Saturday, October 22, 2005

Bomber on the Strand

My proposal for a list of statues glorifying terror, which the Home Secretary ought to consider, has brought a few responses. Amanda from Camden suggested that Hereward the Wake be added to the list of heroes whose glorification might exert a bad influence on the young.
I'm still looking for a pic of Hereward's statue.
Meanwhile I see that he led a band of Danes - foreign immigrants! - to despoil and rob Peterborough's abbey cathedral. Becoming an outlaw, he responded to the beheading of a relative by beheading a dozen Normans. Hereward became a Saxon hero, and was romanticised in the 19th century by Charles Kingsley, but may have had some Danish blood so might qualify as a "foreign terrorist" for the Express and Mail whatever the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle said.

Bob from Newham has suggested the statue of "Bomber" Harris in front of St.Clement Danes church at the end of the Strand, where it joins Aldwych. Now, I appreciate that the Air Marshall was responsible for the deaths of half a million civilians by what he called "moral bombing" (i.e. without pretence of aiming for military targets). We normally distinguish between terrorist bombers who risk their own lives, particularly "suicide bombers", and the civilised kind who drop their bombs from a safe height then fly home for tea, but it is only fair to note that "Bomber" Harris enthusiastic bombing campaign cost some 55,000 aircrew as well.
Nevertheless, it is worth remembering Harris was on Our Side, and even started his career by bombing Afghans who threatened the Empire. So surely,however many deaths he caused, he cannot be called a "Terrorist"?

I've also heard from Leon Kuhn who has provided our imaginative improvement on the Harris statue. It is from a book he has produced with Colin Gill, called "Topple the Mighty", looking at various monuments and pieces of statuary, their historic background, and the responses they have aroused.
I'll probably say more about it some time. Anyway it is published (with a preface by George Galloway, no less), by friction books,, and at £6.99 for an entertaining and information-packed read, I'd recommend it for dipping into on your own strolls around town, or as a Xmas prezzy. But not suitable for fogeys of a patriotic disposition.



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