Saddam Hussein memorial plaque appears on bench in London's Wanstead

Mystery over tribute to Iraqi dictator

Victoria Richards
Monday 19 November 2018 12:53
Comments
Saddam Hussein memorial plaque appears on bench in London's Wanstead

A dedication to a brutal oppressor who ruled Iraq with violence and fear for 30 years has been placed on a bench in the middle of a busy high street in east London, saying “In loving memory of... Saddam Hussein, 1937 - 2006.”

The bronze plaque, which has come to the attention of residents in Wanstead, has caused considerable outrage - which was likely exactly the point.

Whoever fixed the metal memorial to the public spot even appears to have used special anti-theft screws, which cannot be easily removed using normal tools - meaning that the eulogy to one of history’s most brutal tyrants might be in place for the foreseeable future.

The Wanstead bench

The dates of the life of the despot, who was hanged in 2006, are correct.

Melissa Munday-Chanin, 38, who lives near the site of the bench, said: “I was horrified. My mum was over visiting and pointed it out to me and was utterly shocked - so I checked it immediately.

"I thought she surely must’ve been mistaken but to my horror she was right. I think someone celebrating the life of a man who’s caused such terror is outrageous. And if it’s a joke, it’s not remotely funny.”

Fellow resident Victoria Adcock, 42, said: “It’s obviously a prank. People being outraged are just playing into the prankster’s hands. They should just take it off and forget about it.”

Claire Newbigging, 37, said: “I’ve not seen it first hand but it’s got to be a joke. I just don’t get it - would anyone really want to commemorate someone like Saddam Hussein?”

Jane Gibbs, 55, who runs local play group Gracechurch Tots, said: “it must be a wind up. A very tactless wind up.”

Suzy Essex, 38, said: “Has it been done to support what Saddam believed in and is it meant to cause trouble? It could be left-wing trouble makers.”

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Local artist Matthew Webber, 44, said: “It’s clear that whoever did this knew it would cause uproar. They’ve even used special screws to make it much more difficult to remove. Maybe it’s part of a series? Wanstead’s answer to Banksy!”

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

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in