Freedom Sculpture

The Freedom Sculpture, located in Los Angeles, is a stainless steel gold and silver monument dedicated to human rights.

The sculpture, created by artist Cecil Balmond in 2017 is billed as “a crowd-supported and funded public monument to freedom, cultural diversity and inclusiveness”. 

The Freedom Sculpture commemorates the Cyrus Cylinder, arguably the world’s first ever declaration of human rights. The cylinder, made of clay, comes from Babylon (modern day Iran) and was commissioned in 539 BCE by King Cyrus The Great.

Cyrus who ruled Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) conquered Babylon in what is known as the Persian Conquest. After a few lines of text praising the king, the cylinder declares that he wants to bring peace and order to the Babylonians, improve their lives, repatriated displaced people, and restore damaged temples.

Neil MacGregor, former Director of the British Museum, has stated that the cylinder was:

“The first attempt we know about running a society, a state with different nationalities and faiths – a new kind of statecraft… [It] is a very early formulation of human rights. Not individual rights because the Cyrus Cylinder isn’t about individuals, but about the rights of communities which was something that of course was very fundamental to the early phases, particularly the United Nations on how nations and communities be protected.”

Neil MacGregor

And where do you think Cyrus Cylinder is currently housed? Iran or Iraq. It’s neither. The cylinder is in the British Museum, who sponsored the expedition to find it in 1879! Another priceless foreign artifact that the UK should return to its rightful home.

Cyrus Cylinder

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