Labour Councillors have questioned Westminster Council’s decision to erect a statue of Genghis Khan at Marble Arch and asked why a Mongolian warlord responsible for the deaths of millions of people has been given pride of place in the heart of London at a time when the eyes of the world will be on Westminster during the Olympics and Paralympics this summer. Genghis Khan has no known connection with Westminster.
The 16ft statue commemorates the 850th anniversary of the birth of Genghis Khan whose name is synonymous with cruelty and terror. Known for killing boys and men of captured cities and kidnapping the women and girls, he was believed to have said; “The greatest happiness is to vanquish your enemies, to chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth, to see those dear to them bathed in tears, to clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters.”
Labour Councillors say that if the Council had wanted to honour a local war hero they could have erected a statue of Guy Gibson VC, who led the Dam Busters Raid in 1943, and who lived a mile from Marble Arch in Aberdeen Place. Or the Council could have commissioned a statue of Mary Seacole, the Victorian nurse who saved the lives of British soldiers during the Crimean War, and who lived a few hundred yards from Marble Arch, in George Street.
Or the Council could have honoured a number of eminent local people whose work improved life for millions of people across the world, including Sir Alexander Fleming who discovered penicillin at St Mary’s Hospital in Praed Street, just one mile from Marble Arch. Or the Council could have erected a statue to Isambard Kingdom Brunel who built the Great Western Railway starting from Paddington Station, just around the corner from Marble Arch.
And if the Council had wanted to highlight Westminster’s sporting heroes during Olympic year they could have done no better than erect a statue of Bradley Wiggins CBE, the Maida Vale-born cyclist who has already won 6 Olympic Gold medals. Or the feats of Sir Roger Bannister, who did his sub-4 minute mile training at Paddington Recreation Ground and worked as a doctor at St Mary’s Hospital, could have been recognised with a statue.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said; “To erect a statue of Genghis Khan at Marble Arch is a bizarre decision, when there are so many others who have a real connection to Westminster and the Olympics and who have improved the lives of their fellow citizens. What on earth were Westminster’s Conservative Councillors thinking when they agreed to a statue of Genghis Khan at Marble Arch? Who’s next – Stalin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein?”Other news from Westminster Labour