No-sided history

Iraq’s new history books eliminate Saddamite propaganda — and controversial subjects. That means the books skip huge chunks of Iraqi history, including the Iran-Iraq war, the 1991 Gulf War and “all references to Israelis, Americans, or Kurds.”

“Entire swaths of 20th-century history have been deleted,” says Bill Evers, a US Defense Department employee, and one of three American advisers to the Ministry of Education.

. . . While US advisers don’t want to be seen as heavy-handed in influencing the way Iraqis interpret history, neither do they want to be in the position of endorsing texts that could be anti-American, anti-Israeli, or radically religious.

As a result, some charge, in a matter of months Iraqi education has gone from one-sided to ‘no-sided.’

The story quotes a prospective history teacher as saying she’ll teach her students that Americans are terrorists. Just try it lady, and you’ll be thrown into prison, tortured and executed. Oh. You don’t believe the “terrorists” will do that? Well, OK. Maybe not. But maybe we won’t equip your school. Oh, OK. We’ll do that too.

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Comments

  1. Well the terrorists have apparently squelched a mini-series about Ronald Reagan. I can see them firing that history teacher as well. Actually it probably won’t happen because almost none of the Americans in Iraq would know that it’s happening courtesy of the overwhelming lack of knowledge about language and culture.

  2. “Entire swaths of 20th-century history have been deleted,” says Bill Evers, a US Defense Department employee, and one of three American advisers to the Ministry of Education.”

    Ministry of Education???? Are we entering 2004 or 1984??

    What is that Russian saying, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

  3. God (Allah) knows we did the only thing possible, and we will continue to do what’s right. (That really ticks off you liberals, doesn’t it?) Besides, everyone knows the victors get to write the history books……….
    I wonder if we should call ourselves God’s Warriors?????? (oops…already taken.) But I wonder if God would agree with the side now using it????

  4. In the U.S., we call it the Department of Education. In Iraq, they call it the Ministry of Education. And in England too, I believe, which is why Orwell used “ministry.”

    Most countries have much more central control over education than the U.S. What’s taught about the nation’s history is sensitive everywhere.

    Bill Evers is an old friend of mine, by the way. He’s a libertarian.

  5. Walter E. Wallis says:

    While out troops are at risk, we should jam Al Jazera, restrict assembly, and intern anyone who advocates violence toward our troops. Tell the people that violence only delays the day when they can take control of their own destiny.

  6. greeneyeshade says:

    whenever i hear that history is written by the victors, i want to bring up the historiography of our civil war (actually, that’s more the history of reconstruction than of the war itself) and spain’s _ remember tom lehrer, ‘they may have won all the battles/but we had all the great songs!’?

  7. Thank you so much, Greeneyeshade. Whenever I ehar that “history is just what the winners want you to think” and suchlike, I want to jump out the nearest window.

  8. Eric Jablow says:

    Joanne,
    Was your title a tribute to the Martin Gardner story, “No-Sided Professor”?

  9. No, I’m not familiar with the Gardner story.

  10. Mark Odell says:

    Bill Evers is an old friend of mine, by the way. He’s a libertarian.

    Joanne, I’m surprised DoD hasn’t gagged him by now for letting the cat out of the bag.

    Mr. Evers Goes to Baghdad

    Walter E. Wallis wrote: While out[sic] troops are at risk, we should jam Al Jazera, restrict assembly, and intern anyone who advocates violence toward our troops.

    Spoken like a true loyal subject of King George III, Mr. Wallis!

    You mean, like this? Where is all this “liberation” I keep hearing about?

    Tell the people that violence only delays the day when they can take control of their own destiny.

    “The people” know that; that’s why they’re offering resistance. Oh, wait; were you not referring to violence on the part of Viceroy Bremer’s occupying army of Imperial Stormtroopers?

    Did you mean to imply that “the people” get early parole for ‘good’ behavior, like other prisoners who submit meekly to the boss-man? If so, doesn’t that rather give away the entire thesis?

    Finally, why do you assume that “the day when they can take control of their own destiny” (as distinct from the purely-symbolic, oh-so-carefully-structured appearance, for propaganda purposes, of such a day) is not already delayed indefinitely, by design?

Trackbacks

  1. Education, Iraqi-style; terrorism, American-style

    Joanne Jacobs reports on the new history books being used in Iraqi schools. It’s a difficult issue, and one for…

  2. Education, Iraqi-style; terrorism, American-style

    Joanne Jacobs reports on the new history books being used in Iraqi schools. It’s a difficult issue, and one for…

  3. Solomonia says:

    Iraq’s new history

    Joanne Jacobs points to this article about the prickly subject of Iraq’s new history books. “Entire swaths of 20th-century history have been deleted,” says Bill Evers, a US Defense Department employee, and one of three American advisers to the Ministry…