From Russia to Brooklyn – Edward Snowden, The Whistleblower!

Edward Snowden Busto New York

The world needs more whistle-blowers. This is what seems to have passed through the minds of those who placed Edward Snowden’s bust in Fort Greene’s Park. Was it really John Oliver’s interview with Snowden on ‘Last Week Tonight’, which triggered it? Or is it that America, or at least Brooklyn, decided to sing to the tunes of whistle-blowing!

The 4-foot-high, 100-pound sculpture, portraying the man who is now exiled in Russia was sneaked into the public park just before dawn at the beginning of the month. It wasn't done on April 1st, so it isn't an April’s Fools Day prank. It rather seems to be a tribute to Edward Snowden, done by a group of admirers who didn't pick by chance the Revolutionary War memorial. For instance, the activists besides hoisting the bust added to a column the name of the former contractor who had leaked classified information from the National Security Agency to the media. Although, Snowden's artistic appearance was short-lived. At daybreak, police said city parks officials ordered the sculpted Snowden removed. And by evening, his bust was being held at Brooklyn's 88th Precinct pending an investigation. The idea for the tribute was conceived by two New York City-based artists, joined by a West Coast sculptor.

Edward Snowden according to his followers is equal to those 11,000 American prisoners of war who died aboard British ships during the American Revolutionary War, which are remembered in the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument. He represents continuity: the plight of Americans who gave birth to their country and whose sacrifice slipped into anonymity. The artists who have mobilized for this action have declared: “We feel that Snowden's actions really continue that story. It is built upon a set of ideals to live freely, not be confined or posed to surveillance or monitored by your government. You can’t have freedom of expression to pursue liberty if you feel like you're doing it under a watchful eye. It’s not just about Snowden. It’s about the ideals that he was trying to work towards and push others to care about.”

Well, it does seem that this topic does need some serious and wide discussion. At least so that the American public can be informed of the truth, and can make informed decisions as to where they stand on this issue. Section 215 of the Patriot Act which has helped drive the so-called “snooping and surveillance” by NSA, expires June 1, 2015. Before or if it gets renewed again, there has to be a through review of the real benefits of the NSA’s surveillance activities, and maybe define some legitimate boundaries around what’s right, and what’s not. After all as John Oliver said, US may not give a shit about anything else, but public definitely cares about ability to freely and privately share their junk!

In the mean time, if you missed the episode of Snowden’s interview with John Oliver, enjoy it here