Controversial statues toppled in cities around the world

KQED Radio
| KQED Radio


Since the death of George Floyd Confederate monuments are coming down in states across America some are removed quietly in the dead of night others are ripped from their pedestals in broad daylight and it's not just here in the US either protesters overseas are toppling monuments to slavers and colonizers as the protests over police racism and brutality rumbled across European cities some activists targeted that own country's colonial history in Belgium demonstrates a spray painted a statue of king Leopold the second Wallenstein U. K. statue of seventeenth century slave trader Edward Colston was toppled and thrown into a rhythm can the push for justice move forward without first looking back maybe the best way to reckon with our racist history is to dump it in the river we're going across America and abroad today as part of our one A. across America project it's a partnership with six public radio stations in various parts of the country we're joined now by someone who once said a great nation does not hide its history it faces its flaws and it corrects them which Landrieu is the former mayor of New Orleans and author of the book in the shadow of statues a white southerner confronts history welcome back to the show image thank you so much exactly also joining us is only a haci nada she's a writer and organizer of black lives matter U. K. black lives matter U. K. has compiled a list of sixty statues that it wants removed because they celebrate slavery Ali I joins us from London welcome hi Larry thanks for having me Mitch you brought down a number of Confederate monuments while your mail it may or you did that legally I wonder what do you make of protests in various cities that are taking down statues and monuments illegally well it again do it up myself and I wasn't the first one to talk about it it's been a long history of people who were leaders in New Orleans who tried to take those monuments down they all legal processes for doing it and there are the process used to do on it a peaceful protest you know the important thing is is that people now are beginning to understand how insidious those monuments are the ones that was specifically put up to celebrate those individuals who've spent their lives protecting slavery and so that's what the Confederate monuments are in the United States of America I can't speak to the ones because I don't know enough about them in other parts of the in the south in the United States of America there are three thousand monuments that will place up with the state and direct purpose of revering and honoring individuals who fought to split the United States and have all the calls of preserving slavery and that's just on the civil war or the confederacy was on the wrong side of that war they were on the wrong side of history and the last thing that we should be doing is honoring what's called a lost cause which is meant that somehow of the confederacy was a noble cause when in fact it was not in these monuments will put in places of public places yeah man on on public on public land and with and will put up with the specific purpose of Riviera the person I general Robert E. Lee Jefferson Davis PGT Beauregard and their whole host of others whose mission it was was to preserve slavery yeah and I felt very strongly being the mayor of a multi cultural city that is historically always prided itself on its diversity as an essential part of who we are as people to have those monuments in public places that was sending messages to people of color that they still want welcome here after all those years and so I couldn't be more thrilled that they're coming down you know we can get we can get kind of caught up in how they coming down and whether we should have long conversations a short conversations but essentially we're all finished with us if you just take the monument down and you don't get to the root of why they were put up in the first place or the ideas that they were trying to perpetuate that manifest themselves in institutions Holly and police and etcetera etcetera then we would have made some progress but not nearly as much progress as we should have this is clearly a hot topic of date debate in the US Stephen wrote on Facebook this is needed and long overdue Tommy wrote on Facebook I assume sarcastically by all means a race history get rid of it that will fix everything and then sailed sailor apes tweeted I say pull them down melt them and resign them to the garbage bin where the losers of history tip Oakley wind up yeah what do you make of this issue of whether a statue comes down legally or illegally doesn't matter in the end to a to a movement I think in my personal opinion whether it comes down legally or illegally is not the conversation we should be hopping Bob why is it being taken down and debated in the first place I think if we get into the legality and illegality over we then can get into a very polarizing conversation of good and bad it wouldn't really that's not what any of this is trying to do is really trying to have a conversation around what to be glorified in these countries and what do we put public money towards glorifying because these statues these plaques all of these things that glorify the slave owners these colonizers all paid for out of the tax pay is pocket and given that we've had two years of austerity I think there are a couple other ways that we might be able to spend this money instead of glorifying

Coming up next