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  1. #1
    Biệt Thự Triển's Avatar
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    What's the best thing to do with unwanted statues?



    What's the best thing to do with unwanted statues?



    When a country has statues of people that no longer reflect its values, what is the best solution? Is there a way of addressing the past without erasing it? And is doing nothing an option? The BBC's Kavita Puri speaks to four people about possible lessons to be drawn from Iraq, Germany, India and the US.

    It was a beautiful spring day in East Baghdad in April, 2003 and Ghaith Abdul-Ahad's neighbour came to him shouting, "The Americans are here." Abdul-Ahad went out into the street. He saw US soldiers in uniform pointing their guns. They were moving towards what was then known as Firdos Square, in the middle of which was an enormous statue of Iraq's President, Saddam Hussein, his right arm stretched into the sky, waving to his people.

    A crowd of Iraqis had now gathered in the square. "It became clear that the city had fallen," Abdul-Ahad says. Iraqi civilians moved towards the bottom of the statue. They tried to knock down the thick, concrete pedestal, but to no avail. Then an American armoured vehicle appeared. A marine got out and put a huge rope around the statue. He climbed to the top of Saddam's head, holding an American flag. Abdul-Ahad was watching the marine as he tried to place the flag, thinking, "No don't do that."



    The statue was pulled down by the crowd. It was dragged through the street. And the iconic image was then captured of men, taking their flip flops off, and using them to beat the statue of their former ruler. They were "just breaking that domination of the regime," Abdul-Ahad says.

    Baghdad's many statues of the country's leader had been a symbol of oppression, "the eyes and moustache of Saddam following you wherever you go" he says. The day they fell "was the moment, you realise that 30 years of oppressive rule has finally collapsed, that this person who had been dominating our lives - he was bigger than God for us - is finally gone and he's removed."



    Many statues were melted down, or sold to collectors. No-one really knows what happened to them all. They just disappeared. The plinth where Saddam's statue once stood was empty for a long time. As a sectarian war raged, no-one could agree what should be in its place - would it be a Shia, Sunni or Kurdish monument? It was finally removed altogether and is now a park.

    "We come here now, 2020, we don't see any images from the Saddam era and that helps the history to disappear," says Abdul-Ahad, now a journalist for the Guardian.

    He doesn't want the statue of Saddam to be in the centre of Baghdad, staring down at him as it used to. But he would have a liked it to be housed in a museum or a park in the country, otherwise he fears that period of history will be forgotten altogether. It's important he says that "the young generation, the children in 100 years' time, can look at it and say, 'Oh, so that was the dictator who ruled Iraq.'"


    oOo


    If you walk around German cities you will find virtually no statues of the Nazi era. Many were destroyed by heavy bombing during World War Two - and later melted and reused during rebuilding. An order issued by the victorious Allies in 1946 decreed that any manifestation of the Third Reich, including statues, were illegal and to be destroyed.

    "How can a country go on with statues of oppressors and of dictators?" asks Daniel Libeskind, the architect of the Jewish Museum in Berlin. "You have to get rid of everything that offends justice and truth. And that's what Germany did."

    But getting rid of statues doesn't have to mean erasing the memory of history too.

    For Germany, remembrance did not happen immediately after the war. However, in the 1960s and 70s the country began to reflect on its difficult past. Now the teaching of the Holocaust and the Nazi era is mandatory in German schools. Almost all students have either visited a concentration camp or a Holocaust memorial or museum.

    Rather than maintaining statues, the country chose to focus on its crimes and their victims.



    Libeskind, the son of Holocaust survivors, originally from Lodz in Poland, believes Germany has made an "amazing statement" to the world that it's possible to face unspeakable crimes and be a successful democracy.

    In the late 1980s he entered a competition to design Berlin's Jewish Museum. He won and felt the weight of responsibility. "It was so much more than just the design of a building," he says. The challenge was to work out how historical truth could be communicated to generations who had never experienced that era.

    He began by creating a void, "which is the centre of the museum, which is an emptiness, an empty space where nothing is really exhibited, but you feel that this emptiness speaks to you about what happened in history, that cannot be exhibited," he says.

    So difficult history can be told without exhibiting statues. Even the word "statue" strikes Libeskind as old-fashioned. "I think it's about more than statues today. It's about creating spaces, public spaces that can make people care about things they didn't know about."


    oOo


    In northern Delhi there is a large park. It's slightly overgrown, stray dogs wander around, sometimes children play cricket there. In it are statues, some covered in graffiti.

    After India won independence in August 1947, there was no clamour to remove the statues of monarchs and viceroys from the boulevards and roundabouts of the capital. Over time, some were sold to Britain and others moved to this place, known as Coronation Park. It had been the site where lavish ceremonies - known as durbars - took place when a new British monarch took to the throne. Today it is where effigies of former officials from the colonial era have been stored, "out of sight, out of mind", as AGK Menon, the founder of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, puts it.

    "And that's how it got the name," he says. "A graveyard of statues."


    Getty Images - Work under way to tidy up Coronation Park in 2007

    The most iconic of the statues is King George V. At around 70ft tall, it stood in the heart of Delhi, near India Gate on the road leading to the Viceroy's House. Well over a decade after independence it no longer felt right to have the statue of a British King in such a prominent position. He was dismantled and taken to the place where he attended the Delhi durbar on becoming Emperor of India in 1911.

    AGK Menon wanted to use the statues to tell the history of Delhi. During the Delhi Durbar, George V had laid the first foundation stone of the new imperial capital in Coronation Park. Menon's aim was to open a new, refurbished version of the park on the centenary of this occasion in 2011, with plaques providing historical context. "We have to recognise the fact something happened. There was a colonial government, there was a decision to make Delhi, and this is where it took place. Let us celebrate the fact that this is where New Delhi started," he says.


    Getty Images - The Viceroy's House is now the Indian President's House museum

    Work started, but then a new government withdrew support. The park remains derelict, containing the Raj-era statues. Perhaps it's a sign that it's still difficult for Indians to talk about their colonial past. "Some Indians are not comfortable with it; others are. But somehow it is still a very live political fuel," says AGK Menon. "So it does have a sort of energy that has not ended."

    There certainly still is unfinished business. The plinth of George V stands empty in the centre of Delhi.



    No-one could agree what should go there.


    oOo


    Scattered across southern states in America are statues commemorating Confederate leaders and soldiers, who fought in the American civil war to continue the practice of slavery. They lost the war, but decades later these monuments celebrating notable Confederate veterans started to appear in town squares.

    Sarah Beetham, chair of liberal arts at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, says many statues were built on county courthouse lawns, where many African Americans would be judged. "And they very much borrow the language of victory monuments from the ancient Roman past."

    In theory, the civil war gave equal rights to African Americans, but in reality racial segregation persisted, so the South won what Beetham describes as a "sort of shadow war". "These monuments are victory monuments to winning that shadow war," she says. Statues such as the one of Confederate general Robert E Lee, erected in Richmond, Virginia, in 1890, were central to the continuation of the Confederate movement, and a permanent reminder of white supremacy, Beetham argues.



    These monuments were never completely accepted. Journalist John Mitchell, for example, wrote editorials in the Richmond Planet newspaper at the time, saying prophetically "that black workers had been conscripted to put the statue up and that one day they would still be there to take the statue down," Beetham says.

    The southern states defended the existence of the statues, arguing that they were paying tribute to Confederate military heroism rather than defending slavery. They also cast the war as a defence of states' rights, against the powers of the federal government.


    Getty Images - Jefferson Davis's statue in Richmond, the state capital, was toppled on 10 June

    Sarah Beetham says: "Statues aren't history. They are historical objects. The fact that people are attacking them today shows that we do care about them and that we see them in some ways as kind of reflection of ourselves and our own values."

    As long as there have been statues, she says, there have been people who destroy them. "There's something about a group of people taking out their anger against much broader inequalities but focusing it on an object that looks like a human being."

    She says the statue of the British King George III in New York is a good example. It was destroyed during the war of independence and the metal was melted into 40,000 bullets, which were then used against the British.


    Getty Images - Horse tail from the equestrian statue of George III, found buried in Connecticut

    Loyalists tried to preserve parts of the statue by burying them underground - remnants are are still occasionally unearthed today.

    Virginia's governor has said that the statue of Robert E Lee in Richmond will now be removed and put into storage. Although hundreds more statues remain, Sarah Beetham hopes the dismantling of this one, and perhaps others, means the country will now start to confront its past.


    Colourful graffiti now adorns the plinth supporting Robert E Lee's statue in Richmond

    "It says that maybe finally we're going to have some kind of reckoning about what the Civil War was actually about. And if Robert E Lee is going to come down now, maybe we're ready to atone for some of these things and to finally process them and figure out what they mean for us. And I really hope that that's true."

    We name buildings after people, or put up statues to them, because we respect them. But what if we then discover they did wrong? In what cases should the building be renamed, or the statue be removed, asks the BBC's in-house philosopher, David Edmonds.

    /* src.: https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-53184100
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  2. #2
    I can't breathe. ốc's Avatar
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    Bán cho hàng sắt vụn đồng nát lấy tiền trả nợ của chính phủ.

    Ở Việt gi nha có chỗ này: Presiđầu. Tài sản quốc gia và di tích lịch sử giữa đồng không mông quạnh không có ai đòi giữ gìn bảo vệ. A non-nument. Concrete history.

    All the presidents’ busts
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...ia-in-pictures

    Rescued busts of former U.S. presidents from the closed Presidents Park
    https://news.yahoo.com/photos-rescue...170954941.html


  3. #3
    Biệt Thự
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triển View Post

    ...

    He doesn't want the statue of Saddam to be in the centre of Baghdad, staring down at him as it used to. But he would have a liked it to be housed in a museum or a park in the country, otherwise he fears that period of history will be forgotten altogether. It's important he says that "the young generation, the children in 100 years' time, can look at it and say, 'Oh, so that was the dictator who ruled Iraq.'"



    /* src.: https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-53184100
    Cho vào viện bảo tàng biết có ổn không? Cũng là chỗ trưng bày công khai mà. Hay là cho phép những ai thích giữ những bức tượng gây tranh cãi được xem là có liên quan tới phân biệt chủng tộc, chế độ nô lệ, chủ nghĩa da trắng thượng đẳng ấy tới lấy mang về nhà trưng? Như Craiglist’s . Free but you carry.
    Có khi trời nắng, có khi trời mưa.

  4. #4
    Biệt Thự Triển's Avatar
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    Cho tư nhân đem về nhà cũng lại gây tranh cãi, hàng năm thổi còi,
    đánh trống, làm lễ truy điệu, tưởng niệm, rồi người theo lại kéo đến...etc.
    Đem vô viện bảo tàng cón có người canh gác. Người ta chống đối chỉ
    vì thấy chướng mắt ngoài công cộng. Đem đi khuất mắt rồi chẳng có ai
    buồn đến kiếm chuyện nữa. Cứ như một đống đầu tổng thống thầy Ốc
    khiêng về để lăn lóc. Có ông còn bị vỡ sọ chẳng ai ... ke.

    Vấn đề nằm ở chỗ chính phủ. Chính phủ có thấy những người mà người
    ta làm tượng đó có xứng đáng hay không. Nếu chính phủ không thống
    nhất và quyết tâm thì việc chống đối sẽ xảy ra hết năm này, tháng nọ, thế kỷ
    này đến thế kỷ khác chẳng có gì thay đổi. Vậy thì chữ "united" trên tên quốc gia
    thật mỉa mai.


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  5. #5
    I can't breathe. ốc's Avatar
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    Có thể là chữ UNTIED mà hồi xưa thư ký viết sai chút.

  6. #6
    James Đậu Đậu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nhã Uyên View Post
    Hay là cho phép những ai thích giữ những bức tượng gây tranh cãi được xem là có liên quan tới phân biệt chủng tộc, chế độ nô lệ, chủ nghĩa da trắng thượng đẳng ấy tới lấy mang về nhà trưng? Như Craiglist’s . Free but you carry.

    Những thứ gây tranh cãi thì có cho không cũng đừng thèm nhận. Mang chúng vào nhà là sanh nhớn chuyện. Cãi với người ngoài đường thì còn chạy về nhà ẩn núp. Chứ cãi với người trong nhà thì còn nước xách bị đi ăn mày.
    Đỗ thành Đậu

  7. #7
    Biệt Thự
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    Quote Originally Posted by ốc View Post

    ...Concrete history.

    ....
    Bằng bê tông nhà em để cho bác Đậu tới khuân về - nếu bác ấy thích - không ép nhậu, dạ, nhận đâu bác Đậu!

    Bác ốc biết chỗ nào có tượng bằng vàng bỏ hoang thì pm truyền âm nhập mật box nhà em nhá. That can be my summer vacation adventure.
    Last edited by Nhã Uyên; 06-28-2020 at 05:28 AM. Reason: that's -> that
    Có khi trời nắng, có khi trời mưa.

  8. #8
    Biệt Thự
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    Một trong những bài viết trước đây (2018) với câu hỏi tương tựa, làm gì với những tượng đài "nhạy cảm"? Xin thầy 5 Triển cho phép NU ké vào đây.


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Statue wars: what should we do with troublesome monuments?


    https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2...some-monuments


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    ....Our relationship to a statue, or a building, or a sign is always changing. Often the change is so gradual, happening over decades and generations, that the monument – the version of reality it embodies – simply recedes into the background. Of its time: this is the explanation we reach for as we shrug and walk past, if we’ve bothered to look at all. We make the assumption that the past is past, that those ideas and values no longer have the power to threaten or harm, or never did.

    The reality is more complicated. For one thing, this is what monuments do: they normalise the past, for better or worse. They make injustices easier to defend and, more insidiously, harder to see. For another, it’s the people most likely to defend those injustices who ultimately decide what is or isn’t threatening, not the people who have been most affected. Only the dominance of the settler majorities in the US, Canada and Australia, for example, can explain their indifference to the statues of Theodore Roosevelt, John A MacDonald, and Captain James Cook that for many indigenous peoples have long represented genocide.

    .....
    NU tạm dịch nhanh một đoạn trong bài báo... feel free to correct. Thanks!

    ... Mối quan hệ của chúng ta với một bức tượng, hoặc một tòa nhà, hoặc một hình tượng luôn luôn thay đổi. Thường thì sự thay đổi diễn ra từ từ, xảy ra trong nhiều thập kỷ và nhiều thế hệ, nên đài tưởng niệm ấy – biên bản thật mà nó thể hiện – dễ lùi dần về phía sau . Thời của nó: là kết luận của chúng ta khi chúng ta nhún vai và bước qua, nếu chúng ta có bận tâm nháy mắt nhìn. Chúng ta đưa ra giả định rằng quá khứ là quá khứ, rằng những ý tưởng và giá trị đó không còn sức mạnh để đe dọa hay làm hại, hoặc chưa từng bao giờ.

    Thực tế phức tạp hơn. Có một điều, những đài tưởng niệm có tác động bình thường hóa quá khứ, bất chấp hậu quả có ra sao. Khiến sự bất công được dễ dàng bảo vệ hơn, thầm lặng hơn, khó nhìn thấy hơn. Thêm vào đó, những người thường có thể bảo vệ những bất công ấy là những người, cuối cùng, quyết định những gì là đe đọa hoặc không đe dọa chứ không phải là những người bị ảnh hưởng nhiều nhất bởi những tượng đài ấy. Chỉ có số đông người định cư ở Mỹ, Canada và Úc, ví dụ, mới có thể giải thích sự thờ ơ của họ đối với các bức tượng của Theodore Roosevelt, John A MacDonald và Thuyền trưởng James Cook, mà đối với nhiều người bản địa. đại diện cho nạn diệt chủng.
    Có khi trời nắng, có khi trời mưa.

  9. #9
    I can't breathe. ốc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nhã Uyên View Post
    Bác ốc biết chỗ nào có tượng bằng vàng bỏ hoang thì pm truyền âm nhập mật box nhà em nhá. That can be my summer vacation adventure.
    El Dorado. Mang túi ba gang đến mà hốt.

  10. #10
    Biệt Thự Triển's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nhã Uyên View Post
    they normalise the past
    Đây là mấu chốt sự việc.

    PS: Mình cứ liên tưởng tới việc tượng cha Hồ ly tịch của Việt Nam, đi đâu cũng có mặt. Nếu một mai kia VN không cộng sản, liệu người dân sẽ làm gì với số tượng đó. Chưa tính có thêm mấy cái tượng của Lenin, Karl-Marx, Fidel Castro. Nếu bỏ vô viện bảo tàng, có lẽ dân chúng đốt luôn viện bảo tàng mới hả dạ.
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