“Gramps, why is there a statue of a soldier riding a horse?” Jimmy asked.
“He was one of the Australian horse soldiers who fought along side British soldiers in the Boer War in Southern Africa,” Jimmy’s grandfather, William, said.
“I remember reading about that, Gramps,” Jimmy said. “The British came to Southern Africa for the gold and they exploited the people who lived there, sent Boer women and children to concentration camps where thousands perished, and raped the land that rightfully was Boer land.”
“Well, that’s one version of what happened, but it was more than 100 years ago and times were different back then. Society was different. The rules were different,” William said.
“So are you saying, Gramps, that, because it was more than 100 years ago, genocide in order to accumulate wealth for the British Crown was justified?” Jimmy asked. “Is that’s why it’s okay to have a statue honoring a horse soldier who participated in such atrocities prominently displayed in a public park?”
“This horse soldier, Jimmy, was doing his duty as a servant of the Crown. He was just following orders, as every soldier must.”
“Seriously, Gramps, isn’t ‘just following orders’ what every soldier who committed war crimes says?” Jimmy asked. “So why do we erect a statue honoring someone who was just following orders?”
“It’s a memorial, Jimmy,” William said. “Just so we can remember and not forget what happened. Sometime we need to be reminded of the bad and even the shameful things that occurred in the past.”
Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Photo credit: Sarah Whiley.