What’s going on?
Numerous protestors flooded the streets of London on the 7th of June, 2020 to show solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement that was triggered all across the world after the heinous killing of George Floyd at the hands of the police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. The UK had its moment of awakening with people pulling down the statue of Edward Colston- a slave trader from the 18th Century- and tossing it into the Bristol Harbor. Following this act against racism, protest marches in London led to the vandalization of the ‘iconic’ statue of Winston Churchill on Parliament Square. A protestor struck out the name of the legendary British Prime Minister and scribbled ‘Was a racist’ on it while a throng of people around him chanted ‘Churchill was a racist’ to show their support. The vandal later proudly told TV crews that he was not sorry about calling a racist a racist, however, he is currently being searched for by the Metropolitan police.
Who was Winston Churchill?
Sir Winston Churchill was a renowned politician, and army officer, and was elected prime minister of the United Kingdom twice. He is a prominent figure in 20th-century British history as he conducted an allied strategy with the USA and USSR during World War II which assisted Great Britain in defeating Hitler and emerging victorious. To honor his devotion to his country, in 1973 a statue of him was unveiled on Parliament Square.
Why is he referred to as a racist?
Although Winston Churchill was a greatly admired statesman, he was notorious for his racism and intolerance towards people of color including Indians, Blacks, and Palestinians. He was a strong believer in racial hierarchies which sadly led to the death of millions.
In fact, he blatantly stated, “I hate Indians…they are beastly people with a beastly religion” and orchestrated the Bengal Famine in 1943 wherein he exported rice from India to feed the rest of his British empire, leaving 4 million Indians to die from hunger. Furthermore, 1.5 million blacks were sent to detention camps in Kenya on Churchill’s orders, he was also responsible for depriving black communities of their voting rights in South Africa.
From Winston Churchill to Donald Trump, the world has had its fair share of controversial leaders, however, I suppose it’s their cult of personality that sees them through. The human race is an impressionable race, we invest blind faith in our elected leaders and treat them with extreme adulation, in turn, justifying all their wrongdoings or refusing to acknowledge them.
Zara Shroff is a 17 year old who loves writing and singing