Destroying Confederate Monuments Hurts Us All—and Accomplishes Nothing

The destruction of Confederate Monuments, while believed to be justified (cultural cleansing), is both ignorant and insensitive. Those who destroy the monuments think that removing such monuments will remove the reminder of racism from society. However, the removal of such monuments provokes anger and injustice by saying the events of racism never occurred, and also does not allow society to mourn and honor its deceased.

Key Takeaways:

  • As president of a cultural heritage organization, I feel obligated to weigh in on the current controversy over Confederate monuments. The semi-hysterical push to remove them is, I strongly believe, a mistake, a dangerous precedent, and an exercise in ignorance. Mobs pull statues down. ISIS destroys monuments. Fanatics rewrite history to edit out the bits they don’t like. Our country should not be walking down that road.
  • My nonprofit helps people in conflict zones protect their endangered heritage sites or rebuild them if they were damaged by war or terrorism. For example, we are working to restore the last remaining Judaeo-Christian pilgrimage site in the vicinity of Mosul, the only one that was missed by ISIS in its rampage. From my vantage point, the idea that the way to deal with history is to destroy any relics that remind you of something you don’t like, is highly alarming. It’s bad enough when some insane bunch of fanatics has this idea
  • To the Taliban, the ancient Buddhas of Bamiyan were impious remnants of a pre-Islamic age, idols that deserved to be blown up. Now these irreplaceable, priceless and beautiful statues are gone, lost to the world. ISIS dynamited Palmyra (“a heathen site”) and many other beautiful and valuable places

“Remove its reminders from public spaces, and you are helping to remove it from society.”

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