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#BLM protesters should be taking a knee at Churchill statue, not defacing it. Here’s why

Jason O’Toole
Jason O’Toole

Jason O’Toole is an author of several best-selling books who has worked as a senior feature writer for the Irish Daily Mail, a columnist with the Irish Sunday Mirror and senior editor of Hot Press magazine.

Jason O’Toole is an author of several best-selling books who has worked as a senior feature writer for the Irish Daily Mail, a columnist with the Irish Sunday Mirror and senior editor of Hot Press magazine.

#BLM protesters should be taking a knee at Churchill statue, not defacing it. Here’s why
The UK Black Lives Matter protesters who sprayed graffiti over the Churchill monument in London are conveniently forgetting there mightn’t be any ethnic minorities still living in the UK today, if Nazi Germany had won WWII.

As an Irishman, I never thought I’d see the day when I’d find myself defending an iconic British politician such as Winston Churchill. But it stuck in my craw when a #BLM protestor – or should that read “shameful hooligan,” as Home Secretary Priti Patel puts it – pointlessly defaced the statue of the wartime hero.

Why is it that it’s only ever the greatest political figures these so-called know-it-all types always want to topple the most? Can they not be a tad more original and target more appropriate figures? In truth, the desecration of the Churchill monument was probably“self-consciously designed to shock,” as one British commentator put it.

There would be much more justification for me, as a Paddy, to use the pejorative muttered by bigots to describe my race, to demolish a statue of another revered English hero, Oliver Cromwell, who massacred the Irish and would certainly be charged with war crimes if alive today.

If there was ever to be an Irish Lives Matter movement – and there easily could’ve been, after British paratroopers indiscriminately shot dead 14 innocent Irish people in 1972, which I wrote about here recently – trust me, Cromwell’s monument would be the first to fall by the wayside, because his name alone still sends shivers down the spine back home. Just ask the good folks of Drogheda. And it’s not like we Irish don’t have form on that score either, with Nelson’s Pillar on Dublin’s main thoroughfare being blown to smithereens in 1966.

But even the IRA, who blindly hated any British authority with a vengeance, would never have dreamt of damaging a statue of Churchill on mainland British soil. Why? Because, even though he supported the lawless Black and Tans – the irregular British troops sent to Ireland with a shoot-to-kill policy in a failed attempt to stop Irish independence – they had enough gumption to differentiate between actual good and evil in World War II.

Why couldn’t our #BLM heroes not have done likewise? It was nothing short of absurd when a black male wearing a medical mask who said he was responsible for vandalising the Churchill memorial attempted to justify the defacing.“I tagged up the statue of Churchill because he’s a confirmed racist. He fought the Nazis to protect the Commonwealth from invasion – he didn’t do it for black people or for people of colour or for people of anything. He did it sheerly for colonialism. People will be angry, but I’m angry that, for many years, we’ve been oppressed,” he told the BBC. 

It’s a laughable statement, because it’s naïve and filled with sheer ignorance. This #BLM activist clearly has a very selective knowledge of history, designed to fit in with the false narrative he wants to spew, if he really believes the British stood up to Hitler only to protect their precious Commonwealth.

Does he not realise Hitler, the pure personification of evil, wanted to eradicate all ethnic minorities? And, if the Nazis had prevailed, that we’d probably be living today in a Europe populated solely by those of Aryan blood? How would he like them apples?

Churchill, you could argue, actually helped preserve a future for black people in Britain, when he refused to roll over like a meek puppy and rejected any peace deal offered by the Nazis – even when it looked as if the country might not be able to withstand the Blitz for much longer. Thankfully he showed the fighting British-bulldog spirit for which he was renowned and, instead, kept growling at the fascist regime with its evil plans for the Final Solution, which would no doubt have expanded to encompass all ethnic minorities, including black people and gypsies, after they’d wiped out the Jews. 

With all this in mind, you could easily argue that the culprit who defaced the Churchill statue is essentially anti-Western in his outlook, despite being a privileged product of the West.

If #BLM protestors want to look at images of what a real “old-school” racist looks like, then perhaps they should watch this video footage of Hitler refusing to shake the hands of black American athletes at the 1936 Olympic Games.

No matter what accusations they want to fling at Churchill, he certainly would never have blanked Jesse Owens after he won four gold medals that summer. In fact, the British PM would no doubt have warmly congratulated the American icon, if the Games had been held in London and he himself was doing the honor of handing out medals.

In truth, the basic principles and moral codes of Churchill’s much more civilised generation are more important than ever in the uncertain times we find ourselves in, if we’re to keep our values intact. Just like Churchill himself, our democracies are obviously imperfect, but are equally invaluable and need to be defended – gross and obvious flaws, and all – because the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.

The misguided actions of protestors – along with boxer Anthony Joshua’s comment urging black people to “abstain from spending money in ‘their’ shops” during a #BLM rally – only create an “us versus them” division in a civilised society. And that’s only one step away from the type of fascism that made Nazism popular in the first place.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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