, may be seen in a very different light by future generations.

5 comments:

Keep Life Simple said...

You know, you make your judgments sound very righteous, but bad guys kill people. Good guys cannot kill the bad guys without hurting innocent people. Current day proof, In the Middle East the Islamic fighters use schools, hospitals, and playgrounds hoping that the good guys will not strike. The bad guys will kill regardless of what the good guys do. The statues are usually of people that were willing to kill the bad guys.

Falling on a bruise said...

I am sure you would feel the same way if your family were killed by a good guy trying to kill a bad guy. I am also sure you wouldn't mind a statue being set up to permanently commemorate the good guy afterwards.

Keep Life Simple said...

I would not like it Lucy, but I would understand that for some to have freedom, there must be loss.

You don't get rid of the likes of hitler and Hito without innocent people dying

Falling on a bruise said...

Hopefully you will never get the chance to find out just how much you wouldn't like it or how understanding you would be about it.

Keep Life Simple said...

Hopefully.