Statues: Look at ills of today, not slavers of old – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Robert Dent, Smelthouses, Harrogate.

Protesters throw statue of Edward Colston into Bristol harbour during a Black Lives Matter protest rally, in memory of George Floyd who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis.

I AM appalled by the rush to destroy statues of historic figures who were all men and women of their time.

Yes, slavery was a terrible thing but do not forget many Britons were enslaved by the Romans, the Vikings and the Normans. It was a fact of life in those times.

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What I have not heard from anyone is the fact that the African tribes were brutal to those they considered vassals: mass murder, slavery and selling their victims to Arab slavemasters who, yes, sold them on to the European and American slave traders.

Protesters pull down a statue of Edward Colston during a Black Lives Matter protest rally in College Green, Bristol, in memory of George Floyd.

This practice was natural to them because it was of their time and continued long after the abolition of slavery in most of Europe if not America.

Inter-tribal hatred continues today in some parts of the “New World”: far better to protest about that than pull down statues of people who lived two, three or more hundred years ago just because they made fortunes from what was an acceptable trade in their time, but also did many things of great value and often were philanthropic in their later years.

Lets face it many African countries have not exactly been the models of kindness to their fellow man since independence. It is a well known tactic of Isis / Daesh to destroy the heritage and history of the countries they occupy.

It will be a very bad day indeed if this country descends into that sort of lawlessness.

People attend an anti-racism protest in Queens Gardens, Hull, following a raft of Black Lives Matter protests that took place across the UK over the weekend. The protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis.

Slavery was a terrible thing but it is in the past and abolished, accept it, and move on.

We must put an end to what is known as “modern slavery” along with many other injustices and protest about them peacefully as is everyone’s right.

Instead of some old colonial freebooters who died a hundred or more years ago.

From: Mike Lacey, Elloughton.

The statue of former British prime minister Winston Churchill is cleaned in Parliament Square, central London on June 8, 2020, after being defaced, with the words (Churchill) "was a racist" written on it's base by protesters at a demonstration on June 7, 2020, organised to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. - Most marches at the weekend were peaceful but there were flashes of violence, including in London, where the statue of World War II leader Winston Churchill in Parliament Square was defaced.

SO there is now to be some sort of one- sided debate as to which statues of figures from our past should remain, and which should be removed because of their activities as slave owners in centuries gone by.

Those protesting about the activities of those figures, now remembered perhaps only by their statue, should also remember to judge these figures by the standards of ‘big business’ of their day, and not by the standards of today.

Those taking the opportunity to protest should reflect upon the fact that many of the establishments that they may well be enjoying today are there thanks to the funding provided in the past by many of these figures.

They should also bear in mind that it was the work of William Wilberforce that led to the abolition of slavery, although 
the Global Slavery Index 
suggests that there are sadly some 25 million people in a number of countries in Africa and Asia who are still enslaved today.

Once we are able to travel freely, perhaps it is in those countries that the protesters should gather to make their point.

From: John Helliwell, Auckley, Doncaster.

WHAT happened to George Floyd was absolutely disgraceful, but an attempt to rub our British history – good or bad – does not help the cause. We cannot change the past. We have to learn.

Instead of destroying the statue of Edward Colston, or defacing the statue of Winston Churchill, a man instrumental in creating the United Nations, and encouraging a more united Europe in effort to end world confrontation, the BAME campaigners may have helped their cause more by acknowledging the statute of William Wilberforce.

A white man from Hull who brought slavery to end, something that had been with us since the Egyptians, the Pyramids and beyond.

From: Peter Rickaby, Selby.

GARETH Southgate, England’s football manager, speaks proudly of the “maturity” shown by his players during lockdown. Why is he praising men of an age to which maturity should be second nature, not something to applaud?

His comments would have been more appropriate had he been referring to schoolboys, not adults.

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James Mitchinson

Editor