What is history? The subject came up at a discussion I participated in, in the context of statues of Confederate notables , such as Gen. Robert E. Lee, being removed in America’s South. Doesn’t this constitute a re-writing of history? Or is it legitimate to remove symbols that remind us of “distasteful” events in the past? Or is it a question of degree? For example, a statue of Hitler would be regarded as distasteful by almost everyone. Obviously there are no easy answers!
There have been lots of instances of statues being removed over the years. For example Ukraine recently removed all statues of Lenin (apparently 1,320 in total). And in recent years, the removal of statues has been raised in Russia. This wouldn’t be new: statues of the Tsars were removed after the 1917 revolution. Is it that history is politics looking backwards?
If so, how ought it work at Cooma, where there are flags denoting the countries from which people who worked on the project came; should these be changed as the countries change (such has occurred in the Balkans), or even as countries change their flag (as with South Africa)?
The above barely touches on the the topic. Right now, there are discussions occurring in Australia about statues of Captain Cook (even if the discussion seems to be more about the inscription), and not so long ago in Britain, there was an issue about the statue of Cecil B Rhodes at Oriel College, Oxford. Perhaps topics for future posts!