Statues – remembrance and oppression

 

Sir, – One letter-writer, regarding the Confederacy monuments controversy in the US, stated, “Why shouldn’t dark aspects of the past be symbolically remembered?” (August 18th). Yet how many people in Ireland would support public statues in memory of Oliver Cromwell, Capt Charles Boycott, the Black and Tans, or the Penal Laws? History must not be ignored. But depicting “dark aspects” in places of honour is an attempt to elevate evil to a moral par with its victims. – Yours, etc,

DAN DONOVAN,

Dungarvan, Co Waterford.

Sir, – Oisín Keogh’s letter (August 18th) about retaining monuments is well thought-out and balanced. Closer to home, what did Nelson “ever do to us” that prevented his statute remaining as a symbol of Ireland’s past? – Yours, etc,

NIALL McMANUS,

Kilkenny.

Sir, – Oisín Keogh, who objects to the removal of, as he calls them, “symbolic mouments” of confederate leaders and generals, says history matters. If he cares that much about history, then surely he knows that the vast majority of these monuments were commissioned and financed during the 1920s – a period when the Ku Klux Klan was emerging and infiltrating local and state government in the US. These monuments are not symbolic in any way other than highlighting the deep-seated racism and anger over the loss of the war of Confederate sympathisers. People of any ethnic persuasion other than white have to walk past a monument to their oppressor anytime they want to go to a park, or school or any other public place where one of these statues has been erected. It would be akin to a statue of Rommel at Normandy, or Cromwell in Drogheda.

History does matter, and I would suggest that Mr Keogh read some to fully understand that while Washington and Jefferson were slave owners, and nobody is forgetting that, they at least created a declaration that stated “that all men are created equal” and a framework to free slaves. The people who marched in Charlottesville under the pretext of “statue rights” do not believe in that last statement. And if you agree with Donald Trump on this matter, then neither do you. – Yours, etc,

DAVID CONLON,

Lucan, Co Dublin.

Sir, – US president Donald Trump is correct to point out that the left’s grievance industry is insatiable (“Foolish to remove civil war statues, says Trump”, World News, August 18th). It’s only a matter of time before some group seeks to ban Lynyrd Skynyrd’s music because the band, though not racists, always played in front of the Confederate flag. Elvis’s magnificent American Trilogy starts with Dixie. The Band’s The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down references rebel suffering during the American civil war and mentions Robert E Lee by name. Are the Band and Elvis to be banned next? Time to stock up on vinyl perhaps? – Yours, etc,

KARL MARTIN,

Bayside, Dublin 13.

Sir, – You know who’s really going to be angry about the removal of statues in the US? Pigeons. – Yours, etc,

MARK ZWAGERMAN,

Grass Valley, California.