Wilhuff Tarkin statue: heritage or hate?

tarkin bronze

Tuesday June 20, 2017

Nestled deep in the rural South, the small fishing village of Dumblebumb, Alabama is home to one of the most unique cultural enclaves in America. A long time ago refugees from a horrific civil war in a galaxy far, far away were rounded up and held in Dumblebumb at an internment camp. The camp whose official name was Imperial Outpost TK-421 soon became known as Camp Alderaan. The name derives from the planet Alderaan, homeworld of the refugees which was destroyed in the war by the First Galactic Empire.

When the war abruptly ended the soldiers who ran Camp Alderaan and the refugees found themselves abandoned on a foreign planet. The soldiers eventually set the refugees free, yet without a home planet to return to most decided to remain in Dumblebumb. The soldiers, having no army to return to, decided to stay as well.

Tensions between the two groups have mellowed through the generations but old animosities still remain. Nowhere is this more evident than the controversy over the statue of Wilhuff Tarkin that resides in the town square. Tarkin, who personally ordered the destruction of the planet Alderaan, was considered one of the heroes of the Imperial Army, achieving the coveted rank of Grand Moff before dying in the Battle of Yavin. The soldiers at Camp Alderaan revered Grand Moff Tarkin as do many of their descendants.

The descendants of the refugees, however, see him as a murderer responsible for the genocide of their ancestors. Last month the Daughters of Alderaan (DOA) coordinated a demonstration in front of the courthouse to demand the statue be replaced with a memorial for those who perished in the destruction of the planet Alderaan.

“That statue is a daily reminder of the oppression of my people and the total destruction of my home planet,” explained Brenda Organa, founder of the Daughters of Alderaan. “It sickens me that in this day and age we’re still celebrating the legacy of a genocidal maniac.”

Retired Colonel Shelton Little disagrees. He says, “The destruction of Alderaan was a tragedy. No one is trying to argue otherwise. But the Grand Moff Tarkin monument isn’t about celebrating the destruction of Alderaan, it’s about honoring our Imperial heroes who died on the Death Star. Grand Moff Tarkin is part of history. He’s a part of my heritage.”

Little represents an organization called Sons of Imperial Veterans, which states its mission is to “honor those who served in the War for Galactic Stability.” The group organized a counter-protest to defend the statue from people Little says are, “abysmally illiterate when it comes to history and fixated on their own agenda.”

When asked for comment on Little’s position, Organa replied, “There is literally a plaque under the statue that calls Tarkin the Heroic Destroyer of the Filthy Rebel Planet Alderaan. How is that not celebrating the legacy of genocide?”

The town council is expected to meet at the end of the month to debate the issue. Until then residents of Dumblebumb will have to agree to disagree.