What Really Happened?
If I was bad, my father would threaten me with “the belt.”
I still remember that belt. I think. don’t remember him ever carrying out his threat. Maybe it never happened and it’s just something I was told by my brother and eventually entered my memory banks until I believed it happened.
Whether it really happened is irrelevant. It only matters that I believe it happened. In fact, my life is made up of a million things that I think happened or maybe I just repeated things enough to convince me of the reality. All I can be certain of is what I see. Well, maybe that’s not exactly so. Reality and history are in the eye of the beholder.
It’s just like history. Make up enough stories, put them in books and call it history. Or make up parts of stories, mix with a few facts and you’ve also got history. Quote eyewitnesses, refer to other books, do the research and there’s history. Propaganda with any other name smells just as phony.
Eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable for accurately repeating what they saw. And research depends on the point of view of the researcher. The victors write the history books.
So would you really trust what you’ve learned about the details of the massacre at the Little Bighorn and the alleged bravery of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer. Just saying the words evokes a mythical period when heroes like Custer were helping the young nation in its growth westward.
It was called “manifest destiny.” Can you spell “native American genocide.” The great Custer lost his entire regiment of 565 soldiers, while they killed 31 warriors, six women, and four children during the June 25, 1876 battle.
If Crazy Horse had written the history book he would have had a very different spin on what happened.
Crazy Horse certainly would have mentioned that the Black Hills of South Dakota were recognized as property and sacred ground of the Sioux Nation. The Grant administration tried to buy the hills but the Sioux refused and the U.S. did what it did in the past; federal troops were called to seize the land, leading to Custer’s bloody last stand.
There was an allied bombing of the city of Dresden in Germany during World War II. Kurt Vonnegut wrote about it in “Slaughterhouse Five” but I bet most school children today know as much about Dresden as they do about My Lai. Namely, nothing.
The bombing of Dresden was not one of America’s shining moments. The bombing and resulting firestorm destroyed more than 1,600 acres of the city and killed from 22,700 to 25,000 people. That’s almost as many as the Nazis’ “London Blitz” which killed more than 40,000 British civilians.
The survivors of Dresden would have noted that they watched as their historic city was consumed by a huge cloud of fire, not unlike the destruction left by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They would have cried about the babies whose lives were destroyed in an instant when they were burned to ashes.
The My Lai massacre was one of the most shameful acts of the Vietnam War. U.S. troops killed as many as 504 unarmed Vietnamese in the hamlet of My Lai. I will bet 99 out of 100 kids know nothing about My Lai.
If history was written by the surviving villagers, they would have reported on the mothers trying to flee with their babies only to be shot down in cold blood and left to die while the Americans burned their homes to the ground. Another example of piece of history that is better left buried, along with all the dead Vietnamese.
And how many people still cling to the belief that the U.S. war in Vietnam was honorable in order to stop the dominoes from falling all the way to California?
And the U.S. invaded Iraq because of solid proof that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction.” Nobody ever did find the “weapons of mass destruction” but the history books will no doubt report on the government’s honorable intentions to rid the world of a dictator.
The hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have been killed and maimed would differ with that world view. They just might say they would be better off with both legs and that at least Saddam was the devil they knew. Can anyone say international pawns?
Obviously, this is nothing new. The beat goes on and leaders will try to twist history to coincide with their views. It’s been happening since Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel. The people who wrote the Bible certainly wanted it to reflect their agenda.
Can you count the number of COVID-19 deaths? Just ask the liar in chief. If his version goes down in history, future generations will consider the pandemic nothing more than a few people getting colds.
And hundreds of Muslims danced in joy on the rooftop of Jersey City high rise when they saw the Twin Towers topple. And the North wanted to end slavery out of humanitarian concerns. And Columbus, the great navigator and explorer discovered America even though he was hoping to get to India.
Sorry for the disillusionment but I’m only trying to get some truth.