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LETTER: Let Churchill join Corte-Real

Sir Winston Churchill during his visit to Halifax September 1944. - R. Mosher
Sir Winston Churchill — SaltWire file photo

I had hoped that the various letters and calls to remove Gaspar Corte-Real from his plinth would have had some impact by now but no, the slaver is still there, essentially indicating that our government contends that continuing to display the gift by a bloody dictator that honours human trafficking is just fine.

One of the many impacts of the Black Lives Matters movement has been to throw a light on history and to ask us to reassess the stories of historic episodes and the profiles of historical figures.

One such that I have been forced to confront is Winston Churchill. Like so many of us, I was raised to view Churchill as the brave and strong leader, the man of the hour, fighting fascism to the bitter end.

I ask the government to take him down, along with Corte-Real, and either put them in the Rooms with appropriate interpretive and truthful signage or melt them down and replace them with modern-day figures who truly deserve to be mythologized for the right reasons.

I knew he wasn’t perfect with his appalling misreading of strategy and tactics in Gallipoli and elsewhere, but nonetheless he was sold to me as a hero, a man to be revered and practically deified.

Journalists and citizens at large are in the process of unpicking the white world’s view of history and one such unraveling is the myth of Winston Churchill.

It turns out that Churchill was a racist, essentially a white supremacist as evidenced by one of his remarks as follows: “I do not admit for instance that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the Black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been to those people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race or at any rate a more worldly-wise race, to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”

There is a statue of Churchill and a square named for him just off Elizabeth Avenue in St. John's.

I ask the government to take him down, along with Corte-Real, and either put them in the Rooms with appropriate interpretive and truthful signage or melt them down and replace them with modern-day figures who truly deserve to be mythologized for the right reasons.

Bill Radford,
St. John’s

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