There has been a lot of controversy in the United States lately over Confederate War monuments and statues to former Confederacy figures. All war monuments are controversial if they are erected to remember one side only, usually ignoring not only the ‘enemy’ but civilians and animals who died in wars.
Surely it would be better to erect monuments and memorials to ALL casualties of war on ALL sides, both military, civilian and animals?
Some war memorials are more controversial than others, as with many statues. The current U.S. controversy was stirred up following the Confederate Battle Flag rumpus, often called the Rebel Flag. The controversy then spread to Confederate War monuments which have stood in place for over a century.
It should be possible to convert all war monuments into memorials for all who died in that particular war.Â Another particularly controversial memorial is the recent elaborate one to RAF Bomber Command near Hyde Park Corner, though according to Wikipedia it is also supposed to commemorate all the civilians killed in air raids. That is not obvious from looking at it.
Then there is the controversial statue to ‘Bomber’ Harris erected a some years ago outside the RAF church St Clement-Danes in The Strand, London. It attracted demonstrations, and red paint has been thrown over the monument. Churchill’s statue has been vandalized too, he authorized the bombing of civilians. They dare not put a statue of Margaret Thatcher in a public place in LondonÂ or that too would be vandalized, so it is inside the Houses of Parliament.
Abroad statues are torn down as dictators are overthrown or fall from favor, such as Saddam Hussein, Vladimir LeninÂ or Josef Stalin. Many controversial ones remain which could be seen as offensive to certain people as they are of military and political people. Even statues to humanitarians like Fenner Brockway might be regarded by some as too political.
With statues, there is not much that can be done. They will be erected and demolished as the political climate changes. However war memorials could so easily be adapted to commemorate all who died in all wars. Like the white peace poppy, they would then be non-discriminatory and really bring home to people the horror of war.