Archive for April 9th, 2008

Which History are We Recalling?

Sharon April 9th, 2008

It isn’t a perfect piece, but it is a nice expose of parts of our history that most of us would rather not recall.  The reality is that even the best parts of our history are always a struggle with the power of the worst parts.  And truth, to the extent that is possible to achieve, lies in knowing all – especially the parts we’d like to forget.

 #2008/04/america-back-to-what.html

“The principle myth for explaining U.S. support of fascism was fear of the Soviet Union and the spread of “repressive” communism. In fact, the only criterion the U.S. has ever had for supporting or rejecting any regime or policy is whether it would welcome, if not foster capitalist profit needs.”

 And

“At the time of the Spanish Civil War, the U.S. military was segregated and only whites were promoted to higher ranks. When the European fascists began legalizing their own brand of oppressive racism, they used the U.S. model to fashion their laws. Only the human target changed. The laboratory of horror of the demented Nazi doctor Josef Mengele had its precedent in the horrors perpetrated on young African American slave women by Dr. J. Marion Sims. In Harriet Washington’s book Medical Apartheid, she wrote that Sims performed vaginal operations without anesthetic on these women. Sims was attempting to perfect a procedure to correct a gynecological problem, but only rich white women enjoyed the benefits.”

And

“We are constantly being told by the “polite left” that it’s all W’s fault, that we need our country back. “Back to what?” is a reasonable response. Five hundred thousand dead children in Iraq during the Clinton administration? Countless U.S. veterans after the Vietnam war suffering from war related illnesses and not getting treatment, or the blitzkrieg in Guernica rather than shock and awe in Baghdad?’ Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Tulsa? Make your own list.”
 

This, of course, *is* the big question – back (or forward) to what?  It can’t be just an evocation of an idealized past that never existed – but we simultaneously must reconnect to the parts of our past that do have value and are worth preserving and treasuring – because otherwise we are anchorless. 

Shalom,

Sharon