Photography, remembering what is the truth

With certain ‘nationalistic’ (my ass) parties trying to rewrite our history textbooks, and with leaders of powerful countries going back on their lies and glossing them over, and with people actively suppressing facts, perhaps we should start worrying about how our future will see us, and about how much they will not know.

History has a way of getting mangled by people with agendas, and the only real truth-tellers are nowhere near as capable of holding a crowd (not through charisma, demagoguery) as those who conceal lies in impassioned appeals to ‘justice’. Perhaps it is time we began to ensure that none of the major news that holds us today is ever hidden to those in the future, we must make the job of the future historian easy.

How easy it is to forget a great crime as it grows older unless we’re constantly reminded of it, and shown up to have not done anything through cowardice or disinterest. That is one offence, but to hide it is another, and to hide the sheer existence of the crime is to be an accomplice to it. And that is what we risk being. Will our descendants remember how the brave Chief Minister of Gujarat protected the state from being run over by militant forces? Or will they remember the truth? Time (and flawed memory) has a bad habit of making heroes of the worst men, and ignoring those good ones who worked silently. P.W. Botha died with a state funeral “for the steps he took to pave the way towards the eventual peacefully negotiated settlement”. Funny.

So what brought this on was actually just a series of photographs, some very interesting, by James Nachtwey. Go have a look.

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