Still No More Heroes

On November 2 2006 I wrote a blog post entitled “Where Have All The Heroes Gone?”. It followed a visit to Paris, during which we had visited the Hotel des Invalides.

 

I noted that the dome of the Eglise du Dome took over 20 years to build and houses the tomb of Napoleon, whose remains are encased in 5 coffins and a sarcophagus of red porphyry. The remains of some other state heroes are also located there, including Ferdinand Foch.

My point in 2006 was that I couldn’t think of a single politician or military leader in the World then that would be so revered by the general public that they would support a memorial on this scale. The question is “Eleven years down the line, has anything changed?”.

If we restrict ourselves to the UK and the US, the list of names to consider since 2006 is small. In the UK, we need to consider Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May. Although I have little doubt that Blair, with his giant ego, probably still dreams of his massive achievements being commemorated in some grandiose way after his death, such is the anger over his role in the Iraq War that the memorial is never going to happen. The idea of commemoration of the other three is laughable.

In the US, the list since 2006 is even smaller: George W Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. As the first black president, and having made significant achievements in very difficult circumstances, it might have been thought that Barack Obama would at least justify a statue at some stage, but bearing in mind recent events in the US I can’t see it happening in my lifetime! I don’t think George W Bush would expect a fuss to be made. Donald Trump is another matter, and I wouldn’t be surprised if work on his pyramid has already started!

The Scots, particularly Glaswegians, have always had a problem with statues commemorating politicians and military leaders: witness the repeat vandalism of the statue of Donald Dewar and “augmentation” of the statue of the Duke of Wellington. Plans for a statue of Margaret Thatcher, which apparently cost £300,000, to be sited in Parliament Square in London have recently run into trouble. Problems, apparently, include Lady Thatcher’s daughter’s dislike of the statue, and a feeling among residents that the 10-year gap between the death of a subject and erection of a public memorial should be observed. There is also thought to be a significant risk of vandalism to the statue, and I can think of a number of Scotsmen that would be falling over themselves to prove them right!

Thinking more globally, with the exception of directives from people like President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un in North Korea, the stone masons of the World are likely to be restricted to more mundane activities than building another Eglise du Dome.

Sadly, it again seems to me there are still no more heroes on the horizon.

Politics

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