Oriel College, Oxford has surrendered to the mob and plans to take down a statue of one of its most distinguished alumni and most generous benefactors Cecil Rhodes.
Rhodes was, of course, the British mining magnate and politician who made his fortune in Southern Africa — and who founded the eponymous scholarship which has enabled numerous overseas students (including Bill Clinton, Susan Rice, Bobby Jindal, Rachel Maddow and Ronan Farrow) to study at Oxford.
The decision by Oriel’s governing body still needs to be ratified by an ‘Independent Commission of Inquiry.’ But the result is a foregone conclusion: Rhodes will fall because there is almost no one brave or foolhardy to speak up for history, for common sense, for tradition, for proportion and perspective — or, indeed, against fanaticism.
This fanaticism was all too evident in Oxford last week when a large number of students, whipped up into a state of near hysteria by the Black Lives Matter campaign, brought the High Street to a standstill in order to demand — yet again — that Rhodes Must Fall.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 18, 2020
The mob professed to come in peace. But sinister undercurrents of intolerance and aggression were clearly evident when one Oxford inhabitant — journalist Peter Hitchens — refused to join the crowd in taking a knee in support of Black Lives Matter. Later, the mob followed Hitchens menacingly through the streets of Oxford, perhaps offering a taste of worse to come.
Certainly what few people seem to have noticed in the frenzy of white liberal breast-beating is the ugly, violent origins of the Rhodes Must Fall movement.
I wrote about this in 2015 in a piece presciently titled ‘The Ugly True Story of #RhodesMustFall: Oxford University’s Answer to #BlackLivesMatter.’
There is nothing innocent, spontaneous or well-meaning about the campaign to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes from Oriel (formerly one of Oxford’s sounder, heartier colleges). It is an import from South Africa — and from some of the nastiest, most aggressively anti-white elements in South African politics at that.
Here is a reminder of Rhodes Must Fall’s deeply unpleasant beginnings at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Bear in mind that the campaign was opposed at least as much by most black students as it was by white ones. They recognised, rightly, that what is being destroyed here is not the legacy of white imperialism, but rather the educational prospects of a new South African generation.
I have reprinted this from my original 2015 Breitbart article. Feel free to skip if you know this already – but I rather suspect that most people don’t.
The campaign [Rhodes Must Fall] was launched early in 2015 at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa by a small group of black activists. Their stated objective was the removal of a Cecil Rhodes statue from the campus. Really, though it was a power grab by black supremacists who used #rhodesmustfall as a way of intimidating white students and staff at the university.
Among their supporters-from-afar is Assata Shakur, a former Black Liberation Army leader and escaped convicted murderer who is on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List.
The campaigners blocked roads, threw human excrement and desecrated the University’s war memorial with the words “Fuck Rhodes”. Their leader Chumani Maxwele – an activist known as the “poo-flinger” – reportedly stormed into a lecturer’s office, banged on her table and shouted “we must not listen to whites, we do not need their apologies, they have to be removed from UCT and have to be killed”.
Led by a hapless, irretrievably left wing Vice Chancellor (and former Rhodes scholar) named Max Price, the University’s authorities proved pusillanimous in the face of this bullying. A University Council meeting was invaded by Rhodes Must Fall activists chanting “One Settler, One Bullet” and jumping on the tables. The Council cravenly elected to have the statue removed.
But in the six months since the statue was pulled down, the violent intimidation hasn’t stopped. Now the same mob has moved on, hijacking a protest against tuition fees and using it as an excuse to disrupt lectures, destroying property and throwing excrement into exam venues. Desperate professors have taken to holding exams at secret locations around Cape Town: which Rhodes Must Fall nevertheless managed to infiltrate and shut down.
Yet Rhodes Must Fall are not remotely representative of ordinary students, most of whom would much prefer to be left alone to get on with their studies. Speaking on condition of anonymity, one black UCT student told a newspaper:
“‘Rhodes Must Fall’ are a self-appointed group of people that are starting riots to move their own agenda. Clarity needs to be made about this matter because people are now thinking every black student that is protesting is part of ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ and this will lead to a negative end.”
Rather, Rhodes Must Fall are a very small but very aggressive minority who bully and intimidate the peaceable majority much as Nazis did in Germany in the 1930s. The comparison is worth making because Rhodes Must Fall activists have expressed solidarity with another black South African student leader Mcebo Dlamini who earlier this year declared that he “loved” Adolf Hitler and admired him for his “organisational skills”. Rhodes Must Fall tweeted in solidarity with the hashtag #FreeMceboDlamini.
Oriel College’s instinct has always been to cave to the mob on this issue. It was originally going to accede to their demands in 2015 – only to be forced to back down by its disgusted alumni, many of whom threatened to withdraw their bequests to the college.
As the Guardian reported in 2016:
The college confirmed it had been warned of the possibility that it would lose about £100m in gifts should the statue be taken down but a spokesman insisted the financial implications were not the primary consideration.
I think we can take that ‘not the primary consideration’ with a hefty pinch of salt.
It may be that the very last thing that stands between Oxford University and the anti-intellectual, iconoclastic bullying of the neo-Jacobin mob trying to destroy its architecture, airbrush away its heritage and dumb down its curriculum are its college alumni.
Rhodes has fallen; so — if someone doesn’t put an end to this nonsense soon — will what’s left of Oxford University’s credibility.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 17, 2020