Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Zugzwang
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    22 Sep '16 21:441 edit
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/22/petition-calls-for-gandhi-statue-to-be-removed-from-ghana-university

    "Petition Calls for Gandhi Statue to be Removed from Ghana University"
    --Ruth Maclean (22 September 2016)

    To what extent should a person be judged by the (changing) standards of our time rather than his or her own?

    While in South Africa, Gandhi shared many, if not most, of the prejudices of
    his white rulers toward the black majority, regarding them as inferior to Indians.
    Gandhi's civil rights campaign in South Africa was narrowly aimed at improving
    the lot of the Indian minority in the British Empire rather than striving for
    equal rights for everyone in South Africa. Some of Gandhi's beliefs
    would be considered reactionary, if not absurd, by most modern standards.

    But should a statue of Thomas Jefferson be removed from the University of
    Virginia, for instance, because he was a slave owner (who allegedly impregnated his slave)?
    There's a difference in that Thomas Jefferson was an American from Virginia,
    whereas Gandhi (who never visited Ghana) would have been a foreigner in Ghana.

    For further reading:
    _The South African Gandhi: Stretcher-Bearer of Empire_ (2015)
  2. Cape Town
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    22 Sep '16 22:10
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    To what extent should a person be judged by the (changing) standards of our time rather than his or her own?
    Here in South Africa there have been a number of statues that have been very controversial and removed. A more important question might be why we have statues and who should decide whether we should keep them. I don't know whether university students should be the sole deciders, but I do think they should have a say given that they must learn at the institution.
    As for Ghandi, I don't think he should be judged for what he did when young but rather his whole life - and even then, we should try and look at the better parts. Nobody is perfect.
  3. Standard membershavixmir
    Guppy poo
    Sewers of Holland
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    22 Sep '16 22:41
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/22/petition-calls-for-gandhi-statue-to-be-removed-from-ghana-university

    "Petition Calls for Gandhi Statue to be Removed from Ghana University"
    --Ruth Maclean (22 September 2016)

    To what extent should a person be judged by the (changing) standards of our time rather than his or her own?

    While in South Afr ...[text shortened]... in Ghana.

    For further reading:
    _The South African Gandhi: Stretcher-Bearer of Empire_ (2015)
    Doesn't the whole problem arise from people finding heroes and demi-Gods in humans?

    Just because Churchill had a generation of New Zealanders slaughtered and put down strikes in glasgow with tanks, doesn't mean he shouldn't recieve credit for how he stood up to Hitler.

    The same with Ghandi; he did good things, he did bad things.
    The same with Mother Theresa; just because she did things wrong, doesn't mean she didn't do other things right or did things without a loving motivation.

    To put anybody on a pedastool is asking for disturbing contradictions.
    To make anyone out as completely evil is asking for the same.

    It's simplistic and understandble, but it's Hollywood and not real.
  4. Standard membersh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    New York
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    22 Sep '16 23:45
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/22/petition-calls-for-gandhi-statue-to-be-removed-from-ghana-university

    "Petition Calls for Gandhi Statue to be Removed from Ghana University"
    --Ruth Maclean (22 September 2016)

    To what extent should a person be judged by the (changing) standards of our time rather than his or her own?

    While in South Afr ...[text shortened]... in Ghana.

    For further reading:
    _The South African Gandhi: Stretcher-Bearer of Empire_ (2015)
    ===To what extent should a person be judged by the (changing) standards of our time rather than his or her own? ===

    That's a great question. There are movements all over the US to remove the names of Presidents and others from landmarks (Woodrow Wilson, especially) based on positions that are deemed wrong today, but were not so at the time.
  5. Zugzwang
    Joined
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    23 Sep '16 01:372 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Here in South Africa there have been a number of statues that have been very controversial and removed. A more important question might be why we have statues and who should decide whether we should keep them. I don't know whether university students should be the sole deciders, but I do think they should have a say given that they must learn at the insti ...[text shortened]... r his whole life - and even then, we should try and look at the better parts. Nobody is perfect.
    In 1998, following protests by women students, the University of Edinburgh removed a bust
    of Arthur Koestler (who died in 1982) from public display. Some women claimed that
    they had felt uncomfortable in the presence of the bust because they believe that it
    honoured a serial rapist.

    David Cesarani, a respected academic historian, wrote a biography in which he claimed
    that Arthur Koestler was a serial rapist whose victims had been intimidated into silence
    (apparently like Bill Cosby's) on account of his fame and position. Jill Craigie (the wife
    of Michael Foot, once a leader of the Labour Party) confirmed that she was raped by
    Arthur Koestler, but she was afraid to report it because he had enough influence to
    ruin her reputation and damage her husband's early political career. David Cesarani
    wrote that, for Arthur Koestler, rape was 'almost a hallmark of his conduct' toward women
    whom he fancied, including many of the wives, daughters, or sisters of his male friends.

    "Without an element of initial rape, there is no delight."
    --Arthur Koestler (letter to a woman whom he had 'uneasily seduced', explaining his motives)
    (Does his statement to her indicate some awareness that he had raped her?)

    "[Arthur Koestler] wondered if a little force [on women] wasn't needed or even expected
    as part of the mysterious ritual of sex."
    --Michael Scammell (Arthur Koestler's authorised biographer, who admires and attempts to defend him)

    I suppose that apologists for Arthur Koestler might argue that he grew up in a more
    sexist world when it was widely considered acceptable for a man to use a 'little force'--or
    a little more force than that--on a woman in order to have sexual intercourse with her.
    Indeed, there probably are some men attending the University of Edinburgh today who still believe it.
    I suspect that if Arthur Koestler had abused women like he did a generation later than he did,
    then at least one of his victims would have reported it and perhaps triggered his downfall.
  6. Joined
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    23 Sep '16 04:26
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/22/petition-calls-for-gandhi-statue-to-be-removed-from-ghana-university

    "Petition Calls for Gandhi Statue to be Removed from Ghana University"
    --Ruth Maclean (22 September 2016)

    To what extent should a person be judged by the (changing) standards of our time rather than his or her own?

    While in South Afr ...[text shortened]... in Ghana.

    For further reading:
    _The South African Gandhi: Stretcher-Bearer of Empire_ (2015)
    Yes the statue needs to go. I think there needs to be a separation of Gandhi and state.

    I think it is in the Constitution somewhere.

    Oh, and Gandhi needs to kiss his NBA team goodbye as well. It's no real loss really. They refused to rebound or shoot a basket because they were all pacifists.
  7. Joined
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    23 Sep '16 04:271 edit
    Originally posted by sh76
    ===To what extent should a person be judged by the (changing) standards of our time rather than his or her own? ===

    That's a great question. There are movements all over the US to remove the names of Presidents and others from landmarks (Woodrow Wilson, especially) based on positions that are deemed wrong today, but were not so at the time.
    Any statues of Darwin out there?

    Those should be the next to go.

    And yes, Wilson was one of the greatest racist of our time.
  8. Zugzwang
    Joined
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    27 Sep '16 21:56
    Originally posted by sh76
    ===To what extent should a person be judged by the (changing) standards of our time rather than his or her own? ===

    That's a great question. There are movements all over the US to remove the names of Presidents and others from landmarks (Woodrow Wilson, especially) based on positions that are deemed wrong today, but were not so at the time.
    Historical context is important. Gandhi held racial prejudice against black Africans.
    But there's a major difference between Gandhi and, say, a KKK member at the same time.
    Gandhi's racial prejudice seemed motivated by ignorance rather than by hate or malice.

    Gandhi was not born holding any racial prejudice against black Africans. So how did he acquire it?
    As the loyal subject of the British Empire that he was for a long time, Gandhi apparently
    learned much (both good and bad) from the British. The British held racial prejudices
    (though not identical ones) against black Africans and Indians. Being an Indian, Gandhi
    knew that British racist stereotypes of Indians were wrong. But Gandhi was too ignorant
    to know for certain that British racist stereotypes of black Africans also were wrong.

    So it seems to me that the question is to what extent Gandhi should be blamed for being
    ignorant enough to accept British racial prejudice against black Africans in his time.
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