Thursday, 11 June 2020

Edward Colston was a slave trader and a killer and his statue deserved to get f*cked up | Opinion

We live in a bizarre world where people are getting angry because a statue of a man who made his fortune through slavery got f*cked up.

I can't believe I just wrote that sentence, to be honest. I can't fathom how people are angrier about it being rolled into a river than it being up in the first place?

However, luckily it was chucked in a dirty river this week.

Personally, I'm still left wheezing every time I think about Edward being chucked over the edge of the harbour and I'm going to tell you why Edward's statue deserved what it got by protestors this week.

Edward Colston was quite honestly a racist pig who was born on November 2, 1636, after his mum failed to swallow him.

He died on October 11, 1721.

He was an English merchant, a Tory member of Parliament and a philanthropist.

But most importantly he was a slave trader.

Edward Colston made his fortune through slavery. The slavery of Black people.

He was born in Bristol to a family of merchants that had lived in the city since the 1340s.

He began making his own money by becoming a merchant himself and initially trading in wine, fruits, and cloth.

He mainly traded in Spain, Portugal and other European ports.

But in 1680, he became heavily involved in the slave trade through his membership of the Royal African Company, which held a monopoly of the British trade in African slaves.

This idiot became Deputy Governor, the highest office of the company, in 1689.

I have searched and searched but it is uncertain exactly how much of his wealth came from the slave trade which undoubtedly helped massively fuel.

To spell it out, Black people weren't treated as human beings because of people like Edward Colston.

While working with the Royal African Company from 1680 to 1692 it is recorded nearly 20 thousand slaves died.

Photo credit: PA.

During those 12 years, it is estimated that Edward and the company transported around 84,000 African men, women and children, who had been traded as slaves in West Africa, to the Caribbean and the rest of the Americas.

Of those 84,000 people, 19,000 died on their journey.

Their corpses were chucked into the water just like Edward's statue.

Like most complete and utter nut jobs, Edward wanted to be worshipped following his death so while he was alive he put a lot of money into his home town, Bristol.

He used his wealth - from slavery, don't forget - to support and create schools, hospitals, almshouses and churches in the town where his family resided.

And then, 174 years after Edward's death some moron called John Cassidy designed a statue to commemorate the slave trader's death.

Since 1895 until now, Edward's statue has stood in broad daylight in The Centre, Bristol.

It's disgusting and quite honestly barbaric that Black people were expected to walk past a statue of a slave trader for this long.

Can you understand the anger now?

After years of being ignored, on June 7, 2020, Edward quite literally got what was coming to him.

The hunk of junk was toppled and thrown into Bristol Harbour by demonstrators during the George Floyd protests in England.

I'll hold my hands up. I didn't know who the hell Edward was before it hit headlines that his statue had been - rightly so - lobbed in the water.

What helped form my opinion on this, is the fact that people have pleaded peacefully for the statue of this racist to be taken down for years.

Since at least the 1990s campaigns and petitions have called for the statue to be removed, but no one listened.

Except for in 2018 when Thangam Debbonaire, Labour MP for Bristol West, wrote to Bristol City Council calling for it to be taken down.

But the Black community and many Historians still were not seriously or listened too and action was taken this week, finally, thanks to protesters.

Following the statue being torn down, a Historian and television presenter that I adore (and you should listen to) called David Olusoga commented that it should have been taken down earlier.

He said: "Statues are about saying 'this was a great man who did great things'. That is not true, he [Colston] was a slave trader and a murderer."

Meanwhile, we have Home Secretary Priti Patel foaming at the mouth as she spits out more b*llocks by saying f*cking the statue up is "utterly disgraceful".

The only thing disgraceful is her not taking 10 minutes to really read about Edward's truth.

Boris Johnson the miserable idiot also weighed in describing the statue's fate as a "criminal act".

Photo credit: PA.

How you can defend a slave trader I really don't know... but hey Mr Prime Minister, we will not forget at the voting Ballots.

Thankfully Bristol's Mayor Marvin Rees said the statue was an "affront" and he feels "no sense of loss" over it laying out the bottom of that murky water, but that the statue would be retrieved and it was "highly likely that the Colston statue will end up in one of our museums."

I agree with Mr Rees. We shouldn't erase history because we need history to learn from our mistakes. So Edward should be placed in a museum.

But, and it's a very BIG but, the plaque by his statue must also educate people on his evil, racist, and slave trading history.

We can not forget about history. We must remember it all. We must now actively educate ourselves so we can teach our children so they can see the truth. The truth we weren't taught.

I don't want the hospitals, schools etc he built to be torn down, of course not, I just don't want Edward Colston to be remembered for it.

I want him to be remembered for being a racist, an evil man, a killer, a slave trader. I want him to be remembered for what he was. What he really was.

So, that's how I will remember him.

Statues symbolise that we should honour and remember someone. We look up to statues for a reason. But Edward is not someone we should look up to.

There is no argument here as far as I'm concerned.

So what should replace old Edward, you ask?

Well, after the statue was quite literally dragged and lobbed into the water a petition began to have a statue of Paul Stephenson erected in its place.

Paul was a former Bristol youth worker, who is also a Black man, who was instrumental in the 1963 Bristol Bus Boycott, inspired by the one in Montgomery, Alabama, in the United States, that brought an end to an illegal employment colour ban in Bristol bus companies.

I would personally love to eat some fish and chips while sat on a bench near Paul's statue.

Edward, however, can get to f*ck.

Petition to replace Edward with Paul Stephenson here...

Written by VavaViolet's Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Sophie Blackman.



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