Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hands Across the Avenue

This afternoon I was heading up Massachusetts Avenue toward Wisconsin Avenue when I noticed a statue of a man raising a clenched fist. On looking at it I realized that this must be a statue of Nelson Mandela, and that the grounds must be those of the South African Embassy. At the moment the grounds are surrounded by chain link fence, the notice boards too far for me to read, and the statue's base is bare concrete.If I understand the embassy web site correctly, the statue was set in place two months ago.

Then it struck me that the (much older) statue of Winston Churchill must be right across the avenue. It is, about 20 yards uphill, the statue showing him striding forward and holding up his right hand with the V-for-victory gesture. The statues look past each other, Churchill could  be encouraging or defying a small monument to Kahil Gibran, Mandela could as easily be inspiring Bolivia as the United Kingdom.

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