When the city was in deep sleep, a few unidentified artists and helpers have installed a statue of NSA whistle-blower and former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden in a Brooklyn park on Monday morning.
A few hours later, the statue was spotted. The city’s Parks and Recreation Department then wrapped the Edward Snowden statue in plastic and got it removed. Media and locals gathered to watch the removal of the statue.
Two artists behind its creation spoke to Fairfax Media with a promise that their names would be withheld. According to them, they are proud of Snowden’s ideology, and they salute his outspoken and revolting attitude against what is wrong.
“We were both dismayed that Snowden and the ideals that his actions represent haven’t gotten more traction in mainstream media,” said one of the artists.
“It’s not just Snowden, it’s Bradley [now Chelsea] Manning and every other whistleblower whose fighting for the ideals this nation was founded upon. Snowden is an easy representation to use, so we used his visual.”
“This is one of the few times he’s been cast as a hero and his actions cast as heroic.”
In 2013, Snowden became an international figure when he leaked classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) to the mainstream media.
Following his deeds, Snowden has been tagged with various adjectives: a hero, a whistle-blower, a dissident, while politicians called him “a patriot” or “a traitor.” His disclosure raised serious concerns over government secrecy and the balance between national security and information privacy.
Snowden is currently living in exile in an asylum in Moscow.
Measuring 4-feet tall, the statue costs around $30,000, as estimated by the artists. The installation of the statue is regarded as an homage to their hero.
“The people who fought for the creation of this country during the revolutionary war, they’re marching in the same direction in our minds as Snowden, and other people like Snowden who continue to whistleblow or try to alert people to the secretive nature of a government that is treating a people as guilty before innocent,” said the artist.
The Parks Department said in a statement, “the erection of any unapproved structure or artwork in a city park is illegal.”