All over the globe statues are being held to account for past wrongs committed throughout the annals (it means records you perv) of history. I guess until the powers that be figure out how to address actual living people with blood and guts persecuting and exterminating other real live humans, we’ll have to make do with making sure these concrete figures pay!!.
Now some people put forward the argument that removing these statues is a misguided attempt to rewrite history. They assert that people wouldn’t know about the past if we mistakenly remove these historical figures.
My response to this is a spitty “pfffftt”. Nobody is advocating rewriting history. I mean what would that accomplish? Would it change the fact that the Native Americans were virtually wiped out and their land swindled from them for nothing more than a few beads and the toy at the bottom of the KLIM milk pan?
No, the idea is that statues and street names are reserved for commemorating and honoring someone. Granted at the point in time these monuments were created there may have been very different prevalent societal values but as societies evolve are we not expected to do better?
History isn’t recorded in statues, it’s recorded by scribes and passed down in books and on film (for people like me who don’t like to read). Hitler was a huge part of German history but I’m sure you’d be hard pressed to find a statue of him and his homies. People shouldn’t be forced to eternally view their oppressors.
Which brings me to the statue of Christopher Columbus that was recently “redecorated” in Port of Spain. From my reading, Columbus was indeed a bastard (pardon my French), he was so wicked and bad that in the year 1500 he was carried back to Spain in chains for what he did to the natives in Hispaniola. He definitely doesn’t deserve a statue anywhere in the New World as he played a key role in the genocide that followed. However, did you know when he re-discovered Trinidad on his third voyage he was short on water and after refilling was scared off by the natives down South. I can empathize with him there.
Apart from Columbus a number of other historical world figures have come under attack and rightfully so. Winston Churchill’s legacy is under pressure because he was apparently a big stinking racist (a BSR) and there is evidence that he actually knew about the concentration camps in WWII but decided that’s a problem for another day. Procrastination gone horribly wrong? Hmm?
Then there are all the slave traders, plantation owners and Confederate commanders who have all manner of tributes and statues all over the US. Having spent 5 years in North Carolina where the Confederate flag was ever visible I am in full agreement with removing these symbols of brutality, not toward me personally but toward the ancestors of people of color in the US. The tricky part of this new enlightenment is getting rid of the slave owners whose pics are on US money (Washington, Jackson, Jefferson and Franklin). Anyone too offended could send those notes to me and I’ll deal with them free of charge.
Locally, I hope once we’re done with Columbus we don’t stop there. We have Churchill, Picton, Chacon, Wrightson and all those other colonial figures to deal with. We might need a Minister of Removing Offensive Monuments. His first task should probably be changing the name of the country back to “Iere” which it was called before it was renamed to Trinidad by…you guessed it….Christopher Columbus.