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Old 8th June 2020, 01:00 PM   #161
Gilbert Syndrome
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Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
Well, given that the earlier suggested compromise that was rejected was a second plaque explaining where his fortune came from, it seems likely that at least some people are taking that stance.
Well that's at least something, because it is history, whether we like it or not.

This is what's being done here regarding street names relating to the trade, whereby plaques are erected to explain the link, etc.
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Old 8th June 2020, 01:26 PM   #162
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Put it back. It's important Bristol isn't allowed to whitewash it's past and avoid scrutiny.
I disagree; I think it should be recovered from the river and put into a museum in the same way Liverpool has done with much of its slavery monuments and history, as Gilbert Syndrome has mentioned. I don't think it should be returned to the plinth. We need to learn from history, not pretend it never happened.
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Old 8th June 2020, 01:31 PM   #163
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It's now an archeological artifact.
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Old 8th June 2020, 01:38 PM   #164
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Originally Posted by ctamblyn View Post
Calm down, Nigel. I heard the statue had underlying health problems.
Well, maybe he didn't deserve to be thrown in the river, but if you look into it he certainly had "a chequered past", if you know what I mean. He was no angel, let's put it that way.
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Old 8th June 2020, 01:50 PM   #165
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Originally Posted by Jack by the hedge View Post
Now that surprised me. I'm familiar with the "triangular trade" story of slaves taken directly from Africa to the West Indies and America, and the sugar, tobacco and cotton which was the produce of their labour shipped to Britain, but not that slaves were brought to Britain, specifically because as I understood it slavery was not lawful here (though plenty were happy to tolerate and profit from it overseas). Is it really the case that African slaves were held in Bristol?
I thought the same thing, although I am pretty sure that slavery was completely forbidden in England only by a court case which, if I recall correctly, was some period shortly before the American revolution. (I remember the pronouncement along the lines that "The air of England was too pure to be breathed by a slave.")

In the twitter thread itself, there was a post claiming to debunk part of that original tweet. "Black Boy Hill" was not, in fact, named for the slave trade. Rather, it was named for the "Black Boy Tavern" that at one point was located there. And "The Black Boy" was Charles II.

No independent confirmation available.
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Old 8th June 2020, 01:53 PM   #166
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That part seems believable. A couple of centuries ago if you talked about a black man in Britain you meant a man with black hair. That much I gleaned from, amongst others, Patrick O'Brian, who delighted in using quaint but authentic dialogue.
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Old 8th June 2020, 01:56 PM   #167
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Originally Posted by Agatha View Post
I disagree; I think it should be recovered from the river and put into a museum in the same way Liverpool has done with much of its slavery monuments and history, as Gilbert Syndrome has mentioned. I don't think it should be returned to the plinth. We need to learn from history, not pretend it never happened.
Building a building around it seems rather expensive. A few pictures of it in the local historical museum seems fine to me. It seems like a fine, but rather unremarkable, statue.

Melt it down and use the bronze for a new statue of something....more modern? Seems unfortunate that they are going to have to pay someone to salvage the metal, but hey, a bunch of white kids got to have a cool party by throwing it in the harbor, so it's all good.
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Old 8th June 2020, 03:04 PM   #168
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It's Bristol, so they should put up a statue of Banksy.

Might be a problem for Banksy, though.
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Old 8th June 2020, 03:48 PM   #169
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There are arguments that it is unfair to judge people who lived in the past by our current moral values. But statues to these people exist in our current reality; they are here now, in our time, and it is therefore certainly fair to judge them by our current values. The question is not if it was right for people to honor in 1860 a slaver, or a Confederate general, by building a statue in 1860. I think not, but that boat has sailed. They were honored by the standards of their time, by enough people to have made the statues happen. And because of the racist standards of the 1870s, 1880s, etc. the honor continued and statues stayed up.

But now most of us recognize slavery to be a horror and an affront to humanity. Time for the statues to come done and either be melted away or placed in a museum of horrors. We don’t have to continue to honor people just because moral standards in the past were not what we hold to be true now.

Last edited by Giordano; 8th June 2020 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 8th June 2020, 04:08 PM   #170
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Would Egyptian monuments and ancient Egyptian artifacts be destroyed if there was found to be any connection to slavery? Or, is that something different or not applicable?
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Old 8th June 2020, 04:16 PM   #171
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
There are arguments that it is unfair to judge people who lived in the past by our current moral values. But statues to these people exist in our current reality; they are here now, in our time, and it is therefore certainly fair to judge them by our current values. The question is not if it was right for people to honor in 1860 a slaver, or a Confederate general, by building a statue in 1860. I think not, but that boat has sailed. They were honored by the standards of their time, by enough people to have made the statues happen. And because of the racist standards of the 1870s, 1880s, etc. the honor continued and statues stayed up.

But now most of us recognize slavery to be a horror and an affront to humanity. Time for the statues to come done and either be melted away or placed in a museum of horrors. We don’t have to continue to honor people just because moral standards in the past were not what we hold to be true now.
For how long do you seek atonement (through destroying things) for past misdeeds?

I certainly get pulling down statues of Saddam Hussain and Stalin as there were people still alive who directly suffered from their actions. But should statues of pharaohs be destroyed because they were notorious slave owners?

ETA ninja’d by William...
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Old 8th June 2020, 04:21 PM   #172
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"Judge historical figures by the perspectives of their own time and culture" is a guiding principle of historiography. It makes great sense to keep it in mind if you want to write a biography that will be respected in academic circles. It's part of stripping away biases and pretentions to get at the "why" of the observed and recorded behaviors of the subject.

When addressing today's broad and complex social issues, please just leave it at home.
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Old 8th June 2020, 04:32 PM   #173
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Originally Posted by Delphic Oracle View Post

When addressing today's broad and complex social issues, please just leave it at home.
Why? I love history, particularly ancient history. I hate the thought of destroying monuments because they are offensive to some today.
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Old 8th June 2020, 05:30 PM   #174
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
There are arguments that it is unfair to judge people who lived in the past by our current moral values. But statues to these people exist in our current reality; they are here now, in our time, and it is therefore certainly fair to judge them by our current values. The question is not if it was right for people to honor in 1860 a slaver, or a Confederate general, by building a statue in 1860. I think not, but that boat has sailed. They were honored by the standards of their time, by enough people to have made the statues happen. And because of the racist standards of the 1870s, 1880s, etc. the honor continued and statues stayed up.

But now most of us recognize slavery to be a horror and an affront to humanity. Time for the statues to come done and either be melted away or placed in a museum of horrors. We donít have to continue to honor people just because moral standards in the past were not what we hold to be true now.
I think the question is whether the fact that they held slaves, which was normal for their time, negates whatever extraordinary thing that they did in their lives that cause them to have a statue put up.

We can judge a George Washington and criticize him for holding slaves. Fine. Do we say that, because of that, we cannot honor him for his leadership of the Continental Army of his role in ensuring a democratic future for the United States?

As for Edward Colston, do we judge him only for his slave trade, or can we also acknowledge his role as someone who founded charitable institutions that have endured 300 years? In Colston's case, there's a tighter connection, so maybe it makes sense to say, "Thanks for the money, but, really, you only earned it through slavery, so, maybe that's not so good after all."

Or Robert E. Lee who, in addition to defending slavery...Ö..Hmmm....Is there anything else that he did other than defending slavery? Unless someone comes up with something, I'm ok with taking down the statues. In Lee's case, I think your reasoning applies just fine. I won't say he is a thoroughly awful person because he owned slaves or because he fought to end slavery, but I will say that there's nothing really commendable about him, except that he was good at it. Very well. Keep him in the books and praise his generalship, but maybe no statue for you.
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Old 8th June 2020, 06:53 PM   #175
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
In the Wikipedia article about the statue of Edward Colston it says that more than 20,000 African men died during the voyage. I think Captain Swoop has translated "died during the voyage" into "killed and thrown into the sea".

Not completely unfairly. Surely the slavers were responsible for their deaths, but I think the words paint an inaccurate picture.

Their lawyers weren't as detailed and verbose as we are today, but I'm guessing that even then the insurance policies refused to pay in cases where the deaths were deliberate. Even back then I'm sure that insurance companies had some way of protecting themselves against people who would deliberately create a coverable insurance event.
So the deaths were not deliberate by the standards of the time, but one of the things under discussion here is the divide between excusable foibles of one's time and things which require a new viewpoint. I think by any reasonable modern criterion, both of what is right and wrong, and what we believe now should have been the criterion then, taking people by force, chaining them up and subjecting them to inhuman and loathsome conditions and lethal discipline, in which their individual death was of no consequence, counts as killing them. Why should slavers be exempted from the general principle of felony murder? And I think there's little doubt about how the bodies would be disposed of when it happened.

I realize there's some danger in historical revisionism, but I don't have much problem calling that "killed and thrown into the sea."

I would add that we mustn't forget that having a statue is not the default condition of people whom we consider in history to have been good, or at least not all bad. A statue is something special. Tearing down a statue is not eradicating a person from history. It's saying we don't want our culture to be represented by his likeness.
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Old 8th June 2020, 08:16 PM   #176
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
So the deaths were not deliberate by the standards of the time, but one of the things under discussion here is the divide between excusable foibles of one's time and things which require a new viewpoint. I think by any reasonable modern criterion, both of what is right and wrong, and what we believe now should have been the criterion then, taking people by force, chaining them up and subjecting them to inhuman and loathsome conditions and lethal discipline, in which their individual death was of no consequence, counts as killing them. Why should slavers be exempted from the general principle of felony murder? And I think there's little doubt about how the bodies would be disposed of when it happened.
Forum conversations get weird and disjointed sometimes. Captain Swoop said that he had 20,000 people killed and the bodies thrown overboard and then claimed the losses on his insurance.

Brainster was saying that sounded fishy, because such a policy seemed like it might bankrupt the insurance company.

I was pointing out that perhaps Captain Swoop's description was a bit misleading, and that the insurance company, even then, probably had the means to protect themselves from deliberately damaging the goods.

It's a conversation about insurance. Insurance. No morality involved. No judgements. Just insurance. Everyone understands that the slavers are responsible for the deaths, but that wasn't really what was being discussed. A later poster provided some more details about what losses were and were not covered by insurance.



As for stature worthiness of people who lived during the era of African slavery, see my previous answers for Washington, Colston, and Lee.
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Old 8th June 2020, 08:38 PM   #177
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I am seeing pictures of the statue of Carl Linnaeus with the words "He's next".

Any idea what he is supposed to have done?
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Old 8th June 2020, 08:52 PM   #178
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Any idea what he is supposed to have done?
He named all the plants.
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Old 8th June 2020, 09:07 PM   #179
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Forum conversations get weird and disjointed sometimes. Captain Swoop said that he had 20,000 people killed and the bodies thrown overboard and then claimed the losses on his insurance.

Brainster was saying that sounded fishy, because such a policy seemed like it might bankrupt the insurance company.

I was pointing out that perhaps Captain Swoop's description was a bit misleading, and that the insurance company, even then, probably had the means to protect themselves from deliberately damaging the goods.

It's a conversation about insurance. Insurance. No morality involved. No judgements. Just insurance. Everyone understands that the slavers are responsible for the deaths, but that wasn't really what was being discussed. A later poster provided some more details about what losses were and were not covered by insurance.



As for stature worthiness of people who lived during the era of African slavery, see my previous answers for Washington, Colston, and Lee.
I was speaking not so much to the issue of insurance as to whether that level of responsibility should or should not be loosely translated as killing and throwing into the sea. I don't much have a problem with that.

As for the insurance, I imagine there may have been some kind of insurance based on a predicted percentage of loss, and although 20 thousand seems like a lot, it depends a little on how many people were transported and for how many years. 20 thousand could be a fairly acceptable percentage for a large number of slaves given the low cost of transport and the high rate of return. It's probably cheaper to lose a percentage than it is to provide more space and food for everyone.

Anyway, I think we're basically in agreement about the responsibility. I don't think it's wise or reasonable to start demolishing the memorials to every person whose character was tainted by the custom of the times, but some are worse than others. A person who made a fortune transporting slaves is in a different category from a person who participated in the practice of slavery, bad as that also was. And I don't think we should expunge such people from history. We should learn from them, and, among other things, remember to have a little humility when we think of how our own practices might be seen by people in the future. But I also think that one of the privileges we should gain for our progress and the enlargement of our sensibility is that of setting aside monuments that declare the goodness of things we no longer consider good.
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Old 8th June 2020, 09:18 PM   #180
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
He named all the plants.
He also named the animals, and some people consider him the father of "scientific racism," by including four races as separate subcategories of homo sapiens. Others would trace the problem back further, and no doubt racism of one sort or another goes back as far as you'd care to look, but Linnaeus was pretty important in providing modern racism with the scent of science.
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Old 8th June 2020, 09:28 PM   #181
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
I am seeing pictures of the statue of Carl Linnaeus with the words "He's next".

Any idea what he is supposed to have done?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scient...#Carl_Linnaeus

Quote:
Carl Linnaeus (1707Ė1778), the Swedish physician, botanist, and zoologist, modified the established taxonomic bases of binomial nomenclature for fauna and flora, and was a pioneer researcher in biologically defining human race. In Systema Naturae (1767), he labeled five "varieties" of human species. Each one was described as possessing the following physiognomic characteristics "varying by culture and place":

The Americanus: red, choleric, righteous; black, straight, thick hair; stubborn, zealous, free; painting himself with red lines, and regulated by customs.

The Europeanus: white, sanguine, browny; with abundant, long hair; blue eyes; gentle, acute, inventive; covered with close vestments; and governed by laws.

The Asiaticus: yellow, melancholic, stiff; black hair, dark eyes; severe, haughty, greedy; covered with loose clothing; and ruled by opinions.

The Afer or Africanus: black, phlegmatic, relaxed; black, frizzled hair; silky skin, flat nose, tumid lips; females without shame; mammary glands give milk abundantly; crafty, sly, lazy, cunning, lustful, careless; anoints himself with grease; and governed by caprice.

The Monstrosus were mythologic humans which didn't appear in the first editions of Systema Naturae. The sub-species included the "four-footed, mute, hairy" Homo feralis (Feral man); the animal-reared Juvenis lupinus hessensis (Hessian wolf boy), the Juvenis hannoveranus (Hannoverian boy), the Puella campanica (Wild-girl of Champagne), and the agile, but faint-hearted Homo monstrosus (Monstrous man): the Patagonian giant, the Dwarf of the Alps, and the monorchid Khoikhoi (Hottentot). In Amoenitates academicae (1763), Linnaeus presented the mythologic Homo anthropomorpha (Anthropomorphic man), humanoid creatures, such as the troglodyte, the satyr, the hydra, and the phoenix, incorrectly identified as simian creatures.
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Old 8th June 2020, 10:23 PM   #182
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
I am seeing pictures of the statue of Carl Linnaeus with the words "He's next".

Any idea what he is supposed to have done?
Invented Latin species names.
Drew a lot of plants (and gave them names, categorizing them into the whole Kingdom/Philum/order thing that you had to learn in high school)
Got his head chopped off. (I think it was for non-payment of taxes, or something. It was a financial thing.)
Collected and wrote down the rules for Tablut. (Generalized to all "tafl" family games.)

And...
ETA: Post edited. I really need to read to the end of the thread before replying. Other people got to it long before I did.

Last edited by Meadmaker; 8th June 2020 at 10:34 PM.
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Old 9th June 2020, 12:12 AM   #183
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Why? I love history, particularly ancient history. I hate the thought of destroying monuments because they are offensive to some today.

200 and 50 year old statues are hardly ancient history so no idea what your view on ancient history has to do with the discussion in this thread.
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Old 9th June 2020, 02:07 AM   #184
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Would Egyptian monuments and ancient Egyptian artifacts be destroyed if there was found to be any connection to slavery? Or, is that something different or not applicable?
IMO there's a significant difference between someone or something with a tangential relationship to slavery and a statue to someone who not only made his fortune from slave trading and who was notorious for disposing of his "livestock" and claiming on his insurance when the opportunity arose.

There's also a difference between destroying an artefact and displaying it proudly in public. For example, IMO it's perfectly acceptable to display shackles in a museum exhibit which explains the history of, and the evils of, slavery. OTOH a pair of shackles being proudly displayed with references to a glorious slave-trading past is an entirely different matter.
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Old 9th June 2020, 02:33 AM   #185
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
He also named the animals, and some people consider him the father of "scientific racism," by including four races as separate subcategories of homo sapiens. Others would trace the problem back further, and no doubt racism of one sort or another goes back as far as you'd care to look, but Linnaeus was pretty important in providing modern racism with the scent of science.
Taxa-in humans in biogeographical groups wasn't really the problem, ever. The over-time oppressive, hierarchial terminology and most importantly the attached 'moralistic' characteristics were indeed.
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Old 9th June 2020, 02:39 AM   #186
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
An excellent idea. You tell the Brits.
I do.
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Old 9th June 2020, 02:46 AM   #187
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
Changing a street name isn't "wiping out an important part of history". Just like erecting statues, street names aren't created to teach or record or preserve history. They are acts of speech, designed to communicate that a person, place, or thing is worthy of special honor. It is okay to remove the statue or change the street name as another, separate act of speech intended to communicate that the present public no longer considers that person, place, or thing worthy of special honor. Doing so does not "delete them" from history like some kind of Twilight Zone gimmick.
I keep going back to this, where has the idea arisen from that we must be bound to what folk in the past decided they wanted as ornaments? Especially given that in the past for the vast majority of such "commemorations" would have had sod all to do with the general public and will have been decided upon by a very small, completely unrepresentative actual elite celebrating themselves.

They put up and pulled down what they wanted, as should everyone.
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Old 9th June 2020, 02:55 AM   #188
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Originally Posted by Delphic Oracle View Post
"Judge historical figures by the perspectives of their own time and culture" is a guiding principle of historiography. It makes great sense to keep it in mind if you want to write a biography that will be respected in academic circles. It's part of stripping away biases and pretentions to get at the "why" of the observed and recorded behaviors of the subject.

When addressing today's broad and complex social issues, please just leave it at home.
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
200 and 50 year old statues are hardly ancient history so no idea what your view on ancient history has to do with the discussion in this thread.
You obviously didn’t bother reading my earlier post that Delphic Oracle was responding to. Where I asked if statues of slave owner pharaohs could be destroyed.

Quote:
But should statues of pharaohs be destroyed because they were notorious slave owners?
This thread is about discussing statues associated with racial injustice. No time limit on this that I can see. So I am totally on topic.

You’re welcome.
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Old 9th June 2020, 02:57 AM   #189
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Originally Posted by Agatha View Post
I disagree; I think it should be recovered from the river and put into a museum in the same way Liverpool has done with much of its slavery monuments and history, as Gilbert Syndrome has mentioned. I don't think it should be returned to the plinth. We need to learn from history, not pretend it never happened.
I think it can stay in the harbour, with a plaque erected telling divers what it is, where it is, and why it's there.
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Old 9th June 2020, 02:58 AM   #190
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
You obviously didnít bother reading my earlier post that Delphic Oracle was responding to. Where I asked if statues of slave owner pharaohs could be destroyed.



This thread is about discussing statues associated with racial injustice. No time limit on this that I can see. So I am totally on topic.

Youíre welcome.
Which ones are you talking about?
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Old 9th June 2020, 02:58 AM   #191
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
You keep mentioning this insurance on 20,000 people killed and thrown into the sea; do you have a source for that? It strikes me that the insurance company marketing that particular policy must have gone broke.
All ships cargo was and is insured.
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Old 9th June 2020, 02:59 AM   #192
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Which ones are you talking about?
It’s on this page, plus read my edit.

Your attacks on people expressing opinions which are on topic are getting tiresome.

Unless you are asking me to nominate pharaohs? Really?
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Old 9th June 2020, 03:00 AM   #193
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Lionking - why do you think we have to be bound by the decisions of people made 50, 200 or 40,000 years ago? Why can't people today do what those people did and decide what they want to commemorate in their public spaces?
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Old 9th June 2020, 03:00 AM   #194
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Itís on this page, plus read my edit.

Your attacks on people expressing opinions which are on topic are getting tiresome.
Sorry but I can't see any you have mentioned.
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Old 9th June 2020, 03:13 AM   #195
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Lionking - why do you think we have to be bound by the decisions of people made 50, 200 or 40,000 years ago? Why can't people today do what those people did and decide what they want to commemorate in their public spaces?
I cannot believe you are arguing in good faith.

As has been raised before, who decides to destroy statues and how? A mob acting illegally? A random group of vandals? Destroying property they didnít own or control?

Or maybe the Taliban?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhas_of_Bamyan

Are you comfortable that the Taliban decided to destroy 1500 year old statues of Buddha?
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Old 9th June 2020, 03:23 AM   #196
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Originally Posted by jimbob
Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Statue deserved to go down. The guy was a freaking slave trader he is more directly guilty then the Confederate generals (though their statues should go also.
Of course a dirty little secret is that a lot of the great British Trading Fortunes were founfrf on "The Blackbird Trade".
This is an interesting thread on that:

https://twitter.com/tonys2009/status...56654683013122
On top of what others have said about there being no regular slave transport through the UK I'd also call the twitter thread bollocks based on the 3 foot long bolts which would destroy the foundations, so the rings couldn't be removed. Why would you use 3' bolts to tie slaves to? Also if you wanted them gone then you could just cut the head of the bolt off.
I think some older wise guy in the shop was winding up a naive young employee.
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Old 9th June 2020, 03:24 AM   #197
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
I cannot believe you are arguing in good faith.

As has been raised before, who decides to destroy statues and how? A mob acting illegally? A random group of vandals? Destroying property they didnít own or control?
Who decided they should be raised in the first place?

You haven't yet explained why you think we have to be bound by the decisions of people made 50, 200 or 40,000 years ago? Why can't people today do what those people did and decide what they want to commemorate in their public spaces?

Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Or maybe the Taliban?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhas_of_Bamyan

Are you comfortable that the Taliban decided to destroy 1500 year old statues of Buddha?
Not comfortable with that at all - I think it was a terrible act. But so what? Why should what I want be what everybody else has to honour?

And you are certainly not arguing in good faith as you know we are talking about recent history and about what still directly effects the people living today as a direct consequence of those being commemorated.
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Old 9th June 2020, 03:24 AM   #198
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
I cannot believe you are arguing in good faith.

As has been raised before, who decides to destroy statues and how? A mob acting illegally? A random group of vandals? Destroying property they didn’t own or control?

Or maybe the Taliban?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhas_of_Bamyan

Are you comfortable that the Taliban decided to destroy 1500 year old statues of Buddha?
I see you are in the Farage camp.
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Old 9th June 2020, 03:29 AM   #199
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i'm not much of a fan of guilt-by-association, but I do know that if I found myself agreeing with Nigel Farage that I'd definitely take that as a cue for self-examination.
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Old 9th June 2020, 03:33 AM   #200
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Not comfortable with that at all - I think it was a terrible act. But so what? Why should what I want be what everybody else has to honour?

And you are certainly not arguing in good faith as you know we are talking about recent history and about what still directly effects the people living today as a direct consequence of those being commemorated.
.....with regards to the comparison to the Taliban, IMO that's a crock.

If you want to compare it to the destruction/disposal of a statue of Buddha, it's more closely analogous to me throwing out the cheap statue of Buddha that my aunt bought from some local shop in the 60's and had on her mantle-piece than the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamyan.
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