Remove imperialist statues from the ANU campus

Remove imperialist statues from the ANU campus

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Zenia Vasaiwalla
Zenia Vasaiwalla signed this petition

CONTENT WARNING: overt racism, institutionalised support of racist figures

 “I do not admit that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. No wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race, has come in and taken their place”.

                        -  Winston Churchill, 1937

Winston Churchill was the British Prime Minister from 1940-45 and 1951-55. He is largely remembered for steering the country through World War II. However, he was also a white supremacist and led Britain imperialistically, entrenching and exacerbating ill treatment (and worse) of populations in the “Colonies”. Despite this, the Australian National University has erected a statue and a bust of this man on our campus. Here are some of his actions which prove why we shouldn’t honour him: 

  • In 1951 in Kenya, Churchill ordered the removal of locals from the fertile highlands in order to redistribute them to “white colonial settlers”. He placed these 150,000 men, women and children in concentration camps. 
  • When the Kurds rebelled against British rule in 1919, Winston stated: “I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes...[It] would spread a lively terror."
  • In 1943, Churchill diverted food to British soldiers and countries such as Greece while a deadly famine swept through Bengal, killing up to 4 million people. He commented the famine was the fault of the Bengalese “for breeding like rabbits”. 

Winston Churchilll upheld principles of white supremacy and is responsible for the deaths of many. His “win” for the British Empire does not make him deserving of our honour.

The ANU must acknowledge that symbols, such as this statue, of archaic and racist systems are harmful to its culture of progress and respect. This icon does not deserve a space on our campus, which is on Ngunnawal and Ngambri land. This petition calls for removal by the ANU of non-critical representations of racist figures, starting with that of Winston Churchill. 

By taking down the statue and bust of this icon of white supremacy the University can begin to take small steps to show solidarity with Bla(c)k, Indigenous, and other People of Colour in Australia. Sign this petition to let the ANU know that we stand firmly against racism and colonialism, and that we stand with our BIPOC communities.