Letter to the editor: Tear them down
To the editor:
The removal of statues is not the “destruction of history.” It is history.
Statues are a reflection of history. They are not the keepers of it. The act of putting up and taking down monuments has always been political, purposeful and an organic part of cultural evolution.
You will not find fascist statues in Rome. There are no Nazi monuments in Berlin. In Bucharest, Soviet iconography was chipped away from buildings with hammers following the 1989 Romanian Revolution. In those cities, monuments are built to remember the survivors and victims of atrocities. Not to glorify their oppressors.
No one called the Europeans who tore down fascist monuments or the combined team of U.S. Marines and Iraqi citizens who tore down the statue of Saddam Hussein in 2003 “criminals and violent protestors.” So, do not use those phrases now to describe the actions of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Confederate statues put up in the decades following the end of the Civil War misuse history to mask blatant racism. It is not a coincidence that a monument to Robert E. Lee was placed close to the Virginia Capitol in 1890, 25 years after the Civil War. The statue was built to intimidate people.
It is naïve to think removing statues facilitates a forgetting of history. History is kept in libraries, museums or in the minds of its witnesses. We remove statues to stop glorifying the exploitation of human lives.
So, coming from an archaeologist: Tear them down.
Kennedy Younger Dold,