The removal of artworks commemorating individuals the Left find objectionable has risen to a cottage industry over the past eight years. For example, the English department at the University of Pennsylvania recently caved to student demands that the portrait of a non-inclusive author be removed in favor of a photograph of a relatively obscure black lesbian. The name of the writer who image was eighty-sixed? William Shakespeare.
In one of the most extreme cases, it wasn’t a statuary likeness but the actual corporeal remains of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest that were removed from a city park in Memphis — along with those of the general’s wife.
With all this fascination with historical cleansing, it seems counterintuitive that a university would add a sculpture celebrating an unsavory figure. Then again, unsavoriness is in the eye of the beholder. And if the beholder is a social justice warrior enrolled at American University in Washington, D.C., and the figure is Leonard Peltier, then bring on the tributes.
Who, you ask, is Leonard Peltier? Campus Reform has the answer:
Leonard Peltier, a Native American activist, was convicted for the murder of two FBI agents in 1977, when he was involved in a shootout on the Pine Ridge Reservation, fled the scene, and was put on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive list. In the years following, he gave several conflicting alibis as to his whereabouts on the morning of the shootout.
So there you go. Not only is the person in question an American Indian, and thus a member of a protected class, but he is a cop-killer, a species admired by young liberals and rapidly becoming a protected class on its own.
Campus Reform notes that Peltier’s conviction has been criticized by all the predictable advocacy groups, including Amnesty International, the Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, and the Soviet Peace Committee.
Arguments on behalf of setting Peltier free include that the notion that the killing of police officers was justified because of the “historical genocide” the U.S. government perpetrated on the Indians.
It is the hope of American U. students that Barack Obama will pardon Peltier before he leaves office. A pox on him if he does, and a pox on them for asking for it.
*UPDATE* We have received the following unsolicited email from American University Communications:
American University regards this statue as an exhibited piece of art and takes no position on the advocacy movement. AU’s Katzen Museum is hosting the artist’s statue as an exhibit; it is not a permanent installation.