Saturday, December 15, 2007

History often makes us feel good - but is it truthful?

The purpose of history as taught in schools, shown in movies and mentioned in the press is ofter to reassure us that we have a proud heritage, are on the side of truth and justice as well as to reinforce civic lessons. In order to succeed at this, liberties with the truth are often taken. One way to see this is to read history as in the text books of two neighboring countries, such as Canada and the United States, or Germany and France. While it serves an apparently noble purpose, it can also separate neighbors who have more in common than the history books show, and often fails to let us really understand the real differences which do exist. This has created many conflicts, in Africa, South Asia, Eastern Europe and even Western Europe.

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