Friday, 23 December 2011

History is too important to be left to the Political Class

In a naked attempt to appeal to Metropolitan France's million voters of Armenian descent, Sarkozy is introducing a law making it illegal to deny the Armenian 'genocide'. As a result, Turkey is enraged and history is distorted. One man's genocide is another man's pogrom or massacre or internecion. It's as if Ed Balls proposed making it a crime in the UK to deny that the potato famine was a deliberate attempt at destroying the Irish. And if that, then why not the Indian famine of 1897 - 1900, when millions died as we did nothing? Of course man alone is rarely solely responsible for the scale of the greatest depridations. El Nino caused the conditions for the Indian famine, an oomycete blighted Ireland's potatoes, and Typhus, Cholera and Diptheria always claimed more victims of displacement than murder and rapine. But scholarship, balance and academic honesty have little place in the minds of politicians, crude creatures of deception and trickery that they are.


Of course our own cadre of school leavers and graduates will be unable to take part in this debate, history teaching in England for the last decade or so having been restricted to the Romans, Slavery and the Third Reich. If It's not Hitler, Hannibal or the Hottentots they won't have heard of it. But as the current spat between  France and Turkey shows, it's desperately important to understand your history. Our children should be given the opportunity to understand ours.  

12 comments:

Weekend Yachtsman said...

When they teach them about slavery, do they mention Wilberforce?

No, thought not.

Happy Christmas Mr. R., keep up the good work!

outsider said...

You are right. School history is Maoist, seemingly designed to eliminate cultural connection with the English past and further the political agenda of the present. Most children would be far better educated if they were simply shown the fine television series by people like Michael Wood and Simon Schama. Having seen one frustrated goddaughter learn only about Mosley, the suffragettes and the Amritsar massacre, I sent the other a set of Schama's histories as a backstop.
One of the great comforts of history is that, via the Romans and the Old Testament, we can identify ourselves as relatively recent immigrants to a cultural stream going back in an unbroken line to one of the first cilvilisations on earth, a sense of identity denied to immigrants to Britain of the past 35 years.
Not so sure about your point about genocide. A quick search suggests that the man who coined the term in 1945 counted the fate of the Armenians as the first example in his lifetime of genocide. Whatever the words used, it was one of the great crimes of history and needs to be recognised before Turkey can truly learn the lesson for today and tomorrow of how any civilised country worth that adjective, towards its indigenous minorities, whether of religion or race. Think Kurds, Copts or Bahai, think Alawites perhaps in a few months time.

Greg Tingey said...

Indeed, it comes full circle, because (Godwin warning) Adolf himself asked: "Who now remembers the Armenenians?" - and took it as a lesson to be followed.

Demetrius said...

In both the Irish Famine and in India later the catastrophe went far beyond the capability of the machinery of government to cope with it. Also there was not the infrastructure to import and distribute food on the scale required or the local controls to ensure that what should be done was done. In the UK at present our food supply is critically dependent on trucking and computer systems both vulnerable to failure in crisis conditions.

Tarka the Rotter said...

There is, I would argue, a world of difference between a natural disaster that the authorities of the day found overwhelming, lacking the infrastructure to alleviate distress, and the cold blooded decision of a government, any government, to liquidate an entire people. This is a good article Raedwald and I heartily agree with everthing you have said. We have a wonderfully rich history, with high points and low points, things to celebrate and things to be ashamed of, inspirational people from all walks of life as our fair share of villains, idiots and prats. It is who we are. Politicians should NEVER be allowed to decide what history is taught and what slant should be put on it. Our children, whether majorit indiginous or recent arrivals, deserve to know the history of these islands: that it is not taught properly is to our eternal shame.

Tarka the Rotter said...

PS am having a lot of trouble with my 'y' key which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't, so please bear with me.

anon anon said...

Very much agree with your discussion of history, education and, especially, Britain.

Under such trying circumstances, we also have to protect the information and the heritage. Watch out for those libraries who are throwing away and burning the records ... they're the neu Vikings (/Normans) and dissolutionists. Always before, we've had those who guarded and rescued the manuscripts, and we need to do it again.

That way, even if none of us are alive to tell the tale in due time, at least the writing will remain. Oh... and not trusted to anything so ephemeral as cyberspace and its devices, of course.

Anonymous said...

If you depart from "what we do is right and what others says doesn't matter"
--you are signalling you re becoming a nonentity power.

Anonymous said...

Is history not written by the victors?

Greg Tingey said...

NO
History is written by the survivors

Weekend Yachtsman said...

The French, of course, are stirring this particular pot because they wish, at all costs, to prevent the accession of Turkey to the EU.

As Turkey itself veers more and more in the Islamist direction - the legacy of Ataturk is in peril, if not already lost - we should ask ourselves whether in fact the French have a point?

Do we really want another 200 million possibly radicalised Muslims with an inalienable right to settle in Western Europe?

Anonymous said...

It would give the feminists something to thinnk about.