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Protesters Say Statue Tripped, Fell Into Water

Written By: - Date published: 9:09 am, June 9th, 2020 - 100 comments
Categories: humour, internet, racism, Satire, twitter, uk politics, uncategorized - Tags:

In Bristol there used to be a statute of a slave trader, Edward Coulson.  He spent some of the profits from slave trading on beautifying Bristol and as he was at the time thought to be a great guy the city of Bristol erected a statue of him.

But no more.  During a Black Lives matter protest the statute has been taken down and deposited into the nearby harbour.

The York Press has this description:

Police have launched an investigation after protesters in Bristol pulled down the controversial statue of a 17th Century slave trader.

The bronze memorial to Edward Colston, situated in the city centre since 1895, was torn down after crowds left the city’s College Green and later was dumped into Bristol harbour.

On Sunday, around 10,000 people took part in the Black Lives Matter demonstration, which was praised by Avon and Somerset police for being “peaceful and respectful”.

No arrest were made, but officers are now said to be collating footage of a “small group of people” who were filmed pulling down the statue with ropes, which police say amounted to criminal damage.

The statute understandably caused a great deal of consternation.  Again from the article:

… protester John McAllister, 71, tore down black bin bags used to hide the statue to denounce it in front of fellow protesters.

He said: “It says ‘erected by the citizens of Bristol, as a memorial to one of the most virtuous and wise sons of this city’.

“The man was a slave trader. He was generous to Bristol but it was off the back of slavery and it’s absolutely despicable. It’s an insult to the people of Bristol.”

Twitter had a field day and a wag started a feed mimicing the excuses offered by police throughout the world when protesters find themselves injured while engaging with the police.

It started with this tweet:

https://twitter.com/profmusgrave/status/1269724849057996800

Some of the responses are hilarious.

https://twitter.com/profmusgrave/status/1269734578656366592

Google Maps and Wikipedia were almost instantaneously updated.

100 comments on “Protesters Say Statue Tripped, Fell Into Water”

  1. Gosman 1

    This is appalling.

    First off there is no evidence that Edward Coulson's wealth came primary from slave trading. He was in fact involved in a large number of commercial activities.

    Secondly he is not be commemorated or recognised for his activites as a Slave trader. He is being recognised for his actions in providing Bristol with many public amenities. If you think this shouldn't be done then you also should think the US should not recognise Washington or Jeffersone who lived AFTER Coulson.

    Finally, where do you stop? Is it only European history that needs to be sanitised in such a manner? What about people who engaged in the Slave trade from other cultures (e.g. Maori, Chinese, Arab, etc, etc)?

    • The Al1en 1.1

      Let go of those tightly grasped pearls. The people have spoken, well, some of them anyway. The big test will be to see if there's a movement to re erect the statue of Colston, and if so, which side the Bristol city council come down on. My guess, the statue is gone forever, or stuck in a museum back room.

      • Gosman 1.1.1

        The mob has spoken. If you think we should decide what to do as a result of mob rule good luck in keeping society stable.

        • observer 1.1.1.1

          Can you give us a link to the unstable riots now happening in Bristol? No.

          Their democracy is very stable. At the next council elections, candidates can stand on a policy of bringing the statue back (but they won't) and get elected (but they won't) and then restore it (but they won't).

          The Colston name has been removed from numerous Bristol places. Nothing happened. Stable.

          • Matiri 1.1.1.1.1

            Bristol has form for clever protest – it is the home of Massive Attack and Banksy.

        • The Al1en 1.1.1.2

          Now it’s down, I'd be happy for the city to take a poll on whether it should go back up, you know? like a democratic decision on whether to have a statue commemorating a shameful slaver on show.

        • Tricledrown 1.1.1.3

          Shifting the blame as usual white privilege at it's best.

          The slaves had no choice as mobs of white slave traders abducted 100's of 1,000s of humans because their skin colour made it easy for them to be dehumanized.

          Colston was the biggest Slave trader in Europe ,His slavery business may not have been his biggest income earner but you are trying to troll as usual lame blame shifting you are an enabler.Continuing the despicable treatment of victims of white superiority..

          • Gosman 1.1.1.3.1

            Where is your evidence that Colston was the biggest Slave trader in Europe?

            • RedLogix 1.1.1.3.1.1

              That is a difficult question to answer Gosman. The definition of 'biggest' very much depends on the period and the geography you consider.

              Still this wikepedia article on the History of Slavery is a good introduction to the sheer complexity and scope of this difficult story.

            • Brendan 1.1.1.3.1.2

              Why are you so desperate to defend a slave trader? Have I woken in 1720, not 2020?

    • observer 1.2

      Not sanitised. Learned.

      I lived in Bristol for several years, back in the 1980s, and Colston's history was ignored. As was the city's.

      Now it's in the world headlines. I'd rather this was achieved by petitions and politeness – but it wasn't, was it?

      • Gosman 1.2.1

        What about Colston's history was ignored? His involvement in the Slave trade was not hidden. How much of his wealth was directly attributed to that trade is unknown. His philanthropic efforts that benefited the people of Bristol were not directly celebrating slavery. You may as well argue that the Nobel prizes should be discontinued because some of the money setting them up was made morally suspect activity.

        • observer 1.2.1.1

          24 hours ago you'd never heard of him, so spare us the Instant-Google lectures.

          • McFlock 1.2.1.1.1

            Funny thing about the Nobel Prizes: they were intended as an atonement for his armaments manufacturing after he read a premature obituary.

            So they weren't created by other people as a thanks-for-all-the-murder-money gesture.

            And the roles of Washington, Jefferson , and most of the other "founding fathers" of the USA in slavery is also well documented and tends to cause friction when they are praised and monuments erected. But the monuments to confederate traitors who fought to maintain slavery tend to get the bulk of the attention at this stage.

        • miravox 1.2.1.2

          "What about Colston's history was ignored? "

          Ignored doesn't mean it wasn't there or it was hidden. It means it was ignored/disregarded/not acknowledged or any other synonym of ignored you wish to choose.

          observer says: "I lived in Bristol for several years, back in the 1980s, and Colston's history was ignored…"

          And yes, it wasn't until 1999 that Colston's history was re-examined. I was living in the UK then and I well-remember the call to acknowledge Coulson's role in slavery. It was a well-supported, strong call that was ignored.

          While double-checking that date, I came across this:

          https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-bristol-42404825

          Several years ago the call for 'Countering Colston' began.

          This is not some new mob, but people with a long-held belief that history needed to revisit (not eliminate) Colston's legacy.

          Sure the result was extreme – but, yeah for 20 years or more, the petitions and politeness were ineffective in getting the council to move that statue.

    • Tricledrown 1.3

      Gossip man Lame Blame shifting he was the largest slave trader in Europe. Your white privilege is built on the back of exploitation and deprivation of fellow humans.

      • Gosman 1.3.1

        Where is your evidence he was the biggest slave trader in Europe?

        • weka 1.3.1.1

          You already asked that. Popping you into premod to make sure you stay on the debate not the trolling side of things.

          • Gosman 1.3.1.1.1

            I responded to somebody making the same unsubstantiated claim about him. If people are going to do this why am I the one trolling to ask for evidence?

            • weka 1.3.1.1.1.1

              Pattern of behaviour, Gosman, we've been here many times before. Just slow it down a bit, and stop doing multiple comments on the same thing.

        • Winchester 1.3.1.2

          Hey Grossman, I’m not sure why you are affected by this decision or action if 1. You might not possibly even reside in Bristol UK or 2. Have any sort of connection to Colton or Bristol UK but since you’ve requested ‘evidence’ (and since I don’t really use wiki for reliable source, mostly synopsis) he was involved in a company that transport 84,000 men, women, and children. A portion of his fortune came from slave trading as well as sugar and other slave-produced / related goods.

          the source I’ve decided to refer and use is from an article published by BBC itself , and not only is it a reliable source, I’m sure they can’t be spreading or writing false informations or claims on actual history.

          https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-bristol-47670756

    • solkta 1.4

      Yes there must be statues of Maori and Chinese slave traders all over Bristol. Bring them all down i say.

      • Gosman 1.4.1

        Do you think the memorial to Te Rauparaha at Otaki should be pulled down? The commonly held view of history is that he was a substantial slave owner.

        " Chiefs such as Hongi Hika and Te Rauparaha were said to have had least 2000 slaves each"

        https://www.noted.co.nz/archive/archive-listener-nz-2015/slave-stories

        • RedLogix 1.4.1.1

          In making this point, it's vital to understand that our modern repudiation of chattel slavery must be even handed and universal. And that it is up to each culture to confront this in a manner that is both visible and meaningful to them.

          There is no calculus here that says because Te Rauparaha had slaves, therefore Colston must be exonerated.

          Incidentally my mother found written records that her great grandmother who arrived in Russell in 1832 (she was an American incidentally) had a stand up argument with Hongi Hika and actually won!

        • weka 1.4.1.2

          Full paragraph from your quote,

          But Petrie argues that such accounts relate to a particular – and exceptional – time in Maori history. Many migrants and visitors arrived in New Zealand between 1810 and 1830, when the intertribal musket wars were at their peak. Vast areas were being cleared to grow potatoes, the main currency for buying muskets, and a huge labour force was needed. Chiefs such as Hongi Hika and Te Rauparaha were said to have had least 2000 slaves each, “and they are rationing food”, says Petrie, “so everyone is going hungry and slaves and war captives are suffering”.

          The whole article is about how modern ideas about Māori slavery have been influenced by missionary etc writings in the 1800s, and missing context of the land wars. It's actually a pretty interesting read, but the upshot is that we don't know much about slavery in those times and it seems unlikely to be akin to the slavery being discussed in this post.

          "Us Maoris used to practise slavery,” says Beth Heke in Alan Duff’s Once Were Warriors, “just like them poor Negroes had to endure in America.”

          Hazel Petrie, historian and honorary research fellow in Maori Studies at the University of Auckland, is sceptical. As she explains in Outcasts of the Gods? The Struggle Over Slavery in Maori New Zealand, a comprehensive investigation into Maori slavery in the early 19th century, there were certainly prisoners and those at the very bottom of the social order.

          “But it is not easy to tell whether the person being talked about is a war captive or whether they have low status because of lowly whakapapa,” Petrie says. “Some of the people who would have been called slaves and treated like slaves may have been criminals who had been expelled or exiled from their own communities.”

          This is the “struggle” of the book’s subtitle, the still-unresolved questions about the meaning of the word “slave”; who they were; and how they were treated. Any answers to these questions, Petrie argues, must be read in the context of the times in which the reports of “so-called slavery” were written.

          https://www.noted.co.nz/archive/archive-listener-nz-2015/slave-stories

          • RedLogix 1.4.1.2.1

            Many migrants and visitors arrived in New Zealand between 1810 and 1830, when the intertribal musket wars were at their peak. Vast areas were being cleared to grow potatoes, the main currency for buying muskets, and a huge labour force was needed.

            But nonetheless until 1840 the iwi chiefs were the absolute and dominant political force in this country. There is nowhere else to turn for accountability.

            You would fully reject any argument that said that US slavery was justified as the result of a 'particular and exceptional' period of history. It was of course the result of very similar forces, the global use of deep water navigation by Europeans, the advent of new economic forces and opportunities and intensification resulting from new technologies. All this is an explanation for why it happened, it doesn't concede one millimeter on the moral argument against it.

    • Andre 1.5

      First off there is no evidence that Edward Coulson's wealth came primary from slave trading. He was in fact involved in a large number of commercial activities.

      Dunno, it seems the Bristol city council was persuaded of the evidence Colston's wealth came from slave-trading and from industries that depended heavily on those slaves. They were about to put a plaque on the plinth saying:

      Edward Colston (1636–1721), MP for Bristol (1710–1713), was one of this city's greatest benefactors. He supported and endowed schools, almshouses, hospitals and churches in Bristol, London and elsewhere. Many of his charitable foundations continue. This statue was erected in 1895 to commemorate his philanthropy. A significant proportion of Colston's wealth came from investments in slave trading, sugar and other slave-produced goods. As an official of the Royal African Company from 1680 to 1692, he was also involved in the transportation of approximately 84,000 enslaved African men, women and young children, of whom 19,000 died on voyages from West Africa to the Caribbean and the Americas.

      Also, it seems there wasn’t a whole lot of enthusiasm for the statue in the first place:

      Several appeals to the public and to Colston-related charitable bodies failed to raise the £1,000 needed for its casting and erection, and Arrowsmith ended up paying the shortfall himself

    • Gosman, if he made so much as a farthing from slave trading he's a shit that's best forgotten. And his other commercial activities are not slave trade free. Slave ships rarely sailed empty across the Atlantic, with the movement of slaves usually being just one leg of the voyage. The ships returned to Blighty with cargo from the Americas (the 'other' commercial activities you mention). It's all linked.

      Regarding Washington and Jefferson, I have further bad news for you. There are already calls to end the whitewashing of these slave owners' pasts. Discussion about how to properly reflect their full history has been going on in the States for years, and, yes, removal of their statues and monuments is on the agenda.

      • Macro 1.6.1

        The ships returned to Blighty with cargo from the Americas (the 'other' commercial activities you mention). It's all linked.

        Including "Privilege Slaves" who were sold off in Bristol as profit for the slave trading captains of the ships.

        Slave ship captains were often permitted to bring one or two enslaved people back to Britain and sell them privately for their own profit. The practice offered successful captains an additional bonus and the Africans enslaved in this manner were called “privilege negroes”. Many were young boys who were sold as exotic servants: fashion accessories. They appear as commodities for sale in advertisements in 18th-century Bristol newspapers, publications that also carried notices offering rewards for the recapture of enslaved people who had absconded from the grand homes of the city’s elite. Metres from where Colston’s statue now rests runs Pero’s Bridge, named after Pero Jones, one of those enslaved people who lived and died in Bristol. A man who may well have taken his first steps on British soil on the docks from which Colston’s statue was hurled.

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/08/edward-colston-statue-history-slave-trader-bristol-protest

      • RedLogix 1.6.2

        As in many other cultures, slavery was a key element of Māori society. Mōkai (servants or slaves) were usually spoils of war, condemned to lives of drudgery, danger, heavy physical work and obedience to their masters or mistresses' whims; they were expected to fight under supervision, could be used to negotiate with enemies, or as food if supplies were short. Female slaves might be prostitutes, or become secondary wives to their conquerors. Marriages between victorious chiefs and highborn women of defeated tribes strengthened the invaders' right to the land.

        http://www.theprow.org.nz/maori/slavery-in-colonial-times/

        I tell you what, I'm more than willing to support Europeans and Americans owning and repudiating the evils in our past. How about other cultures owning theirs?

        Then afterwards maybe we can all come together and celebrate the good we all done as well. Truth and reconciliation. Mandela was a remarkable man.

        • arkie 1.6.2.1

          Yikes. Irrelevant what-about-ism.

          • RedLogix 1.6.2.1.1

            You learned a little phrase 'what-about-ism' and trot it out when you have no argument.

            Why is it now that the victims of slavery, throughout history, in virtually every culture have been reduced to an ‘irrelevancy’? Their de-humanising suffering means nothing, can be ignored and conveniently erased because their colour and ethnicity doesn't fit with the hard left dogma of the day.

            • arkie 1.6.2.1.1.1

              Your ‘argument’ is literally “How about other cultures?”

              Irrelevant tu quoque fallacy.

              • RedLogix

                OK you win. Nothing to see here. Move along.

              • RedLogix

                Tu quoque "argument" follows the pattern:

                1. Person A makes claim X.
                2. Person B asserts that A's actions or past claims are inconsistent with the truth of claim X.
                3. Therefore, X is false.

                Except for one important detail … I'm not claiming step 3. At no point have I said that the European and American slave trade was anything other than an unmitigated evil.

                Therefore your fallacy is dismissed. Irrelevant if you like.

                • arkie

                  Excuse me, I have already been declared the winner. Please move along now, you're just embarrassing yourself.

                  • RedLogix

                    No I declared your logic to be selective and inconsistent, but you didn't notice.

                    Never mind. How about reading this for a bit of perspective? It's actually quite interesting, and a reasonable starting point to understand what is a very complex and difficult topic.

                    What is fascinating is how such a dehumanising practise, one that was understood by almost everyone to be a very undesirable state to fall into, was yet so universally embraced almost everywhere. And how many efforts were made to eradicate slavery, yet how persistently it reappeared.

                    The underlying reason was the diffuse, intermittent and low quality nature of the photosynthesis based energy all pre-industrial societies depended on. In a world where only plants and wood provided almost all the energy, domesticated animals and human slaves were the only means we use to perform concentrated, directed tasks at scale. Tasks that modern humans typically use electricity or fossil fuels for, heating, cleaning, construction, transport and so on.

                    The concept of 'energy slaves' is highly pertinent in this context. And in this view maybe it would be a good idea to consider that absent the modern energy sources available to us, we too would still be exploiting slaves every bit as cruelly as our ancestors did for over 10,000 years. Much of our loud moralising on this topic, covers for this hubris. We are really not any ethically superior to our slaver ancestors, it's just that we have the luxury of having better alternatives.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      A pox upon that wishy-washy photosynthesis!

                    • RedLogix

                      In many ways photosynthesis is responsible for all the things we love about the natural world. I'd never dream of calling a pox on it.

                      Yet humans are fundamentally a post-biological species, and our decoupling from the limits of photosynthesis is the root cause of the everything astonishing about the modern era, and all unsuspected potential we have yet to discover.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Decouple away, RedLogix! I'm looking in the direction of re-imagining photosynthesis and assigning it a more appropriate rating. Since the time when humans declared themselves "post-biological" there's been a certain amount of degradation suffered by the non-human world (for "certain" amount, read, "devastating") and I believe (as you know) that racing-ahead on our post-biological hover-boards isn't going to take us anywhere but down smiley

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      "Yet humans are fundamentally a post-biological species, and our decoupling from the limits of photosynthesis is the root cause of the everything astonishing about the modern era, and all unsuspected potential we have yet to discover."

                      'We' have photosynthesis to thank for fossil-fuelled “progress“. Hope some of that 'unsuspected potential' is realised, but hypothesise that our abundant "post-biological species" (?!) will remain dependent on photosynthesis for breathable air at least; it's in the nature of things.

                      Do animals control earth's oxygen level?
                      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190910105401.htm

                  • McFlock

                    lol

        • Sacha 1.6.2.2

          I tell you what, I'm more than willing to support Europeans and Americans owning and repudiating the evils in our past. How about other cultures owning theirs?

          Do tell us which public memorials to Māori slavers we can remove?

          • RedLogix 1.6.2.2.1

            Removing public statues and memorials is a symbolic act of repudiation. Maybe the equivalent act within the Maori context would be to burn down a few prominent wharenui, which are precisely the embodiment of the ancestors in the living world.

            Or not. (Really not, it's a horrible idea, but you asked.)

            • Robert Guyton 1.6.2.2.1.1

              To those Maori involved, wharenui are living beings, not symbolic representations. Bronze statues are not even in the ball-park.

              • RedLogix

                Well yes, I understand that possibly more intimately than you imagine.

                All the more reason then to hold them accountable for their past cultural practices.

                (Still a horrible idea.)

                • Robert Guyton

                  What, kill their ancestors/wharenui? That's holding them accountable?

                  • RedLogix

                    A much better question would be "how do I feel about the destruction of the statues of Stalin and Lenin at the collapse of the Soviet regime?"

                    My answer is this, and it's entirely consistent with my original point above, that it's really up to every people to take ownership of their own past and deal with in in their own way.

                    Unlike Gosman I'm not especially concerned about the fate of Colston’s bronze statue, except that possibly it would be better if the valuable metal had been properly recycled. Maybe some enterprising scappy will fish it out and make a quick quid on it.

                    What matters here is the visible symbology of repudiating the wrongs of our past; and in this there are no peoples on earth exempt. Then as I suggested, maybe we can come together and recognise the good we have all done as well … in a true reconciliation.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      The bushmen of the Kalahari seem pretty clean, or have I missed something? Looking also to the Archaic Goddess cultures to see if they've made statues that should be tossed overboard.

                    • Sacha

                      it's really up to every people to take ownership of their own past and deal with in in their own way.

                      And you can't ignore the cultural power context. English commercial trade in slaves from other nations is quite different than iwi warfare.

                    • RedLogix

                      English commercial trade in slaves from other nations is quite different than iwi warfare.

                      The scale may well be different, but TRP set the threshold above @10:12am when he said "Gosman, if he made so much as a farthing from slave trading he's a shit that's best forgotten".

                      But the underlying point you make is not an unreasonable one. The question it asks is 'why did this difference in scale arise'?

                      If you haven't read it yet I really recommend Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel. Like all works, it's not immune to criticism, but it's widely regarded as a fantastic introduction to geopolitics and the reasons why modern history has unfolded the way it did. It starts with asking exactly the question you have asked and shows the answers have nothing to do with 'racial supremacy' and everything to do with how geography, climate, plant and animal domestication all combined in one unique fashion to propel Europe into first place in the race to industrialisation.

                    • Sacha

                      Not just a difference in scale.

                    • Gosman

                      Bushmen is a derogatory term. The more culturally sensitive description is San people. However they themselves are not without sin as there is evidence they too migrated in to an area which may have been populated by another people and either displaced or absorbed them.

          • Gosman 1.6.2.2.2

            The monument to Te Rauparaha in Otaki and the name of the community facilities (e.g. Pool) in Porirua.

      • Gosman 1.6.3

        Te Rauparaha benefited from slavery. Should we ditch any recognition of him as well?

        • Robert Guyton 1.6.3.1

          Do you, Gosman, recognise Te Rauparaha?

        • Sacha 1.6.3.2

          Let's uproot all those public statues of him! Oh, wait..

          • RedLogix 1.6.3.2.1

            I could see this being toppled.

            I really hope this doesn't catch on, erasing history like this is what totalitarian movements like ISIS are very fond of doing.

            • Sacha 1.6.3.2.1.1

              Let's see what the iwi he harmed want to do.

            • joe90 1.6.3.2.1.2

              Seems it's a family memorial, erected by Tāmihana Te Rauparaha as a tribute to his father on the grounds of the Māori Anglican Rangiātea Church his father championed.

              • RedLogix

                In other words Tāmihana Te Rauparaha was a complex character, a bit like Edward Coulson maybe?

                During the 90's I spent much of my working life driving about the southern North Island and I made a point of visiting as many memorials and places like this as I could readily find. They're like signposts into our past, and often I found them quite moving. Too many people neglect them and only realise what they mean when they are lost.

                • joe90

                  AFAIK, no public money was used to erect a memorial to the murderous thug. And if there was, I say pull the fucking thing down.

                  • RedLogix

                    Well get busy with the towbar and snatch line. By current left wing standards there is precious little which passes all our purity tests.

                    When you're finished you can come back and explain how your symbolic erasure of our collective heritage is much different to this.

                    • It's not a collective heritage, its a selective heritage. As is well known, history is written by the winners and it is those in power who commission monuments to their own glory.

                      "At the end of an era the first thing to go are the heads of our leaders, kicked down in the road … "

                    • Gosman

                      Then by all means put up more monuments to people you would like commemorated instead of pulling down the ones you don't like.

                • Robert Guyton

                  Pots used to boil-down whale blubber feature in some small NZ towns; glorification or a poignant reminder? Should we also erect gallows where they once stood? Minnie Dean, hanged in Invercargill; should we bang together a few bits of wood in honour of … history?

    • weka 1.7

      "Finally, where do you stop?"

      I'm guessing at the point when the people with institutional power address systemic racism in a way that is meaningful to the people affected by racism.

      For instance, what you might think is important eg that Coulson made more money off other things, is not what other people think is important eg that Coulson was a significant slave trader. The issue then becomes about equity in the community and who has power in making decisions about what gets commemorated, how history gets presented, what is just.

      Because the UK still has systemic racism, there isn't equity in who gets to make decisions, and that inequity falls along the lines of ethnicity and race. In a time of many inequities and many people feeling disempowered, pulling down statues is almost an inevitability.

      • Gosman 1.7.1

        Of course people in positions of power get recognised more. Gandhi and Mandela held enormous power. That is how they managed to achieve what they did.

    • Andre 1.8

      Gotta tip my hat to ya, Gozzie, this has been one of the more successful troll-posts here on The Standard for quite a while.

    • AB 1.9

      Gosman sanitises Coulson in his opening sentences, then accuses other people of sanitising history by not sanitising Coulson. Impressive piece of trolling. I'd be interested to know if you felt the same about (say) Saddam Hussein's statue coming down or the Soviet-era statues removed in Eastern Europe? My preference actually would be not to chuck these monuments to an inhuman past into the river, but to do something like Budapest's Memento Park where the lesson isn't forgotten

    • Molly 1.10

      " This is appalling. "

      You are appalled by this?

      • I Feel Love 1.10.1

        the reaction is hilarious!

      • Incognito 1.10.2

        Gosman being appalled has a certain appeal but I just wish he’d cut to the chase and stop with those weak ‘equivalences’ when context matters. Context always matters.

    • OnceWasTim 1.11

      What have you got against underwater museums @Gosman? Some tourists pay a bloody fortune to explore things that have come out of the Ark. IF you get in quick – you could be a part of the acttion

    • Eddy Michael Deane 1.12

      First: BBC seems to think "A significant proportion of Colson's wealth came directly or indirectly from the slave trade. " See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/abolition/slavery_business_gallery_10.shtml

      Second: Yes, this should be done with both Washington and Jefferson.

      Finally: That's up to them.

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    Had those who commissioned the statue chosen cork rather than bronze, Ol' Coulson would now be in his element, and perhaps bound to wash up on the shores of those lands he visited so long ago…

    • weka 2.1

      I think they would just have bottled the statue in that case.

    • Macro 2.2

      Robert – he is now where he belongs – being fed to the fishes – along with the 19,000 unfortunate souls he was responsible for who died on the way to America.

      • Robert Guyton 2.2.1

        Fish eat bronze? smiley Perhaps the was-flesh-and-blood slaver has already faced-up to every single one of those 19, 000 souls in whatever space he found himself upon dying; lots of work for him there. So far as his bronze likeness is concerned, I'm guessing it'll be submerged in mud, kept company by rusted bicycle-frames and old stoves and populated by sea lice and marine worms, so if that's a reflection of the state of his soul, perhaps we should pity the poor man.

        • greywarshark 2.2.1.1

          No he will be recycled as we all are in some way on this earth. And presumably there will be another use for the metal. Perhaps he can become another black exslave like Frederick Douglass.

          Wilberforce and his cohort would be suitable for other statues. I am sure there are some already but more are deserved for people who gave up their lives and health to this cause. Wilberforce died just as the Anti-Slavery measures were going through the British parliament in 1833.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wilberforce#Last_years

  3. Molly 3

    The British taxpayer just finished paying off the debt incurred by reimbursing slave owners for the loss of "property" when the Abolition Act was passed.

    That debt was repaid in 2015.

    The University College of London has a comprehensive list of those who applied for, and received compensation in this way. Unfortunately not a full record of those who profited from this abhorrent trade, but a snapshot at the time of abolition.

  4. WeTheBleeple 4

    Statue should pick itself up by its bootstraps and get on with it. No excuse for laziness.

    • McFlock 4.1

      it had a pre-existing condition, so we can't be sure that protestors actually had anything to do with it.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 4.2

      Tried, but he bashed his own head in while getting into the police van

    • Incognito 4.3

      It wasn’t wearing a life jacket which would have kept it afloat long enough for the search & rescue team to arrive. They tried CPR on the statue but it was much harder than the usual bronze bodies they deal with.

  5. Stunned Mullet 5

    Will there now be a move to pull down a whole lot more statues in the UK ? Coulson was one of many who profited from the slave trade.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_African_Company

    And let's not forget our own local history..

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday/audio/201825485/new-zealand-and-the-pacific-slave-trade

  6. newsense 6

    With the Coulson thing, no mention of the way the leaders of both main British parties criticised the action.

  7. Jum 7

    Nobody ever seems to learn from history. Destroy the statue, obliterate the cruelty and the inhumanity of the figure and you remove it from our world. A better solution is to give a little to a statue that shows society has evolved. If that hasn't happened you build a statue that says so. There are global artist/activists.

    Just watching 'labyrinth of lies' about a nazi discovered teaching in a German school. Starts in 1958. When several youths are asked about it, they have no idea of that history. It takes one young man, fortunately – at least in fiction – to bring back that knowledge of Auschwitz. Even now the place exudes fear and a palpable sadness.

    Destroy history and the physical memory of it? It will happen again. Look at the global pandemic of slave trafficking. Nothing has changed. You don't go and destroy the statue; you leave another at the door of the people who should be preventing it happening now. I guess the 2020 statue will have to say 'nobody listened to us then and now; will somebody listen in the future.

    • Sacha 7.1

      There are these things called museums and history courses. They outlive statues.

    • observer 7.2

      Labyrinth of Lies is a great film (definitely not fiction) which demonstrates how people want to forget and will forget their own history, and if they are forced to face up to it, will counter with appeals for "stability", "not like this", "let sleeping dogs lie" etc.

      Sure, the time scale is different (centuries for Colston, living memory in Labyrinth) but the tune is the same. After somebody breaks ranks and pushes the history to the forefront of public awareness, they are condemned, and only later acknowledged. Then we pretend everybody had the same view all along really.

      Silence doesn't teach history. Discomfort does.

  8. observer 8

    Good to see a long thread discussing the slave trade, the UK's history and how we should regard it today. People are even taking the trouble to search for information and educate themselves and/or each other. Nice.

    Multiply it a million times over and you have the world's headlines and online discussions, today.

    But I'm sure we were all planning to do that anyway, after the next meeting of the Bristol City Council, which we all follow avidly. Nothing ensures saturation coverage of an issue like an amendment to the committee agenda, before "any other businesszzzzz"…

  9. Jum 9

    "Here's an idea that caters for both those who miss the Colston statue and those who don't," Banksy said on Instagram.

    "We drag him out the water, put him back on the plinth, tie cable round his neck and commission some life-size bronze statues of protesters in the act of pulling him down. Everyone happy. A famous day commemorated."

    https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/artist-banksy-has-new-take-on-toppled-statue-of-english-slave-trader/ar-BB15fFt7?ocid=SK2MDHP

    Perfect!

  10. mac1 10

    The best word on the subject of superfluous statuary was "Ozymandias" by Shelley. It ends,

    "Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

    Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare

    The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

  11. Crimzon Ghost 11

    Democracy is in a sense 'Mob Rule' LOL …Biggest Mob on election day wins.

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