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Monumentgate: Empire State Building lights up for basketball but not terrorism

Monumentgate is officially a new word in the political lexicon. It can be used to describe the scandal over when various world-monuments (exclusively in the west) are lit up in the colours of a country’s flag to show solidarity with that state, or otherwise, when the lights are switched off in a sign of mourning.

I personally have always felt that lighting up various monuments in the colours of a foreign flag to be a bit tacky and hypocritical, not least because such things are usually done in countries that are state sponsors of terrorism themselves.

But because lighting up monuments is a trend, it ought to be applied evenly and fairly. This is why  observers have noted that many cities failed to alter the lighting arrangements at various monuments in the aftermath of the deadly terrorist attack on St. Petersburg. A curious exception was Tel Aviv.

But maybe in the age of austerity, finding the colours of the Russian flag was too difficult for cities like Berlin, London, Paris and New York. Maybe it was just a coincidence….a bit of carelessness on the part of busy civic leaders?


The administrators of New York’s Empire state building used blue, one of the colours of the Russian flag, to illuminate the famous skyscraper to honour the University of North Carolina’s victory in the NCAA basketball tournament.

There is of course nothing wrong with that. In fact, encouraging people to take a more active interest in sports is something I have always supported.

The problem is the hypocrisy. If God forbid, a terrorist attack struck Paris during the evening of America’s Superbowl Sunday, it would be fair to say that the French Tricolore would almost certainly have been projected on the Empire State Building in one form or another. If not, the lights may have dimmed as a sign of respect.

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Russia is of course not alone in being left out of the monument lights commemorations. I can’t recall the last time monuments in Europe or America were lit up in the colours of the Syrian flag when innocent civilians in cities like Damascus or Aleppo found themselves victims of the same moderate killers who infrequently also take lives in places like Berlin, Nice, Paris or London.

A sad irony of the situation is that Russia created a permanent monument for the victims of the 911 atrocity which stands silently across from where the twin towers once were.  It is deeply depressing that this spirit of solidarity has not been reciprocated.

911 russiaSo Russia is in good company. Russia, like Syria, is on the front lines fighting Salifist terrorists, but when they fall victim to the barbarians that they have resolved to fight, there is no sympathy from the western powers that have funded, armed and encouraged the proliferation of Salifism.

The true shame is that the ordinary citizens of virtually every country in the world, are wholly opposed to Salifist terrorism. It is governments that are totally out of touch and no amount of crocodile tears which manifest themselves in the form of light shows for the masses can change that.

This is the true shame of Monumentgate.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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