Edward Snowden, to many, is considered a hero of the modern age of technology, but many wonder if he is deserving of a monument. Unnamed artists in Brooklyn sure seemed to think so. Less than 24 hours ago, a monument of America’s “most wanted,” Edward Snowden, was put up in public view. What has many shocked is that the artists attached the Snowden monument to an already existing statue to heroes of America’s “revolutionary war.”
Snowden, who made worldwide headlines when he gave thousands of unclassified documents to the associated press two years ago, is often confused with the founder of Wikileaks, Jullian Assange. What many Americans fail to realize, however, is that apart from handing over documents many deem to be “must know information” to the Associated Press, the infamous 29-year-old has little to do with Wikileaks. However, considering the recent Oscar winning documentary Citizen Four shows the difference, it is hoped that the other billions of the world’s citizens recognize the difference between the two public figures.
This man’s name has been heard thousands of times over in the past several years, yet many Americans fail to recognize his importance in their country’s future. He was someone who worked for the United States government, and felt that documents that should be made public to the world were being kept secret. Some of his “thefts” were published on the Wikileaks website, by their own discretion. He has since fled to Russia to avoid prosecution by the U.S., despite ongoing debates on whether he did something illegal, or not. This has left many to wonder if Snowden deserves a monument, or a printed target for U.S. troops.
Despite the popularity of Citizen Four, among film-makers the world over, this man is still recognized by Americans as being an “enemy of the state.” As shown in a recent satirical news program, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Snowden is thought of as someone who has “sold American secrets to foreign powers,” though the truth is considered by many to be much more damaging to America’s government. He admits that the information released to the public is now out of his hands, and it should be handled with care.
In the past, it has not been uncommon for monuments of the world to be defaced or altered by radical groups. Even in such films as National Lampoon’s Animal House, stone statues have been altered to meet the public’s truthful needs of their time. Though putting a fake joint in the hand of a Nixon statue is decades old, some consider putting the head of Snowden on a monument for soldiers of America’s revolutionary war to be an act that does not receive enough press, period.
Apparently applied with an industrial adhesive, the defacement of the monument was quickly covered up by local officials. No apologies have been made as to the artist group’s alteration of the monument, and some thing that saying “sorry” is far from necessary. Snowden is currently living in Russia as a means to prevent his extradition to America to be brought up on formal charges against the country. While allegations proven true in regards to the Patriot Act’s section 215 have been demonstrated by Snowden’s release of “stolen” information, the actions of defacement to a national monument are, to many, uncalled for. This leads some to ask “radical” artists if a monument to Edward Snowden is deserved.
By Benjamin Johnson
Photo by Dennis Skley – Flickr license
photo by Dennis Stauffer – Flickr license