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Inside Notes: Changing History

Georgia Director, Curtis Parrott
Georgia Director, Curtis Parrott

Why do people think they can change the truth of history? This has been happening as long as recorded time. History is what defines us as being human. People can do some pretty barbaric stuff to each other and history is the best teacher of the good and evil in the world.

Part of America is now waging a war on our history. They’re taking down statues, removing plaques, erasing the memory of the past.

No, it’s impossible to change history, but some people are convinced you can make the present nicer by eradicating reminders of our nasty and dark past.

We cannot allow one group to appoint themselves the archivists of acceptable history and use social pressure to destroy popular culture, history belongs to everyone.

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” George Orwell, 1984

Erasing history isn’t new. It crosses all lines of religion, politics, race, culture and so on. Just a few cases in point, but remember this happens all over the world.

*Many rulers of ancient Egypt systematically removed images from monuments, reliefs, statues, cartouches and the official list of Egyptian rulers, perhaps in an effort to underline their own legitimacy.

Egypt wasn’t alone in this. The destruction of images by government decree in the Roman world is called “damnatio memoriae.” Such a decree meant that the name of the damned was scratched from inscriptions. Romans saw it as a punishment worse than execution, the fate of being forgotten.

*The practice of banning images flourished under Christianity as well. The Byzantine Church was known to remove what they decreed as heretics from patriarchal diptychs. Unpopular popes in the Roman Catholic Church were removed from the records by their successors as well as other sects of Christianity.

Throughout time, our history has been rewritten by the rich and powerful from the sidelines. To the victor goes the spoils is the old adage. It’s a fall in line or you will be crushed scenario.

Just as in ancient times, your seeing history being bent and changed now. Erasing the crimes of the past doesn’t help us avoid them in the future. When we erase history, we don’t simply shield ourselves from a frustrating and offensive past. We make everyone more ignorant and shield them from the questions we should be asking to make sure we do not repeat the worst chapters of our history. The purpose of history is not to make us feel good but to help us learn from the mistakes of the past.

For the most part people are panicky animals that live in constant fear. Fear of change, fear of making mistakes, fear of the unknown or fear of death. And as our old buddy Master Yoda said it best, ‘Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering”. Break out of that box and choose your path wisely.

As history teaches us, this all leads to one thing in the end, Revolution!

Keep the Faith!