Thursday, December 12, 2019

Sighet Memorial

The Sighet Memorial came to mind because of a post over at Maggie's.  The front page includes the following
“The greatest victory of communism, a victory dramatically revealed only after 1989, was to create people without a memory – a brainwashed new man unable to remember what he was, what he had, or what he did before communism.

The creation of the Memorial to the Victims of Communism and to the Resistance is a means of counteracting this victory, a means to resuscitate the collective memory. Made up of the Sighet Museum and the International Centre for Studies into Communism, based in Bucharest, as well as being the organiser of the Summer School the Memorial is an institution of Memory, unique in that it is simultaneously an institute of research, museography and education. To the question, “Can memory be relearned?” the answer of the Memorial to the Victims of Communism and to the Resistance in Romania is a resounding “Yes”.”(Ana Blandiana)
It puts me in mind of the rewriting of American history today.  The effort to correct false beliefs we once wished were true is legitimate, even laudable.  I think the straw man that Americans used to believe their country is perfect is merely an excuse to install a new mythology.  I not only do not recall any teacher ever teaching that American had never done any wrong, even among those who insisted that America is the greatest nation ever, I distinctly recall even elementary school teachers citing examples of our imperfection and mistakes.

But even if overcorrection was the original problem, we now have a worse one on our hands.  The goal is not a new understanding, but erasure.  The 1619 Project is not the installation of a a new interpretation of the facts.  It is an erasure of most of the facts in order to spin a scarf from the few remaining threads and say that all history is only scarves anyway.


james said...

A huge chunk of it is envy. There were some great men and women in the past. Most of us will never achieve the sorts of things they did. If the past great ones can be properly shod with clay feet and relegated to insignificance, the present and its fashionable people will shine brighter by comparison.

Unknown said...

Calling Mr.Smith...
Mr.Winston Smith