Students at the University of Manchester have this week demonstrated the decline in academic freedom by defacing the ‘nation’s favourite poem’ just a week after it was erected.
The poem ‘If’ by renowned author and poet Rudyard Kipling was placed on a wall within the university campus. The 1895 masterpiece is also inscribed above the entrance to Wimbledon’s Centre Court.
Students painted over the poem because, allegedly, Rudyard Kipling was a ‘racist’ and ‘imperialist’.
Fatima Abid, General Secretary of the Student Union, tweeted the boringly predictable rubbish about ‘black and brown voices’ allegedly being airbrushed out of history.
The poem was replaced by ‘Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou – an African-American poet who, in all likelihood, nobody outside of snowflake circles in Britain has ever heard of.
Critics of the defacement have accurately described the students’ actions as ‘an outrageous act of cultural vandalism’.
They are, of course, correct.
Somebody should also remind these students that Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India, meaning that – should we apply the very same students’ likely views on race and ethnicity – he was in fact an Indian and therefore in no way complicit in British Imperialism.
No? Well, it was worth a shot.
If, by Rudyard KiplingIf you can keep your head when all about youAre losing theirs and blaming it on you,If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,But make allowance for their doubting too;If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;If you can meet with Triumph and DisasterAnd treat those two impostors just the same;If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spokenTwisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:If you can make one heap of all your winningsAnd risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,And lose, and start again at your beginningsAnd never breathe a word about your loss;If you can force your heart and nerve and sinewTo serve your turn long after they are gone,And so hold on when there is nothing in youExcept the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,If all men count with you, but none too much;If you can fill the unforgiving minuteWith sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!