Churchill Statue Vandalized.
This article appeared in the Wall Street Journal on June 18, 2021
It seems that the wokesters who claim that they are “anti-racists” still can’t tolerate the memory of a man who defeated history’s most murderous racist. The Thursday defacing of a statue in Canada is the latest effort to cancel Hitler’s implacable foe.
Jeff Labine reports in the Edmonton Journal:
A Downtown statue of Sir Winston Churchill has been vandalized after someone dumped red paint all across the replica of the former British prime minister...
Churchill, who served as prime minister from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955, is seen as a national hero for his leadership during the Second World War but held many views that would be deemed racist.
Perhaps the 20th century’s greatest adversary of communist and fascist dictatorships, Churchill has of course been found wanting by today’s dictators of political fashion. This week’s vandalism follows several such instances over the last year involving a U.K. statue of Churchill in London’s Parliament Square. In Canada, Mr. Labine reports:
Elisebeth Checkel, the president of the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Edmonton, said this is the first instance of the statue being vandalized that she’s heard of and was disappointed to see it happen.
She said Churchill has a complicated legacy and believes it is important to look at him in a balanced way.
“If we look at any historical figure, we will find the same thing,” Checkel said. “If we look at almost any person from the 1880s, we would find their views were if not repugnant to us nowadays, we would find they were disagreeable for sure. If you look at Churchill’s later actions and life as he grew, as we all hope to do, his views did change. The balance should be celebrated because without Churchill we would not even have the right to protest in this country.”
Licia Corbella writes in the Calgary Herald that this week’s vandalism of the statue is “another act of woke totalitarianism.” She adds:
Mark Milke, president of the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Calgary, says it’s chilling to contemplate what the world would be like now had Churchill not been there.
“Imagine if Churchill hadn’t been there and the United Kingdom either did a peace treaty with Hitler or fell during an invasion,” said Milke. “Nazi Germany would have controlled much of Europe... with the Soviet Union controlling the other half and Imperial Japan raping Asia. Canada and the U.S. would have been pretty much alone in the world...”
“Churchill is not a Civil War general from the South fighting to protect slavery. He’s not Joseph Stalin or Chairman Mao or Adolf Hitler,” continued Milke.
No he’s not. In fact Churchill was a stalwart opponent of the ideologies promoted by all three of the 20th century’s most infamous mass murderers. “For the historically illiterate who like to throw paint on statues,” Ms. Corbella notes the bloody legacy of Churchill’s enemies and adds:
What never seems to get mentioned is these statues are works of art. This destruction is not unlike the Taliban destroying the Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2001. These woke folk are Talibanesque.
As for Churchill, Ms. Corbella asks: “If we allow his legacy to be torn down, whose, pray tell, can stand?”
Fortunately Ms. Corbella is not standing alone. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney tweets:
“People should continue to debate Churchill’s complex legacy & record, but vandalizing public property like this is shameful.
No member of the greatest generation can meet the standards of contemporary wokeness. But we should still honour those who secured our peace and freedom.”
Canadian Parliament member Pierre Poilievre adds:
“Don’t schools teach history anymore?
Now the woke warriors attack the statue of Winston Churchill--the greatest anti-fascist of all time. He beat Hitler and Mussolini for crying out loud.
Do these vandals wish he had lost?”
Coincidentally it was on this day 81 years ago when Churchill addressed the British House of Commons after the German army had overrun France. Said Churchill:
“I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”
If wokesterism could last for a thousand years, would it ever result in a great civilization?
James Freeman is the co-author of “The Cost: Trump, China and American Revival.”