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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Monday, September 25, 2017

In light of the controversy surrounding Confederate statues after the aftermath of last week’s violence in Charlottesville, the Manhattan Transit Authority (MTA) will be remaking tiles in the Times Square subway station which resemble Confederate flags. 

According to a NY Post last week, the MTA has denied that the tiles, which have been part of the Times Square station for over 90s, were intended as Confederate flag, or that they honor former NY Times owner and Southerner Adolph Ochs, as Civil War historian Dr. David Jackowe claims. 

“These are not Confederate flags,” MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said, according to the Post. “It is a design based on geometric forms that represent the ‘Crossroads of the World’ and to avoid absolutely any confusion, we will modify them to make that absolutely crystal clear.” 

The events in Charlottesville have sparked a renewed debate about statues memorializing an ignominious part of America’s past. The neo-Nazi rally, which culminated in a white supremacist plowing his vehicle into a crowd of protesters, prompted a backlash against Confederate landmarks, with NY Governor Andrew Cuomo calling on the U.S. Army to rename two streets named after General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and General Robert E. Lee. 

“Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson will be removed from the CUNY hall of great Americans because New York stands against racism,” Cuomo wrote in a tweet. “There are many great Americans, many of them New Yorkers worthy of a spot in this great hall. These two confederates are not among them.”

The Army has not acceded to Cuomo’s request, as the Washington Post noted, saying the streets were named in the spirit of reconciliation, and do not represent any particular ideology. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has advocated removing all statues and public art in New York City identified as “symbols of hate.” 

Last week, a Confederate statue in North Carolina was torn down by protesters seeking to “smash white supremacy.” 

“When I see a Confederate statue in downtown Durham, or really anywhere, it fills me with a lot of rage and frustration,” Loan Tran, an organizer of the protest, said, according to CBS North Carolina.   

Confederate statues honoring Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson were also torn down in Baltimore last week, along with the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors monument, and the Confederate Women’s monument, as the Independent noted.  

Those defending the monuments have argued that they are national landmarks representing America’s culture and history, and as such should not be removed. Others see nothing worth cherishing in the statues, only an ugly reminder of slavery and a brutal war that split the United States in half.

By:  Menachem Rephun