JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THERE IS NO MORE HOPELESS EXPRESSION THAN “WE MUST REMEMBER” WHEN IT COMES TO PAST HORRORS   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY INAYAT BUNGLAWALA IN THE GUARDIAN

Sorry, but there is no more hopeless expression in human affairs than, “We must remember,” no matter what the subject.

People have a built-in propensity to forget the painful. It is a psychological-health mechanism.

Americans have already forgotten their holocaust of Vietnam – except for thinning-haired, big-bellied veterans leaving teddy bears at the memorial in Washington.

I say they’ve forgotten because they’ve repeated the idiocy in Iraq, achieving absolutely nothing just as the 3 million deaths in Vietnam achieved nothing.

The Armenian Holocaust is almost forgotten, except by Armenians who have intense personal interest.

The horrors of the Belgian Congo, a million dead, are virtually forgotten.

Stalin’s ghastly terror is largely forgotten. He is rather a hero to many Russians.

Russia’s unbelievably terrible struggle to beat Hitler – 27 million killed and some of the biggest battles in human history – isn’t even known outside Russia for the most part. Americans actually think they won the war in Europe, a sheer fantasy.

America never really tries to remember slavery. There isn’t so much as a monument in Washington to that great shame, and there has never been reparations for all that misery and plunder.

Mao is responsible for as many as 70 million deaths, according to recent biographers, yet there is his face on all denominations of currency in China.

Getting worked up about remembering is pretty much a waste of human energy.

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