Let's alter history

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Kamisiana
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Re: Let's alter history

Postby Kamisiana » Sun Jun 21, 2020 7:41 pm

I may be wrong as well mouche but if Wellemsen was governor and Wellemsen and Petterson were part of the processing team does that not make them a bit more than crew members??
PS have you got your flight refund yet.

Maud
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Re: Let's alter history

Postby Maud » Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:24 pm

History is one thing. Erecting statues to people who made money out of selling human beings Is another. Statues are usually there to glorify a person. The removal of the Colston statue had been under discussion for quite a few years. - It has a place in history.....but that place is in a museum.

I don’t condone the desecrating of it, but I can understand why it happened. Bristol is a small city with a very diverse population. It has two universities and has always had a young population. Many people who study in the city remain after they graduate. It has a ‘good feel’ about it. It is not full of aggressive reformers trying to alter history. On the contrary, it is proud of its Brunel connection re the suspension bridge etc. I think the removal of the stature, and the re-positioning of it in a museum, would have been a much better outcome. I struggle with the idea that a statue to a slave trader should be on view in a prominent location.

As I said earlier, statues are erected to honour people. Colston did not deserve to be honoured, even though he used is ill met gains for good purposes eventually. - Blood money is never good money!

Guy M
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Re: Let's alter history

Postby Guy M » Sun Jun 21, 2020 11:56 pm

Having an argument about whether Spain and Portugal were worse than Britain in the slave trade is a bit like having an argument about whether Britain or Italy has had a worse response (and hence worse death rates) to the virus. They’re both bad.

YoMo2
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Re: Let's alter history

Postby YoMo2 » Mon Jun 22, 2020 7:52 am

Kilkis wrote:There is quite a deep vein of racism running through Greek society, Andrew, it is just not directed at people like us so you don't really experience it. Even if you do experience, and I have, it is very mild and greatly outweighed by the more common respect. ......


I am very well aware of Greek racism, Warwick. I am pleased to be in Greece so I don't have to watch entitled anarchists running around pulling down statues. Well, I suppose I could probably do that if I popped up to Exarchia of an evening, but at least the police wouldn't be standing around watching.

Andrew

bobscott
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Re: Let's alter history

Postby bobscott » Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:28 am

Maud wrote:History is one thing. Erecting statues to people who made money out of selling human beings Is another. Statues are usually there to glorify a person. The removal of the Colston statue had been under discussion for quite a few years. - It has a place in history.....but that place is in a museum.

I don’t condone the desecrating of it, but I can understand why it happened. Bristol is a small city with a very diverse population. It has two universities and has always had a young population. Many people who study in the city remain after they graduate. It has a ‘good feel’ about it. It is not full of aggressive reformers trying to alter history. On the contrary, it is proud of its Brunel connection re the suspension bridge etc. I think the removal of the stature, and the re-positioning of it in a museum, would have been a much better outcome. I struggle with the idea that a statue to a slave trader should be on view in a prominent location.

As I said earlier, statues are erected to honour people. Colston did not deserve to be honoured, even though he used is ill met gains for good purposes eventually. - Blood money is never good money!


It's not often I disagree with you Maud, but can I just say gently that in the same way that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder' and 'one man's meat is another man's poison', can you be certain that it was the slave-trader who was being honoured by having a statue erected and his name used to identify a school, a concert hall, a street etc? Or was it the benefactor who saw fit to make good use of his (admittedly now seen as ill-gotten) cash? I wasn't around at the time these things happened, nor have I read any city council meeting minutes or whatever to gain an insight into the answer. A matter of perspective at the time perhaps? Must we re-write history? Bob
Yesterday today was tomorrow. Don't dilly dally!

Kamisiana
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Re: Let's alter history

Postby Kamisiana » Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:20 am

Yes bobscott exactly they want the statue of Thomas Guy taken down now, founder of Guy's Hospital and St Thomas's Hospital in London, because of his connections with the slave trade, his remains are also in the chapel of Guy's Hospital so shall we exhume him and throw his bones in the Thames for good measure.
I don't suppose the windrush generation and their offspring refuse treatment at these hospitals.
And while we are on it why not go back to the ancient Greek slave trade and the roman empire and destroy all that history
I think the conditions may have been a tad worse back then.

Kilkis
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Re: Let's alter history

Postby Kilkis » Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:49 am

YoMo2 wrote:...Well, I suppose I could probably do that if I popped up to Exarchia of an evening, but at least the police wouldn't be standing around watching.

Andrew


You are probably correct. I doubt if there would be any police around in Exarchia at all.

Warwick

Maud
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Re: Let's alter history

Postby Maud » Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:59 pm

You make a very good point as ever Bob. I thought you might like to read this? It is quite enlightening! I know some might argue that it is just one article, but I have family and friends who live in Bristol, (Not at the toppling of the statue protest I hasten to add!), and Colston’s deeds are well documented in the City’s history. The article below is factual. My niece and nephew attended Bristol Grammar School, and I can assure everyone here that Colston and his history (good and bad), does not go untaught.

https://theconversation.com/edward-cols ... ist-140271

I don’t believe I ever said Colston erected the statue to himself, as it was done over a hundred years after his death, but sadly it was erected to glorify a man whose dealings in the slave trade were despicable. You can see in the article that even those that erected the statue did not necessarily have good intentions! It says a lot about the U.K. at those times.

I don’t believe in re-writing history. I have always been a keen student of it. I do however think there is a ‘place‘ for statues of people like Colston......and it is in a museum. - After all, museums are somewhere that we all go to understand history!

Tearing it down is another matter.....and not acceptable.

Kilkis
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Re: Let's alter history

Postby Kilkis » Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:10 pm

You cannot escape the fact that people are complicated. Statues tend to be erected to celebrate a person because of something the person has done. Of course that person has probably done many things in his life and they probably don't all warrant celebration.

For example the statue of Churchill is to celebrate and acknowledge what he did in WWII in the fight against fascism. I think most people can generally accept that such a celebration is deserved. Was Churchill some sort of angel? Absolutely not. He held deeply racist views about black people. Obviously the statue is not there to celebrate those views but if you were a black person who had to pass it every day knowing he held those views how would you feel? He authorised the raid on Dresden. That was not a normal raid to destroy Germany's war effort. It was deliberately designed to create a fire-storm in a major city to burn to death as many people as possible. No worse than what Hitler did to cities in the UK but if you were a descendant of someone who died in that raid now living in London how would you feel walking past his statue? If you were Indian or Sudanese how would you feel? His record in those countries both in his early career and later is hardly shinning white. There were many times during WWII where intelligence was gained, through Bletchley Park, of some imminent action, e.g. a U boat being about to sink a civilian ship. Churchill would often order that no action should be taken in case it allowed Germany to discover that we could crack their codes. Keeping our capabilities secret for some future event was more important than a few hundred people's lives but if you were a descendant of one of those who died how would you feel about his statue? You can make similar arguments about Gandhi, Mandela etc.

I would prefer to see some positive action going forward. I am against all forms of discrimination because it means that someone is making a decision for the wrong reason. I don't believe at all in the term "positive discrimination". All discrimination is for somebody and against somebody. Perhaps the top level of education is an area where some form of discrimination could work. Cecil Rhodes used the wealth he accrued to endow the Rhodes Trust which provides scholarships for very gifted students. Since Rhodes made his fortune from black workers in his diamond mines working in appalling conditions for pitiful wages perhaps the trust could change its rules so that only black people can apply. I am sure that there are plenty of black scholars around the world who could qualify for and benefit from a scholarship of this sort. If the BoE is ashamed of it's history perhaps it could endow some scholarships at LSE that are only open to BAME candidates. Perhaps Green King could endow some in chemistry to the same group.

Warwick

bobscott
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Re: Let's alter history

Postby bobscott » Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:08 pm

Thanks Maud. I too have family living and working in Bristol. A friend who taught at Colston Girls School. A long (12 year) association with Bristol Choral Society whose 'home' for concerts is the Colston Hall. I hadn't read the article before and thank you for that. Like many such, it makes good points, some 'personal views' which assume a mantle of veracity simply because they are part of the article, etc.

I agree with you about monuments and museums. Something we (as a nation) can learn to explore more fully in future.

The main point I am trying to make, I guess, is that there needs to be a limit to 'being offended' by something or someone (especially if they are dead!!). One can spend all day arguing the toss about the various merits of just about anything or anyone. I could say, that seeing a mosque in Gloucester offends me as a member of the Anglican Church (but I don't, because it doesn't!) I confess to being a bit fed up about 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' and its potential banning from Rugby matches though. A protest too far, I think. Bob.
Yesterday today was tomorrow. Don't dilly dally!

Maud
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Re: Let's alter history

Postby Maud » Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:47 pm

Being staunch rugby fans, (all be it Welsh!), I agree with you Bob. You are also correct about people being too easily offended by things. It almost seems ‘fashionable’ these days to object to just about everything.

I do however have a ‘bee in my bonnet’ about slavery or bias against black people. When I did my first teaching practise in the late 1960’s, the regular class teacher was West African. Coincidentally we shared a surname. I always think back happily at how the class of 10 year olds asked me on my first day if I was their teachers daughter?!! I just wish that sense of innocence still existed everywhere.

I am a dreamer!

john4d
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Re: Let's alter history

Postby john4d » Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:55 pm

Oh look here's a parapet I'll stick my head over it.

1) I saw an interview on TV with one of the activists in Bristol who said (paraphrased) "We sent a petition to the Council to have it removed, they talked about it but did nothing, so we had to take action" However just the cause can the over riding of democracy be allowed?

2) Surely many of those people of colour who were demonstrating recent roots were in the Caribbean, where their ancestors had been taken as slaves. If that hadn't happened they wouldn't find themselves in Bristol now? Because of Tribal Wars, Civil War and appaling child mortality in Africa, probably nowhere.

3) When I was at school many years ago I was taught that strong African Tribes captured members of weaker African Tribes, took them into slavery and then sold them to Arab Slave Traders who sold them on, or took them to the coast and sold them to European Slave Traders.This was the Slave Trade and the Traders were not just white. It was a chain and if any link in the chain had broken, from the Black Africans who captured the slaves to the white plantation owners who bought them, the trade would not exist. Why are they protesting against one link in the chain, why not against all of the chain? The British are traders, they will trade anything for a profit. It's less than 160 years since we were at war with China because they wanted us to stop selling them opium. By todays standards trading slaves and opium is appalling. Who said "The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there"
There's no such thing as a bad taste joke

bobscott
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Re: Let's alter history

Postby bobscott » Tue Jun 23, 2020 8:58 am

Maud wrote: When I did my first teaching practise in the late 1960’s, the regular class teacher was West African. Coincidentally we shared a surname. I always think back happily at how the class of 10 year olds asked me on my first day if I was their teachers daughter?!! I just wish that sense of innocence still existed everywhere.

I am a dreamer!


Love it! Bob. :D
Yesterday today was tomorrow. Don't dilly dally!

bobscott
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Re: Let's alter history

Postby bobscott » Tue Jun 23, 2020 9:03 am

[quote="john4d"]Oh look here's a parapet I'll stick my head over it.

1) I saw an interview on TV with one of the activists in Bristol who said (paraphrased) "We sent a petition to the Council to have it removed, they talked about it but did nothing, so we had to take action" However just the cause can the over riding of democracy be allowed?

In an ideal world, NO. However, from the PM, through politicians down to the most lowly of council officers, they have to bear some responsibility for inaction. The phrase 'as soon as possible' is, as I have said before on this forum, the most frequently mis-understood weasel phrase of all. In essence it really means - it will never be possible, but we will keep it on the back burner. Any inferred suggestion that the phrase might lead to some action, soon, is utterly misplaced. Bob.
Yesterday today was tomorrow. Don't dilly dally!

Forsto
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Re: Let's alter history

Postby Forsto » Tue Jun 23, 2020 9:17 am

Perfectly illustrated in Yes, Prime Minister The Four Stage Strategy. Just as apt today as thirty years ago.


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