In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Express Yourself.”
A giant Lenin head in the middle of a public square? It would be a crime to walk by without making a few jokes en route.
After what happened in France recently, the world is debating to decide whether it is OK or not to make fun of the prophet. Although I do have a personal view, which I know is totally influenced by my cultural background, I do not have a universal answer to this question.
But is it universally OK to make fun at least of fallen symbols of power?
Take Lenin for example. During Soviet Russia, it was not OK to make fun of Lenin. Should I have refrained from making fun at Lenin fifty years ago, even if I lived in the West, on the grounds that it may have offended many people?
In 2009 and 2010, Lenin statues in St Petersburg were bombed and damaged. Vandalism of historical monuments is clearly reprehensible; however it was also hilarious that they had targeted Lenin’s butt, leaving there a big hole. But the local communists (yes, there are still some) were terribly offended and demonstrated in front of the Smolny institute to express their indignation.
No matter who you make fun at, there will always be a believer you are offending.
So today, I am taking the risk to showcase how I played with Lenin’s giant head exhibited on Ulan Ude’s central square when I visited in 2010. Most Lenin statues follow very specific codes, but this one is unique: just a head, 7,7 meters high and made of 42 tons bronze.
I hope you won’t be offended but will enjoy it as much as I do!