In Bordeaux, vandals whitewashed a bronze statue erected to commemorate the victims of slavery, with which the history of the city is linked. The city’s mayor’s office announced that they would file a complaint with law enforcement, as they considered the incident an act of racism. France 3 television channel reported this on Monday, September 13.
“This is not only an act of negationism and misogyny, but also an attack on deported people and victims of slavery, as well as on an artistic project,” said the municipal councilor for heritage and memory, Stephane Gomo.
The local authorities will file a criminal complaint for the racially motivated desecration of the statue.
The monument was unveiled on May 10, 2019, on the Garonne waterfront, a day to commemorate the victims of slavery and the abolition of the slave trade and slavery. The author of the monument was Haitian sculptor Woodley Caymitt (known as Philipo).
The bronze statue depicts Al Poissy, an enslaved native of East Africa who was bought in the 18th century by Pierre and François Testa of Bordeaux, writes the city hall website. In 1781, François Testa transported the 16-year-old dark-skinned woman to the sugar plantation he ran. At baptism, the slave girl received a new name and the owners’ surname, becoming Modesta Testa. The girl gave birth to several children by her owner.
After François’ death, Al Poissy and his other slaves became free men under his will. The former slave girl inherited land in the former French colony of Saint Domingue. Subsequently, in accordance with François’ will, she became engaged to his former slave Joseph Lesperance. Modeste gave birth to nine children by her husband. The black woman died in 1870 at the age of 105. Her grandson was president of Haiti in the late 19th century.
On June 19, a monument to former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau was desecrated in the Canadian city of Vaughn. They smeared black paint over his face and head. The monument was erected in honor of the father of current Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
On June 5, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supported protesters who staged mass rallies over the death of African-American George Floyd in custody. The politician arrived at a rally against police brutality in Ottawa surrounded by bodyguards and knelt in solidarity with those gathered. Many in attendance appreciated the gesture, but some citizens found it pointless.
Earlier in a number of countries, monuments to politicians were torn down or desecrated by participants in rallies that erupted in the wake of the death of African American George Floyd in the United States. For example, vandals in Great Britain painted a monument to Winston Churchill, accusing him of racism. In the American state of Louisiana, protesters threw a bust of slave owner John McDonough into the river; a similar fate befell the statue of Christopher Columbus in Virginia.