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writing for godot


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Saturday, 13 July 2019 21:34


-I always fall back on one of those uncounted lives that history has buried without drums, without trumpets under the foundations of successes that have deserved monuments. (Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim)


1. Often as a result of internal disputes among the winners of past historic conflicts, the practice of democracy in history is rightly seen, by vast sectors of the population, as a game of the elites. (Boaventura de Sousa Santos) It has always been wars and their victors, with their successes and mistakes, that have determined borders and hegemonies and thus, the international (democratic or undemocratic) order. Zones of influence were changed, countries divided. Each war has been worse than the previous one in terms of the loss of human lives --loss of those that had nothing to win from the same wars. (Fernando Ayala)


2. Historically speaking, we must understand that wars are power mongerers’ disputes to death and have nothing to do with and are of no advantage for human rights (HR). (Marcelo Colusi)


Has conventional history been deliberately/maliciously inaccurate?


3. Perhaps I would not go so far (am I contradicting myself here?). But imbued in the prevailing ideology, the conventional historians that wrote/write history as we get to read it today, have indeed led to us reading totally inaccurate narratives. After all, conventional history does have the trajectory that somebody has set for it --a trajectory that is not random. Ask yourself: Has the engine for change in history not been greed and fear? (Roberto Savio) If so, the question is: Has this been properly reflected by conventional historians?


4. We know conventional historians have too often excluded chronicling ‘the shames of imperialist domination’, ‘the black wars’, genocide, repression, famines, holocausts, ‘crimes of folly’. (Robert Skidelsky)


5. There is actually a whole collection of sciences that have for objective to drive, control and set past scenarios in an attempt to have the masses understand the past and now act according to what is planned --which is what the powers that be on duty want. (Marcelo Colusi)


6. The forces that defend conventional history will eventually be defeated, if nothing, because history has left behind a trail of destruction, of death and of injustices. Forever, the haves have had the strategic objective of creating the conditions for their history to be accepted and this, still today, threatens to perpetuate a classist version of history. (Sergio Rodriguez G.)


History has actually negotiated its terms and thus handsomely collects its dues (Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things)


7. Our minds have been invaded; the history we study has made us adore our conquerors and despise those that have been forgotten by their conquests; our minds have been doctored; the lives of those never being important enough …a truly distorted sense of historical perspective.


8. We all grow up grappling with what happens to us and around us, but worse things have happened and things keep happening --and we are caught off guard, with part of our history sloughed off like an old snakeskin, i.e., its marks, its scars, its wounds from old wars and the-having-to-walk-backwards by the dispossessed… All fell away from our textbooks. We need to square the books.


9. The ‘tragichood’ of the ‘victimhood’ in conventional history has gotten away with putting a face-on and hiding fury at what happened without allowing the victims to seek redress. But anger was most often not available to them then and there was no face to put against malicious/slanderous chronicles of the past.


10. It is clear that in those to chronicles needed was to recount the process of war more than the outcome of victory. Victory left/leaves the oppressed no better off than when those wars started --ergo, an obstacle race provided by cannon fodder without a prize at the end.


11. One day, conventional history’s twisted chickens will come to roost leaving no yawning gaping holes …historical holes. Human history too often has been masquerading as God’s Purpose, first revealing itself to us in our school years. (adapted from A. Roy, The God of Small Things)


Relying on an accurate historical memory is perhaps our weakest hope of all (Jeffrey Sachs)


12. Maybe but, on the other hand, reinterpreting the course of history* implies radical transformations that start with re-dimensioning the magnitude of the enterprise we face. It is a phenomenal challenge. So, is it possible, then, to seriously embark in such an endeavor? The basic idea is that, yes, it is possible; if not, we would not even be considering it. The passion that drives us is that a better history is needed and possible. What it is about now is how to set the process in motion (or continue it) so that it can germinate. Anyway, ‘difficulty’, in any historical moment does not mean impossibility. (Marcelo Colusi)

*: From a Marxist perspective, the events of history emerge mainly from economic forces and class conflicts.


13. It may well be that weapons, money and brute force write history, but it is those who work and struggle for human rights, for democracy and for peace, for truth and for the respect for our fellow wo/men who are the ones that really ought to reshape history. (Arturo Munoz)


Claudio Schuftan, Ho Chi Minh City

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-Myths do not make history and they do not bring about or stand for any human right. Before we engage in fighting a myth, we need to establish what any given myth is: You will then know the truth and, be prepared, it may make you sick. (Yossi Gurwvitz) your social media marketing partner
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