I’ve been pondering my own, and universal, legacy and demise recently, what with the rise and fall of many Governmental agencies since the new government came to power. I posted Ozymandias a couple of weeks ago which I think sums up my whole attitude to these colossal organisations (and myself!) who think they are eternal powers of might.
What’s brought it back home to me a couple of times in the last few weeks is the removal of statues of Stalin in the former USSR, just as it did the removal of statues of Saddam Hussain. There have been some quite poignant images of the removal of these statues: men who ruled people’s lives, ruined people’s lives and played what seemed at the time a colossal part in history. Stalin, Hitler, Roosevelt, Churchill: the big names of the Second World War. You’d think.
Yet what makes me laugh a little inside at the whole bitter-sweet irony of it all is that my friend Carlo said a couple of weeks ago:
I know this was a Joey-esque moment, but he really said it. In fact, wrote it. There’s no going back from that one!!
He’s posted a cute picture of a pit bull type puppy – Carlo’s obsessed by these dogs in that they’re not bad dogs, really – and I’d put:
“Stalin was a cute baby. So was Idi Amin.”
To which he’d replied:
“lol u no full well i wont have the slightest clue wat your on about lol ** going to google now**” and then put:
“Joseph Stalin, 1922 © One of the most powerful and murderous dictators in history, ??? idi Amin was also a evil dictator ???”
Though, Carlo, like many, just doesn’t care much about history. What’s happened has happened to him, and what’s now is important. Book learning isn’t much of an interest to him. And if HE doesn’t know who Stalin was, then Stalin’s Ozymandias years are upon him. How long before a reasonable and literate adult doesn’t know who Hitler was?!
It all makes me feel very small and pointless. But also a little sad. How many people were affected by Stalin’s regime? And now, how significant is it? Without constant reminders like Armistice Day or Guy Fawkes’ Night, would the general public even know what had happened?!
I still stand by the fact that James I was an exceptional spin-doctor. He managed to turn a half-arsed attack into something remembered forever. Many assassination attempts (and successes!) have happened in recent as well as ancient history – which among these do we recall?!
9/11 will, I hope, always be remembered, but many other events are not. It seems the only things people notice these days are the ones that are loudest in the press. Who now remembers Bali, Katrina, the Tsunami? And yet these have had huge repurcussions. Yet unless you live in an area directly affected, it seems to have slipped from the social consciousness.
And like Ozymandias, maybe it’s time we remember the forgotten subjects of such rulers – the ones who suffered under their ‘cold command’ – those who don’t leave a statue behind, a mark of their lives.