Getting to grips with the history

Getting to grips with the History

Quotes from the book ‘From Marcus Aurelius to Kim Jong-Il’

Almost every day we see examples of people who have forged an impressive career, but who subsequently fall out of favour for a variety of reasons; politicians, presidents, industrialists, bankers and so on. It was no different in the past.

………………I dare to suggest that the majority of the portrayed equestrians were unpleasant people, to put it mildly. In quite a number of cases, they would nowadays not survive a hearing at the International Criminal Court unscathed.

……………….The question is what to do with the statues of people once highly esteemed and celebrated, but now profoundly detested as a result of changing times, norms and ideas. It is a fact that these were almost always destroyed or removed. There are abundant examples of this.

……………Revolutions were (and still are) critical moments for statues…………..The French Revolution was the end of the statues of kings, which were seen as symbols of absolutism…………….Revolution also took its toll in Russia. Many statues, seen as a representation of the loathed tsardom, were destroyed. Fortunately this did not happen to……..It is interesting to note that the tumbling of the large statue in Baghdad was not so much a spontaneous expression of hate, but instead a meticulously prepared event, aimed at a large TV audience.

……………….Independency was another critical moment for many statues. Existing statues were seen as the symbols of the former colonialists, not only in India, but also in the US, North Africa and the Far East.

………………War is a third critical moment for equestrian statues, as proved by World War II once again. ………………..A large number of statues were destroyed in Germany itself, in and after World War II. Out of the 66 equestrian statues of Wilhelm I once existing, only 15 remain.

………………In my opinion, it would be better if we could learn to live with our history, no matter how ugly this history may be, if only to become wiser from it.  …………Moreover, as history shows, the hero of yesterday may be detested today, but it would be no exception if he or she were proven to be valued again in the future.

…………………So, whatever happens now and may happen in the future, I would like to argue for the conservation of the equestrian statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, unveiled in Pyongyang in North Korea in 2012. Whether we like it or not, they are part of our common history.