Rewriting the Past


“He who controls the present, controls the past.
He who controls the past, controls the future.”
—  George Orwell

I read something the other day which made me pensive and sad for the rest of the day. It was a link via BoingBoing to James Fallow’s Lost memory of Tiananmen.

“I have spent a lot of time over the past three years with Chinese university students. They know a lot about the world, and about American history, and about certain periods in their own country’s past. Virtually everyone can recite chapter and verse of the Japanese cruelties in China from the 1930s onward, or the 100 Years of Humiliation, or the long background of Chinese engagement with Tibet. Through their own family’s experiences, many have heard of the trauma of the Cultural Revolution years and the starvation and hardship of the Great Leap Forward. But you can’t assume they will ever have heard of what happened in Tiananmen Square twenty years ago. For a minority of people in China, the upcoming date of June 4 has tremendous significance. For most young people, it’s just another day.”

No one, no government, should have the ability to rewrite history.  And yet it happens.

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