The hole in Iraq’s history books

Where Saddam Hussein’s regime starts, Iraq’s new history textbooks end, reports the Washington Post. Iraqi educators didn’t know how to deal with the Baathist regime, so they eliminated it from post-Saddam books and haven’t yet written new books. That leaves room for variations in what’s taught.

In the semiautonomous Kurdish region in the north, where Hussein’s army carried out a brutal campaign of killings and forced relocations in 1988, teachers lecture freely on the atrocities committed against their relatives.

But in Tikrit, the hub of the area north of Baghdad where Hussein was born, history teachers take a starkly different approach. “We clarify for them that some of the information they get is incorrect and not precise,” said Khaldoon Yunis, who teaches history at a local boys’ school. “We tell them the reality of how the Persians are the enemy and hate the Arabs. And of how Saddam is a historical leader for the entire Arab nation.”

It’s like teaching the Civil War (or War Between the States) in 1868.

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  1. Subordinating the public education system to the furtherance of political goals? Say it ain’t so!