these days, when a monument becomes a symbol of protest, you take it down

According to this account, this photograph taken from Bahrain TV via Associated Press Television News on Friday, March 18, 2011 shows the rubble from the base of the Pearl Square monument, in Manama, Bahrain.  On Friday Bahrain authorities tore down the 300-foot (90-meter) monument at the heart of the square now purged of Shiite protesters, erasing a symbol of an uprising that has inflamed sectarian tensions across the region. Apparently the symbolism of the pearl refers to when the kingdom and its wealth was based – more modestly – on  the pearl industry. Now that the royal inheritance is on the nose, nobody wants to be reminded of the good old days…

You can find a better sequence of images, and a more nuanced commentary, by Michael Shaw, at BagNews here.

In another age, it was Courbet and his revolutionary mates who were responsible for the toppling of this other symbol of royal authority, the Vendome Column in Paris, in 1871. In this instance, the suppression of the revolution forced Courbet to flee to exile in Switzerland, lest he be presented with the bill for its reconstruction. He died in exile.

Or, as rendered by Isidore Pils (The Fall of the Vendome Column, 29th May, 1871).

PS. And here’s the other side of the coin, in Deraa, Syria, from BagNews.


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