History and the textbooks

It has been said that if the word history is written with a capital «H» it carries more weight. In fact, according to one point of view, when spelled with a capital letter it signifies the historical process; an older, more romantic view held that it stood for an imaginary goddess who recognized and praised heroes, individual or collective ones. History can be used according to one’s ideology, a fact which is demonstrated in everything from the way it is spelled to its treatment of historical events, that is, whether it chooses to silence them, highlight or modify them according to the political or ideological expediency. The experts are aware of these fundamental and simple facts, but for months now we have been arguing over the Teachers’ College textbook «History for Sixth Grade – Contemporary and Modern,» by Maria Repousi, Hara Andreadou, Aristides Poutahidis and Armodios Tsivas. Disagreement over a school history textbook is not unprecedented in this country. Many of us over 60 will remember the violent conflict in 1964-65 over the second-year junior high textbook »Roman and Medieval History 146 BC – AD 1453.» Then, however, there was, or pretended to be, an ideological entrenchment with two opposing camps within the prevailing climate of political crisis divided between Right and Center-Right. Today’s dispute has displeased nearly all sectors of the ideological and political world. A tour of the blogs is enough to show how far. What we do not admit is that «History» has always been a political tool which is used to cut chapters just as the Crusaders cut off heads as they pleased. So it is important that some political responsibility is taken for the book in question. Is that enough, however?

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