What ends when the symbols shatter?

At a minimum, glorification, enshrinement of the dregs of human behavior, the traitors and destroyers of human progress are relegated to bad memories. Only the fools who look backwards for lack of their own understanding need monuments to traitors.

31 thoughts on “What ends when the symbols shatter?

  1. Footnote says:

    “The History of a Controversial Symbol : A Buddhist priest tries to educate the public about the swastika’s history as a sign of peace and good luck.” (The New Yorker, August 21st issue) http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/08/21/the-history-of-a-controversial-symbol
    “Denazification (German: Entnazifizierung)” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denazification
    “Controversy over Confederate Statues Inspires Betsy DeVos to Google Civil War” http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/controversy-over-confederate-statues-inspires-betsy-devos-to-google-civil-war

  2. Ouroboros says:

    “In a verdant German village, a church bell that bears a swastika tolls. Above the symbol is an inscription: “All for the Fatherland, Adolf Hitler.” (see http://www.evangelischer-kirchenbote.de/fileadmin/user_upload/kirchenbote/bilder/2017/kibo2017_22-1a.jpg )
    When the Nazi iconography was discovered this summer in Herxheim am Berg, some called for the bell’s removal, others for its protection as a relic of a shameful national history. The village is still deciding what to do.
    Germans have a word for coming to terms with the past, “Vergangenheitsbewaltigung.” The word, coined after World War II, has no equivalent in the English language, no analog that might inform the anguished American debate over Confederate monuments — whose defenders include not just torch-wielding neo-Nazis in Charlottesville but also President Donald Trump.”
    See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vergangenheitsbew%C3%A4ltigung

  3. Ibn Khaldun says:

    “The Confederate General Who Was Erased : There’s a reason you won’t find many monuments in the South to one of Robert E. Lee’s most able deputies.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-confederate-general-who-was-erased-from-history_us_599b3747e4b06a788a2af43e
    “…But the (Confederate) monuments were not merely commemorative. They were designed to conceal a past that their designers wanted to suppress. That past was the period after Reconstruction and before Jim Crow, years in which African Americans in the former Confederacy exercised political power, ran for public office, published newspapers, marched as militias, ran businesses, organized voluntary associations, built schools and churches: a time, in other words, when they participated as full members of society.”

  4. 4theRecord says:

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – An organizer of a protest against a re-enactment of the return of Spanish conquerors to New Mexico after a 17th century American Indian revolt is facing felony charges. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/new-mexico/articles/2017-09-11/new-mexico-conquistador-protester-faces-felony-charges Photo caption: “Police in Santa Fe, N.M., lead away protester organizer Jennifer Marley of San Ildefonso Pueblo in hand restraints on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Santa Fe police say they arrested at least 12 people to contain protest against an annual pageant marking the return of Spanish conquistador Don Diego de Vargas to New Mexico following a 17th century Indian revolt. Public statues and tributes to early Spanish conquerors are facing mounting criticism tied to the brutal treatment of American Indians centuries ago by Spanish soldiers and missionaries, with activists drawing ethical parallels to the national controversy over Confederate monuments.”
    “US monuments to Spanish conquest facing mounting criticism” (LA Times) http://www.latimes.com/nation/sns-bc-us–conquistadors-monuments-20170908-story.html
    See also “Oñate’s Missing Foot” http://pages.ucsd.edu/~rfrank/class_web/ES-112A/Onate.html ‘savage Indians’ vis-à-vis a Civil War memorial in Santa Fe NM https://everything2.com/user/haze/writeups/savage and “Ayn Rand on Native Americans” https://everything2.com/title/Ayn+Rand+on+Native+Americans

  5. Chinch says:

    “The Painful History of a Confederate Monument Tells Itself” https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/547253/confederate-monuments-graven-image/ “The history of a single monument is writ large in Sierra Pettengill’s new short film, “Graven Image”, produced by Field of Vision. The documentary relies solely on archival record to tell the story of Georgia’s Stone Mountain monument, which depicts Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis engraved in the mountain face. Originally conceived of by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1912, Stone Mountain was chosen as the site of the rebirth of the KKK in 1915. Although it was shelved during the Great Depression, it was later revitalized in the wake of the seminal Brown vs. Board of Education desegregation case, and finally completed in 1970. In 2001, Georgia state law passed a mandate that the monument never be removed or altered.
    With “Graven Image”, Pettengill hopes to recontextualize the Confederate monument and examine the way American narratives are told—and often warped—through time.”

  6. Levon says:

    “Finding A Legal Loophole, Memphis Takes Down Its Confederate Statues” https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/12/21/572654031/finding-a-legal-loophole-memphis-takes-down-its-confederate-statues Selling the parks to a private entity allowed the city to skirt the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act, passed in 2013 and amended in 2016, which prohibits the removal, relocation or renaming of a memorial that is on public property. In a long post to Facebook, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland explained the context of the statues. https://www.facebook.com/notes/mayor-jim-strickland/remarks-on-the-removal-of-confederate-statues-in-memphis/1978056585799495/

  7. Nufn says:

    Uncle Jack, Baton Rouge, Louisiana https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/21928
    “The statue, depicting an elderly African-American bowing and tipping his hat, was sculpted by Hans Schuler and paid for by banker Jackson Lee Bryan. In 1927 it was erected in a riverfront park in the busiest part of downtown Natchitoches. Its original plaque read, “In Grateful Recognition of the Arduous and Faithful Service of the Good Darkies of Louisiana,” and it was considered shockingly liberal for its time, at least by the standards of the Deep South. The New York Times and Boston Globe ran stories about the statue, praising the progressiveness of the white citizens of Natchitoches for erecting a monument to a negro. The statue became a bona-fide tourist attraction with its own post card. Its anonymous subject was variously named “The Good Darky,” “The Faithful Darky,” or simply “Uncle Jack.”


    • Time's up says:

      “Massive Robert E. Lee Statue In Richmond, Va., Will Be Removed” https://www.npr.org/2020/06/04/869519175/massive-robert-e-lee-statue-in-richmond-va-will-be-removed
      Virginia will remove a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in the city of Richmond “as soon as possible,” Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday.
      The statue will be removed from Richmond’s Monument Avenue, which is lined with effigies of Confederate generals. Of all the monuments, Lee’s looms the largest — and unlike the others, it is owned by the state, a six-story monument on a 100-foot island of land that the state also owns.
      GOP state Sen. Amanda Chase — who is also running for governor — said this in a Facebook video posted last night: ‘It’s all about shoving this down people’s throats and erasing the history of the white people.’ ”
      …the city of Birmingham, Ala., took down an obelisk to Confederate troops earlier this week that had stood for more than a century. Philadelphia’s mayor also ordered the swift removal of a statue honoring Frank Rizzo, the former police commissioner and mayor — a divisive figure who rose to prominence during the late 1960s.

  8. Artifactual says:

    “Banksy proposes this new statue to replace torn-down UK monument” https://www.foxnews.com/world/banksy-proposes-this-new-statue-to-replace-torn-down-uk-monument
    Also: “On Saturday, Banksy posted his most recent new piece on Instagram, in which he highlights the portrait of a faceless black man and a candle. The full painting shows that the candle has set the American flag on fire, likely a reference to how Floyd’s death has sparked nationwide outrage.”

  9. drv́trṿtyạisị says:

    Dateline New Mexico: Rio Arriba County crews on Monday morning began removing the monument to Spanish colonizer Don Juan de Oñate in Alcalde. http://www.riograndesun.com/news/county-takes-down-o-ate-monument/article_2530ed9c-af2f-11ea-b2e9-4f1a4633c37b.html
    “Oñate is known for the 1599 Acoma Massacre. Following a dispute that led to the death of thirteen Spaniards at the hands of the Ácoma, including Oñate’s nephew, Juan de Zaldívar, Oñate ordered a brutal retaliation against Acoma Pueblo. The Pueblo was destroyed. Around 800-1000 Ácoma were killed.
    Of the 500 or so survivors, at a trial at Ohkay Owingeh, Oñate sentenced most to twenty years of forced “personal servitude” and additionally mandated that all men over the age of twenty-five have a foot cut off. He was eventually banished from New Mexico and exiled from Mexico City for five years, convicted by the Spanish government of using “excessive force” against the Acoma people.
    Today, Oñate remains a controversial figure in New Mexican history: in 1998 the right foot was cut off a statue of the conquistador that stands in Alcalde, New Mexico in protest of the massacre, and significant controversy arose when a large equestrian statue of Oñate was erected in El Paso, Texas in 2006.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_de_O%C3%B1ate

  10. Meanwhile says:

    “Leaked document makes Trump campaign’s use of Nazi-era symbol look worse” (Washington Post 6/19/20) https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/06/19/leaked-document-makes-trumps-use-nazi-era-symbol-look-worse/ “President Trump’s campaign is under fire for employing a symbol once used by Nazis in a new batch of Facebook ads — a red inverted triangle that appeared alongside a warning about the dire threat posed by “antifa,” a loose motley group allied against neo-fascist activity.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/06/18/trump-campaign-runs-ads-with-marking-once-used-by-nazis-designate-political-prisoners/
    “An internal Department of Homeland Security document — which I obtained from a congressional source — makes the Trump campaign’s use of this symbol, and its justification for it, look a whole lot worse, by undercutting the claim that antifa represents any kind of threat in the first place.
    … another leaked intelligence document earlier this month assessed the greatest threat as coming from “lone offenders with racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist ideologies,” not from antifa.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/06/10/trumps-bluster-about-antifa-protests-takes-another-hit/
    “The broader story here, as Isaac Stanley-Becker details, is that the continued fearmongering about antifa by Trump and many top officials seems designed to distort the true nature of these multiracial, largely peaceful and broadly representative national protests in a very fundamental way.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/protests-antifa-absent/2020/06/13/7f14b8fa-ab80-11ea-9063-e69bd6520940_story.html

  11. If it ain't fixed, break it says:

    “Protesters Fell Confederate Monument In D.C., Provoking Trump’s Fury” (NPR 6/20/20) https://www.npr.org/sections/live-updates-protests-for-racial-justice/2020/06/20/881199628/protesters-fell-confederate-monument-in-d-c-provoking-trumps-fury
    “Trump cries ‘disgrace’ as protesters topple Confederate statues and monuments across US during Juneteenth celebrations to mark end of slavery” (Independent, UK 6/20/20)
    Re: Statue of Albert Pike https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Albert_Pike

  12. Percussion says:

    Trump’s 10-Year Prison Threat for ‘Vandalism’ Covers More Than Just Statues https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-andrew-jackson-statue-prison-warning-1512717
    While the president’s message referred to the action towards the statue [of Andrew Jackson], it [The Veterans’ Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act of 2003] covers anything deemed to be a monument which commemorates someone’s service and is on public property.
    It states that someone “who willfully injures or destroys, or attempts to injure or destroy, any structure, plaque, statue, or other monument on public property commemorating the service of any person or persons in the armed forces of the United States” may be fined or imprisoned for up to 10 years, or both.
    See “The Veterans’ Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act of 2003’’ https://www.congress.gov/108/plaws/publ29/PLAW-108publ29.pdf

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