Genghis Khan is the newest sculpture at Marble Arch and I love it! The raw power and the crazed eyes of the Khan and his horse are enough to make you cringe. Dashi Namdakov‘s sculpture speaks for itself.
Which isn’t to say that plenty of other people have nothing to say. Quite to the contrary. The arguments fall into two camps. One camp admires the brilliance of Genghis Khan, a man who could conquer more land and people in 25 years than the Romans could conquer in 400 years. They also point to the Kahn’s introduction of paper money, a postal system and his promotion of religious tolerance.
detractors point to the millions of deaths at the hands of the Mongolian leader. As I take a stroll the Internet, I note that there is plenty of biased information to support both camps. And isn’t that the way of it? Unfortunately, mere mortals write history.
At face value, Genghis Khan doesn’t seem like a nice guy, but as a work of art, does the 16-foot sculpture necessarily honor the man, his might, or the carnage that he left in his wake? Some will see the sculpture as an inspired work of art; some will see it as an homage to power; and others will see it as a caution: beware of the abuse of power.
The artistic merit of Namdakov’s sculpture is unquestionable. As to Genghis Khan, isn’t the debate… the questions raised by the work… of equal value?
I close with a video of The Neville Brothers singing Bob Dylan‘s anti-war song, “With God on Our Side.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tyIjfE-tIk&feature=related
When training students in the art of debate, teachers require students to defend positions that run counter to each student’s core beliefs. This is a great exercise in that it allows students to anticipate and deflect arguments that will come their way. Also, the students may better understand and maybe even appreciate the opposition..
- Choose a topic that you feel strongly about and write a short piece that incorporates the beliefs of the opposition. Or…
- Write in response to the notion that God is on our side.