A statue of legendary Scottish ruler Robert the Bruce was recently vandalized and tagged with slogans in support of the Black Lives Matter organization. “Robert was a racist, bring down the statue” reads graffiti on one side of the monument. The statue of Robert the Bruce itself was also vandalized, with the words, “racist king, BLM” tagged directly on. “Black lives matter” was also spelled out beneath the monument.
Located near Stirling, the monument commemorates a landmark Scottish victory over the English Army in the First War of Scottish Independence. Though the battle did not decide the war, it was a monumental victory for Scottish forces led by Robert the Bruce.
Plenty have pointed out how little sense the vandalism makes. Robert the Bruce was King of Scotland from 1306 until his death in 1329. This means that Robert the Bruce died almost three centuries before the Atlantic slave trade began.
It is very possible that the man never laid eyes on an African person in his life. His political philosophy was not even Eurocentric, but Scotland-centric.
The vandalism also couldn’t come at a worse time for the National Trust in Scotland, which is responsible for overseeing monuments like the statue. “We are very disappointed by the vandalism of the iconic Bruce statue at Bannockburn and the A listed rotunda. This comes at a time when our charity is suffering serious financial hardship and this is a cost we could do without,” said trust spokesperson Stuart Maxwell.
The life of Robert the Bruce may pre-date the past atrocities often cited as motivation for BLM protesters, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Any and all statues are increasingly becoming targets for a variety of groups. This includes BLM, black bloc anarchists (Antifa) and criminal elements simply taking advantage of a volatile situation.
In Massachusetts, a monument honoring the first all-volunteer black regiment of the Union Army during the Civil War was vandalized last week. The 54th Massachusetts regiment — which is the unit depicted in the Academy Award-winning film Glory — was defaced and later covered up with plywood. The plywood was later tagged with pro-BLM/anti police slogans the following night. The 54th Massachusetts was the unit of the country’s first African American Medal of Honor recipient, William H. Carney.
In California, protesters defaced a statue of prominent Quaker abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier. Greenleaf was an active abolitionist as early as 1826, when he became acquainted with William Lloyd Garrison. He became increasingly active with the anti-slavery movement as the years went on, penning several anti-slavery works.
Greenleaf not only demanded that slaves be freed, but that they immediately be emancipated as well. This was considered radical for even the abolitionist movement at the time. He was a founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833 and dedicated his professional life to that cause.
Still, his statue was defaced by BLM protesters. “F**K slave owners” reads the graffiti on the statue.
This type of activity targeted at abolitionists and medieval rulers such as Robert the Bruce is being cited by critics as evidence of the movement’s unorganized and vengeful direction.