Helen Arnup, Sale
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
BLACK lives matter – all lives matter.
If this statement is to hold true, then we, as a group of people living in the Wellington Shire, need to be consulted regarding the removal of our communal monuments from public spaces.
We all live in the shire, and we all contribute to life here.
For this reason, we all deserve to be consulted when council, our elected representatives, are making decisions that affect our lives.
First the Annemieke Mein bronze, depicting Angus McMillan and clearly identifying his role in local massacres, was removed from the foyer of The Wedge without any consultation with the public or with relevant arts committees.
Now council has made a decision on the future of cairns marking his progress through the shire, again with no local consultation.
History cannot be erased by the removal of artefacts.
History has the advantage of teaching us valuable lessons so the mistakes made are not repeated in our lifetimes.
The massacres were revolting and should not have happened, but removing the cairns will not rewrite history.
We cannot do that, so instead a community should seek to acknowledge both the good and the bad and to learn from it.
I suggest that his part in the massacres be acknowledged by erecting an identical monument beside the originals with a plaque bearing the details of his alleged actions.
This should have equal prominence to the originals.
In this way, both sides of history can be acknowledged.
As black lives matter, there are many things that can be done to improve them, in some of which the council could participate.
Health, education and life spans could be much improved, as could a recognition of merit in all fields of art, and not just sport.
We, as a community, need to discuss and debate all of these issues and then act accordingly.
We do not need a knee-jerk reaction that will not solve any of the problems or advance in any way the future lives of our citizens, regardless of the colour of their skin.