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The Thin Line between Facts and Fallacy
Take a fact, wrap it up with an assertion & claim that it is truth. Otherwise known as historiography.
We all swallow facts spun by the (world wide) web namely as well as the papers we read, the TV programmes we watch & the politicians we listen too.
Studying History at University has opened my eyes to this. My tutorial adviser recently sent an email round to critically analyse BBC2's The Crusaders. I was struggling to get through an episode as I witnessed 'facts' being spun to pander to a particular view. I could equally counter-argue each of his points which were delicately placed over lovely sounding classical-Medieval music. It's hard not to just believe everything he says when it's edited so well under a back-drop of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. I resisted the temptation to just sit and absorb everything he said and attempted to question it's validity with varying results.
Having got on the Underground the next day to begin my commute to University I read The Metro which is a free newspaper informing Londoners of daily events. It is also an adequate substitute for toilet paper for struggling students. Anyway, as I frisked through it's contents, I read about various leaders internationally using their version history for their own political ends.
What was surprising was almost everyone claimed "History" was theirs.
Page after Page, from Bashar Al Assad to Asif Ali Zardari to Newt Gingrich claiming Palestinians don't exist. Proven liars with a penchant for harming honesty.
Are these leaders not simply a reflection of society? What I noticed when I spoke to my peers is that everyone seemed to 'want something' from their fellow human being. Everyone wanted to either stamp their view as if it were embedded in them like a carnal desire to be right. A stubbornness so inherent that it makes me want to put these people in a room with a loudspeaker of a lone Jamaican voice repeating "Denial, it's not just a river in Egypt."
The question I ask myself is; Does objectivity exist in a world where almost every single human being has an agenda? Perhaps it depends on circumstance. Or perhaps 'objectivity' exists in the minds of people who believe in Santa Claus or that invading Iraq was a just cause or that no contract has a clause. Maybe if we pause, we can acknowledge that subjectivity is prevalent in everyone even when we assume we are being objective. People see history as irrelevant or as simply a bunch of facts and stories which have no meaning in today's world. But the fact is that the views of the past have shaped the future. Perhaps it's too cliché to induce the phrase 'History is written by the victors' however the statement holds true even today.
"His-Story" is indeed written by the victors. Then what of today's victors? Not just our leaders but our teachers and or people who claim to represent the oppressed. Are they truly representing us or are they blurring the lines between 'fact' and 'fallacy.' The answer is something I hope to find out as objectively as possible!
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