I know there's a great appreciation of local history in the Harringay Online community.
What do people think of this, then:
My thoughts: Rather than destroying historic landmarks or erasing names of buildings, places and streets, we can use them as a springboard for more rounded education.
For example, statues' podiums generally have 360 degrees or 4 sides, but just use a small portion to tell a tiny fraction of their story. We can use each statue's podium to tell more sides and degrees of their story. We can use the room around every street sign and name plate for further information giving more rounded and fuller information about history - both positive and negative.
Doing so will help us to de-idolise historical figures. It will help us to recognise that humans are more complicated than that. Hiding historic figures (and thus ourselves) from scandals and successes risks leaving us ignorant. That cannot be a good thing. Few if any historic figures have a completely clean record or reputation.
Admittedly, no story, however told, is complete. They can, however, be updated with facts over time. At a time when we see so much "fake news", more than ever, we need to focus on facts, and actively seek to avoid misinterpretations of history - either wilful or erroneous.
History is horrific. Being confronted with the horror helps us to avoid repeating the same mistakes of previous generations in the future. (An excellent example is Berlin's Topography of Terror, and various other installations identifying the terror that most of Germany experienced for most of the 20th Century.)
Out of sight, out of mind doesn't solve previous injustices or teach future generations. History and art is helpful when it's on our streets rather than masked by museums. Statues and other outdoor education installations are an important part of public access to education. The argument that they should be placed in museums concerns me. People from lower socio-economic groups visit museums far less than those from more advantaged groups. Removing street education will be a detriment.
This review is an opportunity to either increase ignorance or enhance education.
I hope it is used creatively for the latter.
Couldn't agree more
My dad coming from Lagos. There are white peple in Lagos. What would happen if they start riot becorse they dont want nigerian history and streets. All this tearing down englands peple just make us look like we have no respec for there country that gave us a safe home
Look at the 10,000 crowd assembled in Bristol to support 'Black Lives Matter', together with the people who finally dragged the statue of Colson and dumped him in the harbour a true mix of black and white. Well done to all of them.
I've learned a lot from the above discussion, thanks to the focus on facts and accuracy. That's so important. However, I'm very concerned by Cllr Ejiofor's statement that "we cannot ignore the fact that meanings change over time". I think if we ignore the facts, that can import new meanings/histories, but we must be very clear that the meaning/history is being distorted. We really must strive for facts and accuracies, not subject ourselves to untruths.
We just should not have these kneejerk reactions.
But we do need acknowledgement of and ACTION ON to address the destructive effects of the actions taken by people in the past. Let us not forget that history is written by the conquerers not the conquered.
On thing I can say... white people, not just europeans, but also white north and south americans , australians, kiwis..... - I am (more than?) half white by the way - need to realise that the European expansive colonisation over the last 500 years was a mostly destructive model of 'civilisation' and conquest. Based on economic AND CULTURAL domination, it continues to wreak havoc today.
And, for example, China now seems to be embarking on a similar, although more subtle and economic, approach to domination, having also moved into Africa to continue the self interested exploitation of that continent.
All this talk about maintaining one's heritage and history is nonsense. Just where is that acknowledgement of the wrongs done?
I also note the difference in how anti-semitism is dealt with compared with the all-pervasive racism against blacks.
It is one of the issues when you hear people spouting ideology based on "how great our country or our civilisation is" - isolationist policies upon which Brexit and MAGA are based. We do not live in bubbles but are all so interdependent. No man is an island!
"We earthlings" are now are looking to move out into space and wreak havoc on the rest of the universe....!
Doesn't sound like a rant to me. Sounds quite right. We need to turn the emotive kneejerk into a thoughtful approach that enhances our understanding of history.
So we are just debating about just removing statues and renaming streets when we really need a total rethinking of the narrative i.e 'history' to make it more a 'universal' story.
Can the populist politicians bring about tis change? Or will they contiune to pander to their own narrow constituencies?
It's a review that Cllr Ejiofor has requested submissions on. If you read my approach above, my suggestion is to present more of the narrative (rather than "rethinking") to make it more universal, as you suggest.
However, if you don't send your contribution to Cllr Ejiofor and to your own ward councillors - it may well end up being a simple removal of statues and renaming of streets.
Sooner anti-semitism is dropped and uses the 'racism' label, the better.
Its nothing more than racism, within the anti-racism movement.
Some very good points raised there Brian. History is exactly what it says. It's in the past. It's happened and nothing can change that fact. Nothing at all ! What we can change or affect is the future. Ripping down statues creates bad feelings amongst many others. And I would suggest the majority of us don't have a clue who most of these statues/monuments represents. They are/were figures of their time. They are not idolised by the present generation. Of course there may always be minority groups who think otherwise. I'm sure not all of todays protesters have squeaky clean histories themselves. So should they be removed from public view and locked away out of sight for all time ? And it is a fair assumption (I would think) that a fair proportion of these protesters buy or use drugs which funds modern day slavery/human trafficking/misery. Some may even sell. So we all need to look into our ourselves and be truthful before being blindly critical of others. There are many inequalities in life. Millions around the world are starving but that doesn't stop us from being so wasteful with our food. We discard rubbish like there's no tomorrow. We seek bargain prices on all manner of goods without ever considering the cheap labour that has produced it. This is modern day history. And we are making it. We CAN'T change the past. But we can help today and future. And remember ALL lives matter ! I hope I haven't stepped out of line here or offended anyone, that certainly isn't my intention.
I remember a statue of Gary Glitter over the entrance to the Rock Garden at the Trocadero in Piccadilly Circus. Should that have been left there?
No, is the simple answer.