NOT FOR the first time, the statue of Christopher Columbus on Boston's North End waterfront was badly vandalized Tuesday night: Its head was knocked to the ground. In the past, the statue has always been repaired and restored, but this time the vandals will get their way. Mayor Marty Walsh told reporters on Wednesday that the damaged monument will be removed indefinitely, so that, "given the conversations that we're having right now," officials can "take time to assess the historic meaning of the statue." I'm guessing the statue won't be coming back.
Elsewhere, other statues have been defaced or attacked. In numerous US cities, memorials to Confederate leaders became targets. Many were damaged or overturned by protesters, while others were preemptively removed by local officials. In Bristol, England, a statue of the merchant, philanthropist, and slave trader Edward Colston was toppled by Black Lives Matter protesters and thrown in the city's harbor. A monument to Belgium's King Leopold II was removed by officials in Antwerp after it was set on fire during an anti-racism rally. Statues in London of Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Mahatma Gandhi were spray-painted with graffiti; the same thing happened to the Gandhi statue at the Indian embassy in Washington.
Back in Boston, meanwhile, the desecration of public art went way beyond the Columbus sculpture. . . .