Category Archives: World

There Is A Nine-Foot Tall Statue Of Edward Snowden In New York City

Hayes Brown/BuzzFeed

A giant statue of Edward Snowden has appeared in Union Square Park. The tribute to the NSA whistleblower is the brainchild of Jim Dessicino, a graduate student at the University of Delaware.

“When the story broke about Edward Snowden, I was thinking a lot about surveillance and monumentality and how we remember things,” Dessicino told BuzzFeed News on Friday. “How public space is used and how people in history are remembered.

“And I got the idea that maybe people who are major actants upon history aren’t always represented properly, and those people could be written out of history by not having something more permanent made of them.”

It took Dessicino four months to complete the nine-foot tall piece of art, out of gypsum cement, steel, and foam. For the next three days, from 10 AM to 5 PM, the statue will be based in Union Square as part of the annual Art in Odd Places project.

“I was thinking a lot about who gets memorialized, who gets lionized, you know, remembered in the public eye,” he said. “And there’s a really democratic activity that happens in public art and public spaces where it can cause public discourse. And I saw that seemed lacking in my generation.

“And Edward Snowden does something that was beyond him, you know, it was a very public act where he sacrificed his own personal comfort and security to let us all know something. So he sacrificed himself for the greater good.”

“So he’s kind of dead in a way, because he can’t be here, and so he becomes a subject that can be memorialized,” he said.

“The first person to see it was Glenn Greenwald right when we took it out of the van,” Dessicino said, making clear that the picture wasn’t staged. “He was just having breakfast. One of his friends came over and was like ‘…Is that Edward Snowden?’ ‘Yes it is!’ ‘Well, that’s Glenn Greenwald!’” Greenwald apparently was a fan of the piece.

Though he clearly admires Snowden, and doesn’t think the former NSA contractor should return to the U.S. for trial, Dessicino insists that he’s not an activist.

“Politics aren’t my number one concern and what happens to Edward Snowden,” he said. “I wish him well but this is more about being active in public life and about questioning monuments. About questioning how we believe in things that are there and permanent.”

Dessicino pointed to how the statute’s pose — “he’s pensive and unsure of his actions and unsure of himself” — and even the materials chosen reflect the uncertainty surrounding the figure. “It’s not cast in bronze. The verdict is still open about Snowden so therefore he can’t have a totally permanent monument.”

Not everyone was exactly sure just who the statue was supposed to be.

After talking with Desscinio and milling about the statute for a few minutes, nobody asked could correctly identify the piece’s subject. One Israeli man, walking through the park with his wife and small child, thought it might be of John Lennon. Another woman, when told who it was, looked at it with a new look in her eyes. “The almost Nobel Prize winner?”

Boys Wear Skirts To School In France To Fight Sexism

1. Boys from 27 high schools in the French city of Nantes were given the chance to wear skirts Friday to school as part of an anti-sexism demonstration.

JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP / Getty Images

3. The demonstration was called “Ce que soulève la jupe” — alternately translated as “what raises the skirt” and “lift the skirt” — and was backed by the city’s education authorities.

JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP / Getty Images

5. Officials also encouraged girls to wear skirts.

JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP / Getty Images

7. Student Arthur Moinet, an organizer for the demonstration, said the event was sparked by an ongoing problem with sexism in his region.

via YouTube

“We noticed that in a lot of high schools in our region, there are lots of cases of sexism and discrimination, so we thought we should do something to change that, and so we came up with the idea,” Moinet told Euronews.

9. Boys were not required to participate, though a majority supported the demonstration, Euronews reported.

JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP / Getty Images

11. Boys who didn’t want to actually don a skirt could wear a pin reading, “I fight sexism, what about you?”

JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP / Getty Images

13. About 150 members of a conservative group called Les Sentinelles Nantes protested the demonstration.

JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP / Getty Images

15. Gender has been a contentious topic in France recently, with the country passing a new equality-oriented education curriculum earlier this year.

JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP / Getty Images