Saturday, June 20, 2020
Across the United States, statues of Confederate figures are finally being removed from public spaces. Considering that these statues embody a shameful heritage of racism " and the majority of Americans want them gone " taking them down would seem pretty open-and-shut, not to mention long overdue. (And I, for one, would be happy to relocate all of them to the bottom of a river.) But opponents claim to be worried about one issue in particular: "Those statues represent our history. If we remove them, we run the risk of forgetting an important chapter of our past." Assuming that this concern is genuine, I have some great news: Hungary came up with a solution for this problem decades ago.
After the fall of communism, Eastern Europeans did not wait long to remove those statues; most were torn down within weeks, or even days, and tossed onto the trash heap of history. And I can promise you: More than 30 years later, nobody is in danger of "forgetting" the dark days of communism.
In Budapest, however, they took a slightly different approach. Some entrepreneur gathered some the city's rejected statuary to display in a big field on the outskirts of town. And today Memento Park still welcomes visitors.
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