How Are We Meant to Learn from History if We Refuse to Teach It? | Simone Hanna


Today, Sir Winston Churchill’s statue stands tightly boarded up in Parliament Square; a brutal representation of how far we have fallen as a society. We are living in a time of complete and utter insanity, a time where we allow a small minority of mollycoddled brats to dictate our future by demolishing our past.

Our government have failed in sustaining law and order. Many speeches have been filled with strong statements, giving the impression of firm-hand politics, yet we see little action. Churchill’s statue is currently erased from public view, under a government led by a man who sees Churchill as his ‘idol’. It was only a few years ago that Boris Johnson wrote a book about Churchill, admiring him, detailing how he made history – yet today, under his government, Churchill stands boarded up and hidden from view.

The people who lead us have been weak, eager to please a small minority by failing to take firmer action in last week’s protests, especially towards young thugs who have little to no respect for our country, vandalising the cenotaph or spray painting our war heroes. The people abusing our memorials are blinded by ignorance to recognise how lucky they are to live in one of the safest, most accepting countries in the world. Our history has not just contributed to this; it has given us what we have today.

It is more than understandable why many of the British public are angered by this; our war memorials should not have to be protected. It is ridiculous that there are people in this country with so much ignorance, contempt and disdain for our past that others feel a genuine need to defend the memorials of those who put their blood, sweat and tears into defending us.

Even before the counter-protests of today began, the people involved were already labelled ‘far-right thugs’ – openly wanting to defend your country and its history makes you ‘far-right’.

Now, do not get me wrong, there are extremists within the mix: they deserve a firm hand and strong condemnation just as much as ‘far-left’ protesters; but it was interesting to watch the difference in tone from Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who took to Twitter this afternoon to voice his disgust over far-right protesters, stating firmly that perpetrators would ‘feel the full force of the law’.

Of course, it is more than fair that those who act with violence are responded to firmly with an authoritative hand, but where was this ‘full force of the law’ last week? Where was the leadership – condemnations followed by lawful action? If protesters had felt the ‘full force of the law’ last week, we would not be dealing with counter protests today.

Protests are not where this insanity ends. There are people in this country who genuinely believe that creating a better society means erasing everything that it was built on.

What has been most interesting to me, and indeed infuriating, was the pressure from students to force their places of study to speak out in support of the mass protests, some even making public statements sending letters of disappointment to the academic institutions that did not.

Of course, to pander to a small minority of loud voices, universities displayed support for the protests and their cause, some even announcing steps they are taking to ‘decolonize and diversify’ libraries. Libraries, actual libraries – removing history that may cause offense, pandering to people who will never read it.

So it is not difficult for me to empathise with those who feel their culture and the country they love is at threat – for many years we have watched the leaders try and pander to as many as possible, but in reality only please a small few. Destroying our history will not result in any type of gain. Our history is what makes our country unique, it is not perfect, nothing is; but we learn from our flaws, we teach it, when we make mistakes, we learn from it. Many of these people do not wish for us to acknowledge flaws in our history – they wish to abolish it. If we carry on this way, we eradicate the voices of the many just to pander to those who shout the loudest. By destroying history, you rewrite history.

Feel free to aim for a fairer future, but do not do that by demolishing our past.


Photo by Arthur Osipyan on Unsplash.

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