A city council in the UK is set to remove the statue of a British war hero after a Black Lives Matter inspired review determined that he represent colonialism and does not represent women and so-called ‘gender non-binary’ people.
Following nationwide Black Lives Matter protests over the summer, the Exeter City Council established an ‘equality impact assessment’ to determine whether the statue honouring famed British general, Sir Redvers Buller should be removed.
The review found that General Buller’s statue would negatively impact anyone who “does not define themselves in binary gender terms,” according to the Daily Mail.
“The General Buller statue represents the patriarchal structures of empire and colonialism which impact negatively on women and anyone who does not define themselves in binary gender terms,” the review stated.
“The consultation will need to ensure that the views of women, transgender and non-binary people are captured and given due weight,” it continued.
The review claimed that the statue was specifically targeted because of the inscription on the plinth upon which it stands that states Buller “sought to advance British imperialist interests in other countries”.
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Born Redvers Henry Buller on December 7, 1839, in the county of Devon, he joined the British army as an officer and was later awarded the Victoria Cross — Britain’s highest gallantry decoration — after he saved the lives of fellow soldiers while under enemy fire in the Second Zulu War.
General Buller was later installed as the head of the British forces in South Africa during the Second Boer War. The war was controversial but he was held in such high regard in his native Devon that he was given the freedom of country town Exeter and was bestowed a jewel-encrusted sword.
His statue was also atypically erected during his lifetime, paid in large part by public donations.
In response to the push to remove the statue, King’s College London historian Andrew Roberts said that the vitriol directed towards General Buller was misplaced.
“I think it is important to point out that the general fought against the white regime in South Africa. In the year 1900 every man was a sexist,” Roberts said.
“This is ridiculous and historical wokery at its worst. There are reasons why they should not have put up a statue in the first place – he was a bad general. But these are really bad reasons. The lot of women was improved by the British Empire,” he noted.
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An honorary research fellow at the University of Exeter University Dr Todd Gray said that Buller’s only “sin” was “being triumphant about Empire”.
“We are reaping what we have sown in that society has ignored empire for so long and people do not know their own history.”
Gray said that he believed the statue was targetted amidst the furore which saw the statue of Sir Edward Colston toppled by Black Lives Matter radicals.
“I do not think it would have come up if not for Colston and that is the only real target that there is in Exeter,” he said.
General Buller’s biographer, Keith Barker said that accusations of sexism and racism levied at the British war here are “utter nonsense”.
“This man was always a great supporter of and campaigner for the many native communities he came across,” he said, adding: “Buller had a powerful radical, liberal streak. No doubt his views on sex and gender would have been somewhat unorthodox but they would have represented those specifically of the era in which he lived.”
“Everything should be understood in its context and to not do so is a historical travesty,” he concluded.
The campaign to bring down the Buller statue follows another attempt to destroy a memorial to a misunderstood British Empire figure, Robert Baden-Powell. The founder of the worldwide scouting movement, a statue of the British militayr leader and youth-advocate overlooking the island where the first ever Scouting camp took place was due to be removed but due to pro-Baden-Powell protests the decision was subsequently reversed.
During months of unrest last summer following the death of George Floyd in America, Black Lives Matter and other far-left activists targetted statues honouring British historical figures including Sir Winston Churchill, Queen Victoria, as well as the national war memorial the Cenotaph.
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