Thursday, 21 January 2016

Pulling down Cecil Rhodes statue

is not the answer. I am sorry if you disagree but it isn't. If you pull down his statue then you will have to pull down every other statue you can find.
Rhodes wasn't perfect. Nobody is. That should not deny him a place in history.
If we are to deny Rhodes a place in history then we have to deny people like Mahatma Gandhi - a racist - and Nelson Mandela - a convicted terrorist/murderer - their places as well Going to do that? Seriously? What about adding George Washington and Thomas Jefferson? They owned slaves. Winston Churchill was no saint either.
Here Downunder we have a list as long as your arm of local "heroes" who were quite definitely not saints. The present day Labor party likes to ignore the fact that they gave PM Barton support conditional on his bringing in the Immigration Restriction Act (aka as "the White Australia Policy").  There's a suburb in Canberra named after him - along with other things. Add some people like the irascible John Flynn (who started the Flying Doctor Service) and Ned Kelly (a violent bushranger) to the list of those people regard as heroes and have put up statues to and really Rhodes doesn't look any worse. 
Yes, start on the road of pulling down a statue because some young people don't like what it stands for and you are on a slippery slope towards denying history. I wonder what they think of the present day situation in Zimbabwe. Are Zimbabweans now better off? Ian Smith was no saint either but can we compare him with Robert Mugabe?
Rhodes statue should stay where it is - along with a lot of other statues. Children should learn about the good and the not so good in history. They should learn all human beings have faults. Add a plaque to a statue saying that if you must but don't pull it down  because, in the words of George Santayana,
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
We need to be reminded.


jeanfromcornwall said...

Thanks for that.
Statues can be a great reminder, and history should be remembered, since it can't be changed.
That will help explain a recent Prime Minister of ours, who freely admitted to not knowing much about history, thought it might be a good idea to sort out Afghanistan. Anyone who has a litte knowledge of 19th century history knows that the Golden Rule is "Don't go into Afghanistan!"

catdownunder said...

Surely someone told him that Afghanistan cannot be sorted out?