The statue of Sir Winston S. Churchill stands in Parliament Square in London as a tribute to his efforts and leadership in defeating the greatest challenge to democracy in the twentieth century. His place in history is virtually unparalleled. Churchill was a man with the scars and blemishes of his age. There is no doubt that he was a life-long imperialist and held many of the views on race and class that were common to his time. However, he was also an active and consistent foe of anti-Semitism, a great admirer of the bravery of Muslim and Sikh soldiers with whom he served on the battlefield, and a vocal opponent of several imperial atrocities, including the Amritsar massacre.
Churchill’s personal views and policies stand in stark contrast to those that would take away freedom and impose tyranny. He strongly believed in and fought for the rule of law. He opposed genocide and persecution and worked diligently to advance the prosperity and progress of all mankind. He fought to preserve democratic values, ultimately at the cost of the British empire that he held so dear. As any man, he did not get everything right and was, on occasion, on the wrong side of history. He did and said things that can be rightly criticized. Taken in the broad context of his life-long achievements in facing down fascism, keeping hope in Europe alive and helping to lay the foundations for the free society in which many of us are now fortunate to live, we continue to uphold his life and memory in the highest regard. In so doing, we voice our strongest condemnation of the defacing of his statue in Parliament Square, London, while supporting the right of peaceful protest, opposing racism and promoting equal rights for all.
Image: © Sue Lowry & Magellan PR
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