The Uk is facing its past. Huge old colonial empire, the country is also wracked by racial tensions since the wave of protest from the United States following the death of George Floyd, an African-American 46-year-old to death during his arrest. On Wednesday, a branch of the very famous university of Oxford, Oriel College, voted to rip down the statue of Cecil Rhodes, one of the great craftsmen of british colonization in the Nineteenth century. A decision following the protests to the cries of "take it off !" and " Décolonisez ! ".
also Read "It's not Colbert, the designer of the code noir that we honor"
Oriel College has also taken the resolution to mount an independent investigation commission on the "important questions" raised by the statue of this politician, (1853-1902). "These two decisions were taken after a period of debate and reflection, pushed, and being perfectly aware of the impact that they should have in Great Britain and in the world ", has written this institution. A campaign entitled "Rhodes must fall" had been re-launched on 9 June. It lasted for four years, but has benefited from the global movement, anti-racism triggered by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The previous Colston in Bristol
Cecil Rhodes, who believed in the superiority of the white race, as many advocates of colonization, had given his name to Rhodesia (current Zimbabwe and Zambia) and founded the giant diamond From de Beers. At his death, this former Oxford student had bequeathed part of his fortune to Oriel College. The independent commission should also examine " how the commitment of the College to the Twenty-first century in favour of diversity, can better accommodate its past ".
Read also Benjamin Stora : "there is a myth gaullien of the "great décolonisateur" "
in The United Kingdom, another statue referred to by the anger of the demonstrators, anti-racist was that of the slave trader Edward Colston at Bristol, was thrown into a river, while that of the Prime minister Winston Churchill in London was surrounded by a metallic box to avoid any damage. The proponents of the "Rhodes must fall," said wait of acts now. "We have already gone through it, that is to say that Oriel College is committed to take a certain extent, but does not work : in particular when, in 2015, he had promised to engage in a listening exercise democratic of six months," they wrote in a press release.
Rekindle a debate on the history and its recognition
The president of the municipal council of Oxford, Susan Brown, has paid tribute to the activists " who saw their goal come closer, with a big step done today, but also the activists from Black Lives Matter, which have rekindled the debate about our history and the way it needs to be recognised." The minister of higher Education Michelle Donelan had said on Wednesday his opposition, believing that it was " short-sighted ". "If we can't rewrite our history, what we should rather, it is to remember them and learn from them ", she said, according to the news agency PA.