Manipulation of History (Historical Revisionism)


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Course: Speech Communication (open topic)
May 2010

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Manipulation of History (Historical Revisionism)

  1. 1. M.Farzan Sheikh
  2. 2.  "And if all others accepted the lie which the Partyimposed—if all records told the same tale—then thelie passed into history and became truth.”- George Orwell, 1984.• History is supposed to be a truthful account of thepast, for the later generations to learn from.George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 3.
  3. 3.  Historical Research. Data Analysis: “Studying the organized material in orderto discover inherent facts.” External Criticism: “It is process of determining whetherthe claimed origin of historical documents (author, place)corresponds to it actual origin.” Internal Criticism: “Even if witnesses are competent andtruthful, they probably still will give different versions ofevents that took place. One only needs to read accounts ofan event in different newspapers to discover how widelywitness’s perception can vary.” (Joyce 2003)Data Analysis in Historical Research, S.Zubair Haider.
  4. 4.  Countless history books Yet new ones on same subject Historian finds it convenient to use sources which goalong with his personal prejudices. For example, due to the large number of sourcesavailable on the Nanking massacres, many modernChinese historians, tend to only select sources whichclaim that the massacres took place.
  5. 5.  India and Pakistan. Almost entire history in the two countries, is theopposite of the other. The hero of one, is the villain of the other. Both report different and contradicting information toits public. Claim victories in wars. Manipulate facts to direct public opinion.Books of S.M.Burke, T.N.Kaul
  6. 6.  History books, a source of contention between Chinaand Japan. "There is a tendency toward this in any country, but theChinese textbooks are extreme in the way they uniformlyconvey the our country is correct perspective," Japan apologised for its wartime past more than 20 timessince 1972, insist it is Beijings turn to apologise fordamage done to diplomatic missions. Katyn, between Germany and Russia.
  7. 7.  To create unified and distinctive nations and impart asense of common destiny to their members, nation-builders unearth means to exploit the ethnosymbolicresources at their disposal (e.g. customs, heroes, myths,state iconography). Annette Bohr, The Central Asian Statesas Nationalizing Regimes Five years after the collapse of USSR, independentUzbekistan celebrated the 660th birthday of Tamerlane. Uzbek History textbooks, newspaper articles, and speechesby the President of Uzbekistan have started depictingTamerlane as a wise leader, creator of a centralized state,and as an enlightened ruler and protector of the arts andsciences.
  8. 8.  According to Shirin Akiner, today many Uzbeks regard him[Tamerlane] as the spiritual founder of their nation. The change in attitude was drastic and radical: being oncecharacterized as a brutal nomad, Tamerlane is now praisedand idealized. In 1995 the Kyrgyz people celebrated the 1000th Anniversaryof the epic Manas and in 2003 the 2200th Anniv Reason being his consolidation of the dispersed Kyrgyztribes and their subsequent united opposition to foreignconquerors of Kyrgyz Statehood.
  9. 9.  Russia, May 2009, a presidential commissionestablished. “For counteracting attempts to falsify history to thedetriment of Russia’s interests.” Experts fear aim is to increase the authorities’ powerand control. Imposing its own “correct” interpretation of Russia’scomplex and tragic past, Kremlin is violating Articles 13 and 29 of theConstitution, which guarantee protection againstpolitical persecution.
  10. 10.  Nicholas Sarkozy takes the task of rewriting historyhimself. French newspaper: “To produce a new national dreamthat creates a fog of confusion over all analyses and allconvictions, and to deflect attention from his veritableprogram” Selecting heroes and their quotes from past, to arguehis viewpoint.
  11. 11.  State controlled media. Feeding lies. Closed societies. Repression, political, information. Communist countries. North Korea’s football match.“Who controls the past controls the future: who controlsthe present controls the past.“ –George Orwell.
  12. 12.  "The character of individual and collective consciousnessand the range of their behavioral possibilities are verysignificantly influenced by the quality of their recordingsand recollections of their historical experiences. Tomanipulate history is to manipulate consciousness; tomanipulate consciousness is to manipulate possibilities; tomanipulate possibilities is to manipulate power."-Dr. Amos Wilson;wap2