On August 8, 1999 a ZNet Commentary of mine had as a title: “The Statue of a Benefactor”. The “Benefactor” was US President Harry Truman. The beneficiary was the Greek people with about 160,000 ordinary Greeks killed by the police, Nazi collaborators, and by concervative Christian fellow-Greeks. An improvement on Truman’s Hiroshima effort which numbered only 75.000 dead.
On February 23, 1945, Joseph Goebbels, the admirable intellectual of Nazism, gave a speech in which he declared that “an ‘iron curtain’ had descended” separating the civilised West from the barbarous communist East.
On May 1, 1945, only 67 days after the delivery of the above speech, Goebbels, the epitome of bravery, had his six children poisoned with a lethal injection by an SS doctor and then himself and his wife Magda shot by an SS orderly.
On March 5, 1946 in Fulton, Missouri, with President Truman sitting behind him, Winston Churchill spoke to the peoples of the world saying: “…an iron curtain has descended across the Continent”. To keep Greece in Goebbels’s “West”, through violence, Truman, the benefactor, paid the Greek rightists US $ 300 million.
[Interesting Parenthesis: “Goebbels was born in a strict Catholic, working class family… He was educated at a Roman Catholic school and went on to study history and literature at the University of Heidelberg under Professor Friedrich Gundolf, a Jewish (!) literary historian… Goebbels’s deeply rooted contempt for humanity, his urge to sow confusion, hatred and intoxication, his lust for power and his mastery of the technique of mass persuasion were given full vent in the election campaigns of 1932.. Goebbels created an atmosphere of wild emotion . Playing adroitly on German fears of the ‘Asiatic hordes’..” (Robert Wistrich, ‘Who’s Who in Nazi Germany’, pages 97-99, 1982). The similarity to the Trumpean era is amazing. As always, History is repeated as tragedy not only for the American people but this time for the planet. End of the parenthesis.]
The American Hellenic (i.e. Greek) Educational Progressive (!) Association (AHEPA) did not forget the benefactor. The AHEPA was founded in 1922 in the US by a group of Greek-American businessmen as a fraternal association with masonic influences. The AHEPAns, as they are known in Greece, to express their gratitude to Truman financed the creation of a statue of Truman. The statue, about 1.3 times life-size, cast in bronze was placed in one of the most important thoroughfares of Athens, close to the all-marble Olympic Stadium which is visited by millions of tourists.
The Truman statue had been blown or toppled by the Greeks so many times that by now no one pays attention if it is toppled once more. The most impressive (and tragic) case of the attacks against the statue is that of the medical student who during the military dictatorship of 1967 to 1974 blew up the statue three times. During the third attempt a young policeman was killed, while tinkering , out of curiosity, with the package that contained the explosives. I have been told that the student later, as a Doctor, for years donated part of his salary to the parents of the policeman.
A non-violent reaction
Do we really care about what people will think about us after we die? It seems that we care. If this is true, then there is a solution to the problem of toppling statues.
Ten years ago, in 2010, I visited a studio that was producing CDs. So, I asked the people there to make about a dozen copies of a CD for me. Which they did with the material I had brought to them.
The label on the CDs is: “EXIT DOMINUS, A Social Hymn (to Rationality) Set to the Music of Handel, Bach, and Purcell”. [The word ‘Rationality” had been added later].
There is a Prologue which states:
This rather “unusual’ compilation of speech , text, visual material, and music is addressed to men and women of all ages , but is directed especially to young people.
Its aim is to introduce them to the music of Handel, Bach, and Purcell and to present to them some basic “facts” about the social problems of the world, with the help of the music of these three exceptional humans.
It is not an exaggeration to say that if a man or a woman did not have the chance to “approach” this music in his or her lifetime, then he or she is deprived of a very significant part of the human experience.
There are 19 Chapters in the CD.
Here is Chapter 11.that concerns us. The Title of the Chapter is:
“Send Them to Hell”
Here is the text of the Chapter:
Can anyone send Alexander the “Great” , Napoleon, King Leopold II of Belgium, Hitler, Mussolini, Churchill, Stalin, Hirohito, Franco, Pinochet, etc to “Hell”?
Of course, “Hell” exitted together with “Dominum” (in English: “the Lord”, our Christian God), at least centuries ago.
So what could be “Hell” for these murderous assholes? “Hell” could be to just, show the Greeks, the French, the Belgians, and the other “patriots” that their heroes were just that: “murderous assholes” and that their monuments can easily be transformed into urinals while their chapters in History can be labeled “Sewage of History”
These monsters’ way to “Hall’ is hastened with the lively music from Handel’s opera”Xerxes”.
The words that help this process:
‘Tis time now to get them
Send them Packing to Hell
And then we all will see that justice be done
I printed only a dozen copies to have some of them evaluated by friends. Of course I was naive. Not a single one of them liked the barock stuff.
Back to the toppling of statues:
To destroy the statutes is not effective. The statues of the “Assholes” should be there for all the future generations to see.
What should be our reaction?
Take Leopold of Belgium. All we have to do is retain the statue of Leopold and allow our sculptors to create a group of black people , children and adults, with their arms chopped by the Great King Leopold II. and position them around or in front of the statue of Leopold. If relatives of Leopold or Nazis protest., all we have to do is move the statues of the victimes a few meters away or position them in another area.
Or, take Churchill’s statue. In his multi-volume opus of the Second World War he writes: “The hideous process of bombarding open cities from the air, once started by the Germans, was repaid twenty-fold…(The Second World War, Vol. 1,p.16)”. But in the early 1930s “… Winston Churchill authorized the use of chemical weapons (by bombardment) ‘against recalcitrant Arabs as experiment’, denouncing the ‘squeamishness’ of those who objected ‘to using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes’, mainly Kurds, a policy that he strongly favored, expecting that it ‘would spread a lively terror. (Noam Chomsky, ‘Year 501’ p. 201, South End Press, 1993. “
And so on.
It rests with our artists to give the non-violent sculptural answer to the ‘murderous assholes’.