Back when the Taliban Government under Sudam Hussein was destroying relics and statues of Buddha in Afghanistan that were thousands of years old, historians were horrified. Could you imagine, for example, blowing up the pyramids of Egypt? The Taliban’s actions were reminiscent of the Nazi’s burning books, or of the Spanish burning all of the Mayan civilization books and with it their history.
Although the war between the North and the South was largely about slavery – owning people – it is still part of our history. It may not be the brightest point of our history, much, I suppose, like the Taliban saw their country’s roots in Buddhism and Hinduism (Afghanistan is a word coming from India’s Sanskrit language). They destroyed statues, figures, relics, historical monuments and every remnant of the past that they could get their hands on. Should we do the same, or should we see the bigger historical perspective?
Is it okay to have statues of important figures in the Confederate States of America? They went to war against the United States much like the thirteen colonies declared independence against the King of Britain and wrote the Declaration of Independence. The outcome of the two wars was different, but both were states fighting for independence.
Had the colonies lost their war and America stayed part of the British Empire, would we now be destroying the Declaration of Independence and all evidence of the revolutionary war? Probably not. It would be history nonetheless. Similarly, should we now destroy all evidence there was a war – our deadliest war – now that there is no more a Confederate States of America?
These symbols – the Confederate heroes statues and flag – are seen not just as reminders of our unfortunate past of slavery but in today’s climate as a line drawn by white racists against the rest of us.
Admittedly, the issues are boiling over.
Once again racism rears its ugly head. We see the revival of the KKK and an alt-right president who comes just after the first African American president. The country could not be more divided – except perhaps in civil war.
Historically, we’re in a time of extreme pendulum swinging from left (Clinton) to right (George W.) to left (Obama) to alt-right (Trump). The swinging is getting wider and wider and different views seem irreconcilable.
Despite the troubled times of the present, would the destruction or removal of these statues be met with blessings from historians four hundred years in the future, or will they see it in the same light as destruction of the Mayans, blowing up of Buddha statues or burning of books?
People will do what people do and this article will not change history in any significant way, however it’s one liberal’s opinion.