Illustrations by Hannah Robinson
In a follow up to her article titled “Why the toppling of statues is a step towards countries confronting their racist past” Rosie Peterson looks at some statues that she thinks should be here to stay.
In a world filled with statues of evil people, it’s time to focus on the statues that don’t need to be toppled. The world isn’t just filled with Colston’s and Rhodes’, so here is a non-exhaustive list of the statues that can stay:
- Wojtek the Nazi-Fighting Bear
First up is Wojtek, the Syrian brown bear who was adopted to the Polish Second Corps to serve in the Second World War. He enjoyed smoking cigarettes and drinking beer and one soldier, Ludwik Jaszczur, insists that “Wojtek helped us win the Second World War”. Wojtek lived out his post-war life in Edinburgh Zoo. You can find his statue in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens and also Krakow’s Jordan Park.
2. Paddington Bear
Onto our next statue, and it’s another bear! (They’re not all bears, but I couldn’t leave Paddington out). This bear didn’t fight the Nazis, but he does have an unhealthy obsession with marmalade. Everyone loves Michael Bond’s marmalade eating bear from the deepest recesses of Peru who travelled to London. You can find Paddington’s statue in… you guessed it, Paddington station.
3. The Moomins
Okay, they’re not all bear statues but they are all animals… Our next statue is a Moomin troll found in Tampere, Finland. Tove Jansson’s Swedish cows from Moomin Valley are internationally adored and are a statue we can definitely keep.
4. King Puck
King Puck is the Lord Goat of Killorglin and a monument to Puck Fair. Puck Fair is one of Ireland’s oldest fairs and sees a wild goat captured from the mountains and crowned king of the town for a day. Strange but amazing, he can stay! You can find Puck in the town of Killorglin in Ireland.
5. Winnipeg the Bear
I could talk forever about good animal statues, but I will end with Winnipeg. You start as you mean to go on and so I will end as I began, on a veteran bear. Meet Winnipeg, the black bear adopted by the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade camp in World War One who lived out the rest of her life in London Zoo. Her name might sound familiar as she is the inspiration for A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. You can find Winnipeg in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn from this article is that all statues should be replaced by bears. Rhodes must fall and Paddington must rise.