‘Lest we forget’: anti-war statue of Iraq veteran goes up in Margate

Statue of Iraq veteran Daniel Taylor
Support us and go ad-free

A statue of a young soldier has gone up in Margate. And it’s quite different to most military statues. It depicts Daniel Taylor, a young anti-war Iraq veteran and campaigner who suffers from PTSD and has a powerful message for Britain’s politicians.

The statue is named April is the Cruellest Month, after a T.S Eliot poem. It’s the work of Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz. Made from concrete, the statue contains artefacts donated by locals and veterans, including Taylor’s Iraq medal and a peace flag he stole as a 15-year-old from an anti-war demo in his native Devon.

Iraq medal

In 2006, Taylor took the flag to Iraq with him when he deployed to war, much to the annoyance of his officers. He came back with post-traumatic stress disorder, ending up serving a spell in military prison. Taylor struggled with a lack of support after discharge. He is now a therapist and member of Veterans for Peace UK.

In a press release, Taylor said:

My aim was to draw some small spotlight back onto the subject of militarism & how the arms industry continues to operate in the UK. We are pushed ever closer to war because of profit, resources and power.

The work also contains Taylor’s Iraq service medal. He hopes that giving it up will spark a debate:

Read on...

I expect letting go of my medal in this way will upset some people but I have to be at peace with that if the greater outcome is a broader and more honest debate around how the UK conducts its dangerous foreign policy & how it treats its veterans when they return home.

Westminster

The statue is of Taylor’s younger self pointing west from Margate to Westminster. It’s there he lays the blame for both the wars and the problems faced by the soldiers who fought them, like mental health issues, homelessness, and alcohol abuse.

The occupation of Iraq cost 179 service people their lives, as well as an unknown number of Iraqis. The British and Iraqi dead were remembered at a small ceremony at the unveiling.

The piece will be in Margate until Armistice Day, after which it will tour various locations around the country.

Featured images via Thierry Bal and Turner Contemporary and Daniel Taylor

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us