Africa, America, Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe, South America

Fannie Lou to Putin a sweep of statues

Celebrating 35 years of one and the toppling of another… from Fannie Lou to Putin a sweep of statues.

Bandanini and Bandanettes will recognise this as a pet subject here.

And how we prefer to champion statues of extraordinary ordinary people (and animals) than dubious war leaders and slave traders.

Fannie Lou Hamer died this day 35 years ago and is marked in the fist-clenched statue in Ruleville, Mississippi in the Deep South.

The Civil Rights activist who ‘was sick and tired of being sick and tired’ and upstaged LBJ at the Democrat Convention.

And Putin, the imperialist whose waxwork has been removed from the Paris Grèvin Museum’s gallery of world leaders.

The erection of statues and their deselection and destruction are a touchstone of where we are in society.

So it’s timely to ask where we are with totems of tyrants.

Putin on a podium

Gotcha: Vladimir Putin

Few things say narcissist more than erecting statues of yourself or having someone do it for you.

And if your palm has been greased to the tune of $1.2million by a Russian-sponsored development agency.

Then you’ll be happy to put up a statue of the Russian megalomaniac in your ski resort in his puppet state of Kyrgyzstan.

Stalin structures

Go away you little people: Joseph Stalin

To the rest of us he was the perpetrator of the deaths of millions in the Soviet Union.

To some fellow Georgians (though not my old pal George, their ambassador in Dublin) Joseph Stalin is still a favourite son.

As he is in Russia, Mongolia and even more frighteningly outside a nursery school in Asht in Tajikistan.

Mao how

Clap of thunder: Mao

But in a game of Top Trumps psychopaths even Stalin would lose out to the master of the Cultural Revolution in China.

And yet Mao Zedong is still revered in Tianfu Square, Chengdu, Sichuan.

Where he is larger than life, a 100ft statue of the despot still looking down on the little people.

Chavez on high

Time to go, Hugo: Hugo Chavez

The further south you get in the Caribbean the more interest the locals show towards dystopian Venezuela just a few miles across the sea in South America.

Particularly the Spanish Ladies who make Trinidad & Tobago their home.

Venezuela is depending on your viewpoint a brave resistor of American imperialism or a tinpot Latin American dictator.

Either way you can see Hugo Chavez’s likeness marked everywhere in Venezuela in the 17 or more statues and busts and countless tat.

A good Korea mood

Here’s to me: Kim

And in North Korea it was even something of an export industry until the UN and their sanctions stepped in.

You get the Kims (obvs) but our browsing threw up a trade in statues for abroad.

From the Mansuade Art Studio in Pyongyang.

Where they do a roaring business to dictators, particularly in Africa.

Shake on it: Robert Mugabe

The hold that dictators can have on us was brought home to me by a Ranger on our game drive.

In Mount Kamdeboo in the Eastern Cape in South Africa where when I asked the Zimbabwean emigree his thoughts on Robert Mugabe.

And he surprised me by saying that in Zimbabwe the people still respected their elders.

Come on your Rangers: And a Zimbabwean in South Africa

And where there is a demand the capitalist communists of Mansuade were always happy to oblige.

Something to dwell on as we recap today on where we are now. From Fannie Lou to Putin a sweep of statues.

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