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Are you upset about ancient statues/monuments to oppression? Should they be taken down?

Submitted by kore in AskRaddle

TL;DR: Why are people not advocating for the removal of statues of ancient oppressors as much as modern ones?

Augustus (the first emperor of Ancient Rome) was an imperialist and probably did a lot of bad shit that wasn't recorded. There's a statue of him on my college campus (and many other places).

Pyramids (in Egypt, Nubia, Mesoamerica, etc.) and other monumental architecture (like mounds built by Mississippian cultures in the U.S.) is only possible through state power and oppression.

If some U.S. slave owner had built a massive monument with a bunch of slaves, a large number of people would want it to be taken down. However, I don't really see many people advocating the destruction of ancient monumental architecture or statues of ancient oppressors.

I am seriously conflicted about this because I study ancient history and I wish there was more evidence.

I understand that it's a bit difficult to compare the two situations because the atrocities of the civil war and slavery were recorded in other ways, whereas the pyramids are the only testament to the slaves that built them.

If I were to come up with a solution, I think that monuments to the civil war should be removed from the public, as it certainly is insulting, but I think destroying them might be a bit misguided.

As a side note, where do you draw the line? The Korean War Memorial is a reminder of genocide (against North Koreans) but veterans would get pissed if you got angry about that.

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10

emma wrote (edited )

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Ant wrote

If it's symbolically holding up structures of oppression, it's gotta go or change

things like pyramids are doing this less than statues or universities named after rhodes, for example

but fuck them too, they can be museumised, blunted, or destroyed

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zorblax wrote

Time heals all wounds. In 1000 years the surviving statues of General Lee will be just as historical and non-offensive as Trajan's Arch.

Meanwhile, the wounds are still fresh for say, the American Civil War or Cromwell's massacre of the Irish, so those monuments are not appropriate for our placetime. Building a new one in particular is just a big fuck you to everyone still hurting from it.

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PancakeMash wrote

A large amount of confederate monuments in America were built during the Jim-Crow era and Civil Rights era. There was even one built in Arizona, and that state wasn't a fucking part of the confederacy, so it's clear what their purpose was. The wounds are still extremely fresh, more than most people would think.

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mms4wyfu wrote

where do you draw the line?

I think "how can you reason about it?" is usually a more useful starting question than "where do you draw the line?"

I study ancient history and I wish there was more evidence.

This pretty much answers it for me. Ancient monuments give us the means to investigate history. Shitty commodity confederate trash statues--as artifacts--don't act as an exclusive window into another world. The minimal relevance they have is for their shitty racist symbolism, which is easily recorded in pictures or brief descriptions.

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kore wrote

Yeah i'm just saying that in 2000 years some historian might wish we hadn't destroyed the statues.