Monday 23 September 2019

Memorial plaque in east London dedicated to Saddam Hussein removed by council

A plaque appeared on a bench in Wanstead with the Iraqi dictator’s dates of birth and death.

(Victoria Richards/@nakedvix)
(Victoria Richards/@nakedvix)

By Max McLean and Emily Chudy, Press Association

A memorial plaque bench in east London dedicated to the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has been removed by the local council.

Freelance journalist Victoria Richards posted a photo of the dedication on Wanstead High Street to Twitter, which reads: “In loving memory of Saddam Hussein 1937 – 2006”.

The bronze plaque, thought to be put up by pranksters, was placed with anti-theft screws and has caused outrage from residents.

Ms Richards said: “Local friends had been talking about it so I made a point to check it out this morning. It’s there! Firmly screwed on with (apparently) anti-theft screws to make it harder to remove. Someone has obviously put a lot of thought into this!”

Ms Richards said: “It was a mixture of shock and amusement. Amusement at the audacity of it, rather than the symbolism. Once you think more deeply about it, the more disturbing it becomes. Saddam Hussein was a despot, responsible for untold bloodshed and the slow destruction of Iraq.

“I imagine whoever put the plaque in place was doing it as a tongue-in-cheek prank… but perhaps they need to think more about the message they’re trying to put across? It’s certainly not funny for the victims, or families of victims of devastating regional wars.

“Above all, however, whoever did this knew it would spark outrage… and it has. I’d love to know what their real motivation was in doing this.”

A spokesperson for Redbridge Council said: “We didn’t give permission for this to be put up and it has been removed.”

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