You might have noticed that we don’t focus much on history here. First of all, I believe that the whole notion of history is a bit much for children who don’t even fully understand how long one year is. But there is also another reason. Imagine that one fine day you wake up and find out that your history changed. George Washington was a cruel and deluded man, Abraham Lincoln only cared of destroying South, and American pioneers went west just so they could kill off Native Americans and get rich (well, maybe the last one is not so much of a stretch).
That’s what happened to me when I was in the last year of school and Gorbachev came to power. Suddenly at the age of 17 I found out that a lot of things that we were taught as one and only truth were actually invented by the victors of the era. My father had the same experience at his 17 where Stalin’s personality cult was toppled. My grandparents, however, lived through all this “invented history”, and their friends and family were dying for this lie that was their only sacred truth.
I never liked studying history. Don’t get me wrong – I like history books, I like reading about great explorers, scientific discoveries and even about dark times like wars and inquisition. But I don’t like “interpreted history” – modern texts explaining why things happened the way they happened. We don’t know “why” – we can only offer our best guess that is colored by our current reality. To me history is very close to religious texts. The experiences of the past give us guidance for the future, but they are not precise. They can also lead us astray in a major way if we continue to fight the battles of our ancestors instead of finding the road to peace for the future generations.