Remove St Asaph HM Stanley statue

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Elen Lewis
Elen Lewis signed this petition

This petition is to propose the removal of the HM Stanley statue erected in St Asaph.

 HM Stanley is locally remembered as a romanticised Victorian explorer who found Dr Livingstone in Tanzania and greeted him with the famous phrase "Dr Livingstone, I presume?", and nothing more.

 However, there is a lot more to him than this. HM Stanley worked under King Leopold II of Belgium and helped establish the Congo Free State, which exploited the Congo for its resources and especially its people. If the Congolese people did not reach their rubber quotas they were killed or mutilated, and punishments included cutting off their hands. Over 20 years, 10 million Congolese people were killed. 

 Stanley was known to be brutal towards the African people. So much that in 1871 the British House of Commons began an investigation on his treatment towards them. Stanley was charged with excessive violence, wanton destruction, the selling of labourers into slavery, the sexual exploitation of African women and the plundering of villages for ivory and canoes. 

HM Stanley's work and expeditions paved the way for colonialism, white supremacy and genocide in the Congo.

 The only connection HM Stanley has to St Asaph was his time spent in the workhouse from the age of 5, where he was ill treated. As soon he went to North America he attempted to erase his Welsh roots by changing his accent, name (formerly John Rowlands) and pretending to be an American citizen. Stanley was not proud to come from this area, so why celebrate him here?

 As St Asaph residents, we embody a caring, welcoming and inclusive community. The HM Stanley statue is not consistent with our views or values, nor does it represent what we stand for especially in the current climate. This statue carries negative connotations of racism, colonialism and genocide, which does not deserve to be celebrated. Its presence sends out a terrible message to our local community, visitors and tourists. 

 The statue is an insult to our community, in particular our BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnicities) residents. It is horrific that a Congolese effigy is placed at the top of the statue to commemorate a man who caused so much suffering to the Congolese people. 

 This statue needs to be removed. It does not belong in St Asaph. It is especially important to remove it now, more than ever, because of the growing support of the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement. We should not be celebrating HM Stanley. We should not be celebrating his actions.

Please sign this petition to support this much needed change.