A story about deleting history
My guess is that most of the people bringing down monuments are caught up in a rage and have not thought through just exactly what they are doing.
After all, why would anyone bring down a statue that honors the Confederate soldier, as just happened in Durham, North Carolina?
We can disagree about the war, but can't we honor the men who were drafted or volunteered to fight? Isn't that what the Vietnam Memorial is about?
Speaking of deleting history, Cubans have a lot of experience on the topic. The entire story of Castro's Cuba has been one chapter after another about the elimination of names, photos, and even monuments.
Let me tell you the story of Carlos Franqui, who passed away in 2010:
Carlos Franqui, who has died aged 88, was a Cuban writer, journalist and poet who played an influential role in the early years of the Cuban revolution.
A close friend of Fidel Castro, he ran the revolution's radio station, Radio Rebelde, during the guerrilla war in the 1950s, and was the editor of Revolución, the iconoclastic, free-ranging paper that charted events and arguments in the early years of Castro's Cuba.
Unhappy about the close relationship that Castro formed with the local Communist party and then with the Soviet Union, Franqui left for a diplomatic post in Italy in 1963 and broke definitively with the revolution in 1968, when Castro supported the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.
In permanent exile, he wrote several vivid accounts of his revolutionary experiences.
During the 1960s, Fidel Castro and Carlos Franqui had many debates. It ended up with the regime demanding total loyalty from writers and journalists:
Castro was soon obliged to read the riot act, uttering his famous statement in June 1961 about the rights of artists and writers: "Inside the revolution everything; outside the revolution nothing."
Cultural producers were free to express themselves, but only under the conditions laid down.
Franqui could not take it anymore. He eventually parted ways when Fidel Castro was forced to support the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia to maintain his annual subsidy. So Franqui managed to get out and spent the rest of his life as an enemy of the regime.
And then Franqui was deleted from Cuban history and photos. His image was erased in various photos with Castro, as we can see in this example. First, there is Franqui in the back, and then there is no Franqui in the photo.
His role in the "revolution" was deleted, and there was no more Carlos Franqui as far as the regime was concerned.
And that's what happens when you delete history. You deny future generations the whole story.