icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Now ‘anti-racist protesters’ are desecrating statues of elk and mermaids, can we please just call them vandals?

Guy Birchall
Guy Birchall

Guy Birchall, British journalist covering current affairs, politics and free speech issues. Recently published in The Sun and Spiked Online. Follow him on Twitter @guybirchall

Guy Birchall, British journalist covering current affairs, politics and free speech issues. Recently published in The Sun and Spiked Online. Follow him on Twitter @guybirchall

Now ‘anti-racist protesters’ are desecrating statues of elk and mermaids, can we please just call them vandals?
An effigy of an ungulate was set on fire in Portland, Oregon, and the rendering of Hans Christian Andersen’s creation in Copenhagen was dubbed a “racist fish,” in the latest childish outburst from ridiculous rioters.

The latest statues to fall victim to the marauding hordes in America and Europe include an elk and the Little Mermaid. A 120-year-old sculpture of the majestic woodland creature was set alight in Portland because of racism, or police brutality, or it being a day with a ‘y’ in the name… no one has actually bothered to explain yet. It’s now been removed and requires extensive repair. Meanwhile, in Copenhagen, the 107-year-old sculpture of Hans Christian Andersen’s most famous character had “Racist fish” scrawled on it for similarly obscure reasons.

It’s high time we admitted that this is just vandalism, that there’s no conceivable political motivation for doing any of this anymore. There wasn’t really in the first place, either – it was just an excuse for civil disobedience, but those first protesters at least picked targets that had a tangential link to their cause. Obviously, this declined very quickly, having begun with statues of slavers, slave owners and confederate generals, but rapidly ending up with anyone who’d said anything ever that was even moderately critical of foreigners. How the same set of protesters can argue that statues of Robert E Lee and Abraham Lincoln need to be ripped down will never not baffle me, in much the same way that alleged anti-Nazis and anti-colonialists agitating for ripping down statues of Churchill and Gandhi leave me dumbstruck.

But I can’t help but feel we’ve really gone off the deep end, when mythical sea creatures and big deer end up on the list. I wasn’t even aware elk were capable of white supremacy or colonialism – have I missed something? Did herds of them cross the sea, wrench springboks from Africa, and sell them into bondage in Oregon? Did they displace the native species by flogging them whiskey for 4,000 acres of prairie land because they had no concept of property? Or is it simply that their antlers look like branches and branches are linked to lynching? I’d really like to know.

As for branding a mermaid a “racist fish”, that can only be at most half-true, given that she’s only half fish. She’s a mythical creature, how can she be bigoted? Is the argument that her father’s sea kingdom was established on land stolen from lobsters? In portraying her as white, was Hans Christian Andersen perpetuating the racist myth that black people are bad at swimming? Perhaps her ability to breathe underwater is indicative of subaqua supremacy?

This is what happens when you allow mass acts of vandalism to be committed so publicly. The urge to do so spreads and people follow suit because they think they can get away with it. I wait with bated breath to see if the statue of Paddington Bear in Paddington Station in London survives the weekend or is decapitated for his hateful love of marmalade.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

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

Podcasts