The protesters against racism have been tearing down the sculptures of ancient figures related to slavery. Over the past few weeks, France is thinking of a solution to deal with the problem.
The quarrel on systemic racism towards Black people in Western societies has reignited after the death of George Floyd in the US, as well as the worldwide revival of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
In 2016, a Frenchman, Adama Traoré, originally from Mali, was killed following police questioning. Calls for justice has been revived by the recent BLM protesters in France.
Despite this former colonial power’s challenged tradition in France, the attention of media has been negligible towards the question of controversial statues.
The Fight Against Black Slavery
On June 7, the statue of a slave trader, Edward Colston in the English port of Bristol, was brought down by the protesters. In Belgium, numerous monuments of King Léopold II were also demolished by the activists from BLM movement.
An appeal is called for the confiscation of the opposed figures in French history. These statues are being aimed because they outlined ‘slave owner rights’ over ‘slaves’, describing them as ‘a personal possession’.
The Rising of Revolutionists in France
The places which are named after Colbert are announced to be renamed by the former French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.
In several French towns, a statue of Georges Cuvier is also shown who owns racist scientific theories of the time. He stated, ‘“France isn’t racist”.
In support of compensating colonial slave owners, two statues of an objector ‘Victor Schoelcher’, was seized by the provincial authorities on May 22nd.
The statue of the island’s former governor, Mahé de La Bourdonnais, located in the Indian Ocean, was demanded by the citizens to be replaced. He used to make money from slave trading and used slaves for public works.
Statues connected to colonization and slavery are being removed immediately. But others think it might help to contextualize these figures if they are well-preserved with signs offering historical explanations.
Director of the Memories and Sharing Association, Karfa Diallo, said on France’s Inter Radio Network, ‘We will make it possible to safeguard the memory we have of this crime against humanity. Destroying them is not the solution.’
Some residents also supported the sculptures by saying, ‘Removing the statues is not a solution but is a form of censorship. We cannot rewrite history. History must be accepted.’