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What is History?

By: Alfredo Ramirez

Date Posted: 2000-08-25

In your August 3 issue you published a letter by Guillermo Guillen on the subject of TV “commercials” about the Pearl Harbor bombings. Is not this quite a strange use of language? Commercials advertise products for sale. Surely it is improper to use this term about film footage showing death and destruction.

On his point about history. What is “history”? Every country has its own version. The same event can be described in totally different ways, according to who is writing the story. And it usually is a story. A selective use of facts can put any type of “spin” you like on any historical event.

An example is the “One Minute of American History” on the AFN channel he seems to think is so good. One report described the destruction of the Spanish fleet by U.S. ships before the Philippines was colonized. It emphasized the superior tactics, stealth and courage of the north American side. These may have been true or maybe not. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. What I do know is the Spanish ships were wood and the north Americans’ were metal. This was not mentioned in the report.

This is distorted history and Guillen should realize when he passes it on to his children it is only one version of the truth, not the whole truth. It is fed to him for political reasons. I believe the best way to look at historical events (and particularly battles) is to look at accounts from both sides of a conflict, then reach your own conclusion. AFN will not supply this. So it is best to subscribe to other channels, in my opinion.

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