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Should We Africans Pull Down The Statutes Of Our Great Men And Women Who Were Also Involved With Slave Trade?

Updated on June 15, 2020
Awolesi Abiodun Adedola profile image

Abiodun is an African and has written articles on social and government related issues.

Statute Of Edward Colston Thrown Down The River In Engand

Do Many More Statutes Have To Go Down Worldwide?

I believe President Trump's handling of the black lives matter protests further fuelled the anger of protesters worldwide; leading to the forceful pulling down of statutes of men associated with slave trade.

If every human race had been involved with slavery or slave trade, many more statutes should therefore be going down.

People From All Human Races Were Involved In Slavery Or Slave Trade. Pulling Down Of Statutes Should Not Be One-sided

Though far away in Nigeria, I have always being a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump. However, his response to the protests resulting from George Floyd's death were responsible for the rage with which protesters started pulling down statutes of men who, though guilty of slavery and all the ills associated with it, were great contributors to civilization.

At the Houston funeral of the late George Floyd, a Reverend pinpointed what had been going through my mind since a protest that started in Minneapolis spread throughout the United States of America and then across the entire world.

The clergyman said President Trump was repeatedly disapproving protests and the resultant looting without making mention of the "8 minutes and 40 seconds" or thereabout period during which Derek Chauvin pressed his knees on George Floyd's neck to take away his life.

Such a sensitive issue and police act of brutality that revolves around the ill treatment of black Americans and people of colour should have received repeated condemnation from the President of the United States, who should have gone ahead to work for social equity, justice for all, and drastic police reforms.

With the right response from the President, the protests would not have been extended to forceful pulling down of statutes dedicated to patriotic figures. The protests most probably would have died down once the right thing is heard being said and seen being done.

That said, here are some reasons why I think pulling down the statutes of white men whose hands were soiled with slavery would be hypocritical without including those of our African kings, chiefs and merchants who all used slaves and were involved in slave trade.

Perhaps all the Egyptian pyramids dedicated to Pharaohs should be blown up since those kings all used slaves. Come to think of it, slaves built the Egyptian pyramids.

Look up these my points to see what I'm really trying to say:

1. If the pages of history tell us tales of slavery and how ancient kingdoms all used slaves to carry out hard unpaid labours with which they built their cities and civilization, then there is no human race that is innocent of these heinous crimes.

It then follows that for complete justice to be done, all statutes of leaders of all those nations, be it African, Chinese, European, Indian,Asian, Arabian and so on should be pulled down. That makes a whole lot of statutes and monuments to be destroyed.

2. Slavery was the heavy machinery behind many industries in those days before complex machines and technology were developed. Virtually every nation and clan is guilty of putting others to slavery and forced labour instead of paying them as workers. They forcefully put them to hard labour for much profit.

If we demand statutes to be pulled down, then our list should be endless.

3. Many of those who eventually fought against slavery to abolish it were once slave owners and traders. Shall we also pull down statutes dedicated to their honour? I believe the answer should be yes if any slave trader or owner's statute have been pulled down.

4. Empires like the British, Spanish, French, German, etc all helped spread modern civilization and Christianity across the world but, engaged in slave trade with which they built the new found lands of America and by extension improved their own nations.

If equity is to be considered, should we overlook their great positive contributions and pull down all statutes and monuments of all kings, queens and officers who served in pre-colonial and colonial eras?

5. Before the advent of Europeans and subsequent colonization of Africa, Africa was full of inter-tribal wars. The victors usually make slaves of the vanquished. A king or clan leader may be lucky if his throne is spared, and he and his people are made to pay regular tributes to their conquerors but, slaves would also be taken.

History tells us that Europeans usually capitalized on this fact and paid the stronger kingdoms for slaves. In most of the cases, African kings, chiefs and warriors were the slave raiders. They then sell the captured people as slaves to the Europeans. It takes two to tangle you know.

6. A specific example of a statute dedicated to a great woman from Southwest Nigeria is the statute of Madam Tinubu in Tinubu Square in Lagos Island, Lagos State.

Madam Tinubu was a successful trader who also stood up against the excesses of the colonial masters in her days. We the unborn generations of her days grew up to admire her courageous acts but, it was as an adult that I got to know that part of her merchandise as a trader were slaves. Yes, our great hero traded slaves.

Are we then to pull down her statute and overlook her struggles against the colonial rulers of her days?

Although slavery and all who participated in it caused untold numbers of tragedies, sorrows, tears and hardship, a part of me convicts me that had President Donald Trump, whom I admire and give so much support, been more cautious in handling the aftermath protests of George Floyd's murder, people wouldn't have become so vengeful to the point of forcefully pulling down statutes dedicated to great men of yore.

Perhaps President Trump could still save the situation by repeatedly but strongly condemning police brutality, racial discrimination and channel the cause for reforms where necessary, as is expected of the world capital of Democracy.

In conclusion, if we black people, people of colour and our white sympathizers and supporters insist on pulling down statutes related to slavery, then we all have to agree to compile a very very long list of statutes that have to go down in all the inhabited continents of the world.

Slavery is a terrible horror of which all races are guilty.

Equity Must Be Considered In Pulling Down Statutes

He who comes to justice must come with equity. If the statutes of those who were involved with slave trade are to go down, then the statutes of all slave owners and those of slave traders from other races apart from the whites, have to go down as well. Otherwise, let all statutes remain and those already removed should be reinstated.

President Trump's Response Fuelled Protesters' Anger

George Floyd's Extrajudicial Death Fuelled Global Anti-Racism Protests


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