The Future of Statues: A Conversation with Alex Von Tunzelmann

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What are the rights and wrongs of toppling statues? Sometimes everyone agrees it’s a good idea. After the second world war, for example, the defeat of fascism meant that all over Europe Hitler statues were toppled and destroyed. After the collapse of communism some statues of Stalin actually survived. Just a couple of years ago Black Lives Matter protests led to the hauling down statues of slaveholders and imperialists – for example in the UK a statue of slaver – and philanthropist, Edward Colston was hurled into a harbour. Some argued Colston should be left alone because he was just a man of his time. So, when is it right to tear down a statue and do you need a democratically elected committee to make the decision? A discussion with screenwriter and historian Alex Von Tunzelmann, author of Fallen Idols: Twelve Statues That Made History.

Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance journalist and writer. A former BBC correspondent and presenter he has been a resident foreign correspondent in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi and Beirut. He is recently wrote a history of the Bhutto dynasty which was published by Yale University Press.

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