Gongol.com Archives: June 2024

Brian Gongol

June 5, 2024

News History isn't just for the victors

The aphorism goes, "History is written by the victors". That's adjacent to the truth, but it's not quite right. History is, in fact, written by those who endure. ■ In the case of D-Day, history really has been written by the victors -- and for good cause. 80 years ago on June 6th, the Allies ignited the beginning of the end for the Axis powers. Once rightly vanquished, the Nazis had nothing to contribute to the writing of that history. But modern Germany takes a part in continuing to write and acknowledge the history of that day. ■ There are plenty of other historical victors, though, from whom we hear little or nothing. Genghis Khan exists mainly in hazy myth today, and his Mongol Empire left behind little of its own impression on the literary history of the world. ■ In times closer to our own, the Communist Party won the struggle for control of China. But what happened 35 years ago, at Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, can't be expunged from history. The protests were real, the Tank Man was real, and the instinct to believe that individual human beings matter and that their liberties are inherent isn't erasable. ■ Even if the regime (the side of the apparent victors) seeks to purge its own history even from AI chatbots, the attempts to write history-minus-the-truth only end up highlighting the gaps. Human resistance to oppression will endure -- and those who endure will ultimately have the say in what history records.

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