Statues of Unity and Zidane destined for different fates




Statue #1: Zidane sent off in Qatar

Qatar has removed the Zinedine Zidane headbutt statue less than a month after it went on display following an outcry by conservatives, who slammed the art work as anti-Islam idolisation.

The 5m-high sculpture which immortalises the headbutt delivered by the French football legend to Italian player Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final was put on display on Doha’s corniche on Oct 3.

But the statue that was sculpted by Algerian-born French artist Adel Abdessemed appears to have offended conservatives in the Muslim emirate, who saw it as a flagrant violation of religious tenets. It was removed on Monday.

Islamic jurisprudence prohibits statues of human beings and animals to avoid the possibility of idolisation.

Although some Muslim countries display statues in public, conservative Gulf nations mostly do not.

The Qatar Museum Authority (QMA) bought the “Coup de Tête” sculpture after it was put on display earlier outside the Pompidou Centre in Paris. It was also displayed between July and September in Italy’s coastal town of Pietrasanta.

QMA said at the time that the sculpture was planned to be a permanent fixture on the corniche.

Doha News said the statue will join Abdessemed’s collection in the Arab Museum of Modern Art.

Statue #2: Appeal for scrap to build monstrosity

By Rajesh Joshi Ahmedabad

Indian farmers were urged yesterday to hand over scraps of metal and tools for the world’s tallest statue, as construction began on what promoters hope will be a wonder of the world.

The tribute to Sardar Patel, the first home minister of independent India, is set to be twice the size of the Statue of Liberty and four times higher than Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.

The metal structure, a pet project of opposition leader Narendra Modi in his home state of Gujarat, will rise 182 metres (600 feet) from an island in the Narmada river when completed in four years time.

Modi laid the foundation stone yesterday and urged farmers to donate tools which will be melted down and used in the memorial to a politician nicknamed the “Iron Man of India”.

“People come to see the Taj Mahal, flock to America for the Statue of Liberty and France for the Eiffel Tower. Now people from all over the world will come here to see this wonder,” Modi said.

A metal collection effort covering nearly 700,000 villages across the country began yesterday and will last until Jan 26 next year, state officials said.

The total cost of the statue is estimated at 25bn rupees (€298m) and will be funded with public funds and private donations.

When finished, it will tower by 54 metres over the 128-metre Spring Temple Buddha in China’s Henan Province, which is currently the world’s tallest statue.

Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, suggested earlier this week that Patel, who is from Gujarat, would have made a better leader than India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.


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