Sunday, June 27, 2010

History: Cum grano salis

Recently I found this article on the BBC and was quite intrigued because biased historical perspective is still apparently an interesting topic. This seems to be a topic that gets a great deal of publicity whenever a political group begins to gain momentum.

For example in reading the article the historical archetype for who does this is the Soviet Union, more specifically Joseph Stalin. It appears as a general rallying cry by whatever party is against historical perspective to compare that other party to the Soviet Union or Stalin specifically. This type of comparison is the precise issue I have a problem with. It almost seems that political parties refuse to accept that history is inherently based on perspective.

At this point I am sure many people will be up in arms and preparing scathing rebuttals but it is true. Let us examine any conflict throughout history. For the sake of ruffling as few feathers as possible consider Genghis Khan, or for those on the Asian continent, Chinggis Khaan. This person is highly revered in Mongolia and in many indirect ways by those in Europe. He started what would become the great trade route from China to Europe during his conquest. Who can argue this is a bad thing, besides the most staunch anti-globalisationists? Obviously I am looking at one aspect of him... aha! There is the precise issue. Perspective. There are those in India or modern day Persia (Iran) who argue that because of Genghis Khan we are hundreds of years behind in technology because of the destruction of knowledge brought on by his campaign. Many others will bring up the senseless torture and debauchery inflicted upon their respective peoples. One country's hero is another's dictator.

This argument is well known and nothing new. I guess my point is that complaining about what goes into history books is a constant battle and one that will never truly be done to everyone's liking. The fact that Texas and possibly other states are engaging in this enterprise is not too surprising, considering the recent upheaval of political perspectives in the United States. I submit to all that fighting for unbiased historical accuracy is a battle that no one will ever win, outside of their own political group anyways and we should take anyone's account of history, cum grano salis.

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