Sin of omission

December 22, 2016

I was reminded of the Rhodes Must Fall campaign when I came across the Explorer’s Monument in Fremantle, Australia (“Must Rhodes fall?”, Features, 15 December).

The original monument, dating to 1913, commemorated explorers who had been killed by “treacherous natives” in 1864. By the end of the 20th century, it was recognised that this was one-sided, to say the least. The solution was not to remove the statue but to add a further plaque, equally prominent, written by those who found the original plaque offensive, noting that the perspective of Aboriginal people had been omitted. The full wording of both plaques can be found here. I see this as a good solution: it does not brush the original monument out of history, but it forces one to think about the ways in which a colonial perspective damaged many indigenous people – and perhaps to question other things that are just taken for granted.

Dorothy Bishop, Oxford


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