Letters to the Editor: April 2016

Jeremy Paxman responds to our recent article on the Rhodes Must Fall campaign. Plus: languages, the Teutonic Knights and Hedy Lamarr.

The Argument Falls Down
My friend Alex von Tunzelmann (Rhodes Must Fall? A Question of When Not If, March 2016) is a good historian. But she overstates her case.

She cites the demolition of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad in 2003, saying it was ‘hauled down by protesters’. It was not. It was pulled down by American troops. Those of us watching the event on live television feeds saw the efficiency of US military communications when the serviceman climbing a ladder to attach the Stars and Stripes to the plinth was ordered to the ground and returned to the top with an Iraqi flag: commanders were well aware of the symbolism of the event and wanted to present the war as an indigenous uprising. It was only after US forces had dragged the statue down that Baghdadis set about bashing the effigy with sledgehammers.

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