Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday's Op-Ed: The Importance Of History

When people don't know the truth, they aren't prepared. It is easy to be blind-sided and manipulated when you are ignorant of the facts of a situation.

It is no coincidence that masses of people are constantly keep in the dark when it comes to their history. Without historical knowledge, people are rendered powerless to create long-term change in a pointed and purposeful way.

If we examine the modus operandi of colonists, one of the first things that they do after implementing colonial rule is to forge the history of the people they have conquered. For example, history has painted Native Americans as "weak" and "gullible" for not defending their land. However, what history has failed to proclaim is that the spiritual beliefs and good-natured ethos of the Native Americans made them adverse to participating in any type of war. The Pilgrims' belief system allowed them to violently ravage a peaceful and generous people- despite those very people welcoming them, and helping them to survive in a new land. Therefore, one must ask oneself, why Native Americans are the ones branded with the label of "savage" in the annals of history. A forged history clearly plays on perception, and can make killers seem like heroes, and victims look like imbecilic non-entities.

In these times when everyone is talking about "change," the importance of having a strong historical perspective is further highlighted. Change, in a beneficial direction, can not be directed and navigated without a real knowledge of history. Novelist, John O. Killens, stated that: "A people must face its history squarely, in order to transcend it." This is true; for we can only recognize the pattern of history repeating itself, if we know what to look for. If we can honestly analyze and recognize the direction that we are going in, we can determine what the repercussions of our movements will be based on our knowledge of what those repercussions and cycles have been in the past. This gives us the priceless benefit of learning from the actions of others.

We must seek to know the truth of our history. We should not do so in order to dwell on the past, or be distracted by it. We should do so in order to honor our history, and evoke change that will do justice for ourselves and our ancestors.

[SIDEBAR: This is the first installment of a new blog feature- my weekly opinion-editorial piece, that will appear on Sundays.]

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