Serpent's Egg

The Eroticism of Fat Men

Trevor Phillips criticises Rhodes Must Fall campaign

The former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission lambasts the campaign to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes from an Oxford college

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Trevor Phillips described the campaign to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes as “simultaneously witless, wrongheaded and reprehensible” Photo: Rex

Trevor Phillips, the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has criticized the campaign to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes from as Oxford College calling it “simultaneously witless, wrongheaded and reprehensible”.

Mr Philips said the attempt to remove the statue of the British imperialist “trivialises the memory of many millions who genuinely did suffer under colonialism, and dishonours the work of those who fought apartheid, including many British students”.

Rhodes, who was a student at Oxford in the 1870s, bequeathed part of his estate to Oriel College and gave his name and money to its renowned scholarship programme.

The Rhodes Must Fall group, led by Ntokozo Qwabe, a Rhodes Scholar from South Africa, has persuaded the college to move a plaque dedicated to Rhodes, arguing he presents a legacy of racism.

But Mr Philips criticized the campaigner and the college, which has begun talks on whether the statue should be removed.

“Oriel College should be ashamed at caving in to such a group. If Oriel was really serious about tackling the issues of colonialism and its legacy, they would abandon . . . any notion of rewriting their most generous ever alumnus out of history.”
Henry Shalders

Mr Philips told The Times: “Perhaps the students who support this campaign might take a moment to google ‘Auschwitz’ to see a complete justification for the preservation of all aspects of the historical record, however grim.

“The looming tragedy is that Oriel College is not alone among academic institutions. It appears many are now so cowed by fear being labelled racist that they are prepared to sacrifice fundamental principles for fashionable approval. Even the decision to consult on the issue is a shameful retreat from the defence of freedom of expression.”

Other high profile figures have also been drawn into the row, including the former Australian prime minister and Rhodes Scholar Tony Abbott and the former president of South Africa FW De Klerk.

Henry Shalders, a second-year student at Oriel College and editor of Cherwell, the university newspaper, said the campaign was typical of “a nauseating and moralising ‘holier than thou’ tendency” that is sweeping university campuses across the country.

He said: “Oriel College should be ashamed at caving in to such a group. If Oriel was really serious about tackling the issues of colonialism and its legacy, they would abandon . . . any notion of rewriting their most generous ever alumnus out of history.

Ntokozo QwabeNtokozo Qwabe, a Rhodes scholar from South Africa, is leading a campaign to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes from Oriel Colege in Oxford

“Rather they would set up a foundation with the £200,000 Rhodes gave (roughly £22 million in today’s money) dedicated to funding the study of black, minority ethnic and marginalised students. Oriel Give Back the Money would be a far better campaign than one which trumpets cultural vandalism.”

He added: “Rather than taking action to reform the Oxford curriculum or redress the imbalance in the student population, Oriel College will have made a cosmetic change to its façade.”

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This entry was posted on January 2, 2016 by and tagged , , , , , , .

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