It must be wonderful to be as perfect as all the protestors who are currently ripping statues off their bases and throwing history down the memory hole.
But the greatest men of history (and yes, history does idolise men and for centuries women were not allowed to do much so it tends to be men) tended to break a few eggs as they did their deeds.
So while Churchill was fighting the greatest scumbag in history, he diverted grain from India to feed Allied troops.
It is estimated that 3 million Bengals died.
Is it therefore wrong that we idolise Churchill?
Here’s the thing: Churchill isn’t celebrated for killing the Bengals.
He’s celebrated for being a major player in the defeat of the Nazis. If he was celebrated for killing the Bengals then there would be a problem not just with Churchill, but with our moral compass.
But here’s the good news: his statue is a reminder not only of the good that he did but the bad he did as well. History does not have to be unvarnished, nor our heroes untarnished.
For some reason, a historian thinks this is good. but then, Julia Baird does host The Drum:
One of the more perplexing arguments made in recent days is that toppling, relocating or removing old statues amounts to the erasure of history. It is in fact the very opposite: it is history. To seek a fuller understanding of the past is not wrecking, but restoring, salvaging and deepening history.
History is not just a set of facts but a series of questions, a mode of inquiry that seeks to comprehend and put flesh on dates, events and places, to understand and include all possible perspectives, all while knowing that, until about 50 years ago, history was almost solely written by white men, about white men.
Celebrities are idiots
I could care less about old statues. This is a great understanding as to why. Thank you @bairdjulia The toppling of statues is enriching not erasing history and it has thrilled my heart https://t.co/7GGKnGoZ86
— David Campbell (@DavidCampbell73) June 12, 2020
So he does care … even if it’s just a little.
And Tim Soutphommasane should be classed a celebrity (D-grade) as his output beyond the look-at-me is zero, as this tweet proves.
Given previous controversies involving police in Australia about this, no police officer can pretend they don’t know this is a sign appropriated by white supremacists https://t.co/YpKrayfXSE
— Tim Soutphommasane (@timsout) June 13, 2020
Tim’s talking about story on the ABC websites over the weekend (the second par has not been doctored):
NSW Police says an officer filmed appearing to make a symbol linked to white power “did not intentionally make a gesture that could be deemed offensive”.
Filmmaker Jen Atherton, who uses neutral pronouns, was leaving last night’s Black Lives Matter march in Sydney when they recorded the video.
In it, a group of 14 police officers wearing surgical face masks are seen crossing the road on Pitt Street.
One officer looks at the camera, raises his arm and with his thumb and index finger makes an OK sign — a gesture that has been co-opted by the far right, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
The Guardian, never one to let stupid pass it by, also got in on the act:
That is one way to look at it.
Another way is to look at how the left is being trolled, which even the ADL admitted in 2017:
It is important to realize that the “OK” gesture is a nearly universal hand gesture and most usage of it is completely innocuous. Even when used as described here, the fact that white supremacists, the alt lite and many Trump supporters all use the symbol means that one cannot assume that anyone who poses with such a gesture is intending or exhibiting an association with white supremacy. Only if the gesture occurs in context with other clear indicators of white supremacy can one draw that conclusion.
So, are these people using it innocently or are they vicious white supremacists?
Waylon Jennings (b 1937)
A country legend and the man who gave his seat up to Buddy Holly on the fateful day the music died.
Ella Fitzgerald (d 1996)
From the Sunshine of Your Love album – well worth a listen.
FEATURE IMAGE: Photo by Sam Carter on Unsplash.