Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Rhodes Will Fall

The Vice Chancellor of Oxford University says Nelson Mandela wouldn't have approved of toppling statues.

Why mustn't you do this? Because Daddy says...

I'm not fond of any argument that presumes to ventiloquise for the ancestors.


1. The dead don't get a vote.

2. They lived in other times and climes and never had to deal with a situation exactly like the one we're currently considering.

3.Unless you've consulted them by means of a Ouija board or through the offices of a spirit medium there's no way you could possibly know.

4. We have minds of our own.

The Vice Chancellor also talks about the "complexity" of the issue. This is like saying- "Our finest puzzle solvers have tried to untie the Gordian knot and haven't succeeded so the best thing is to leave it alone."

Then along comes a man with a sword.

The Vice Chancellor is particularly concerned about her own very precious statue of Cecil Rhodes. She says it would be hypocritical to continue taking Rhodes' money (in the form of the scholarships that carry his name) and refuse to display his statue.

Another way of putting this would be "Rhodes bought us and we continue to be in his pocket".

Interesting how it so often comes down to money in the end.

Colston bought Bristol in much the same way. And verily he got his reward: a statue, his name plastered over everything, power and influence in the brief time to managed to stay above ground.

I worked once in a town that had been bought by the local mill owner- and his reward was much like Colstons. He'd been dead for the better part of a century but his name and shadow was on everything and resentment still simmered....

That was a digression.

To get back to Rhodes:

It wouldn't be so bad if Oriel College kept their statue of the great imperialist indoors but they've got him displayed high up on the outward face of their gatehouse from whence- metaphorically- he gets to wave his dick at every passer-by. They are creating a public nuisance.

Rhodes must fall.

Rhodes will fall.

When you're on the wrong side of history, history will get you in the end.

And to those who say we're erasing our history I have David Olusoga's answer- that the toppling of the statues is history.

The Bastille got itself erased- and is all the more famous for being erased. Had it stood it would now be nothing but a tourist attraction: pay your 15 euros at the door and remember to observe social distancing. In being erased it became a symbol of humankind's refusal to tolerate monarchical oppression- a kind of shorthand for all that was good about the French Revolution.

Much the same thing with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Much the same thing with the toppling of the statues.

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