Historical Revolution

Arch of Septimius Severus

The Arch of Septimius Severus, located at Leptis Magna, is one of the many gems of Libyan history buried beneath the sands.

For the past three years, uprisings and revolutions have dominated the headlines. The Arab Spring and its spirit of freedom touched many African and Middle-Eastern countries, including Egypt, Libya and now Syria. The clash of class, power and ideas still throbs throughout the region. Its people seek to take back not only their country, but to take back their own story.

As Americans, we take our story and history for granted. Simply stating the word “history” brings to mind droning, bespectacled professors bearing dusty tomes. We don’t realize how much bigger history is than the classroom; in fact, it appears everyone but us sees that.

Muammar Qaddafi, when he rose to power in 1969, definitely knew the power of a nation’s story. And that story did not align with his own agenda. So he buried it. He buried it in the sand and in the wilderness, cutting off Libya from the rest of the world in the process. As knowledge would crack his vice-grip, his lackeys patrolled the classrooms, making sure the next generation committed to memory The Green Book, his tangled philosophy which displayed Libyan history in two stages: the dark days of Western imperialism and the enlightened age of the Brother Leader.

By the order of the Brother Leader, Libya’s rich cultural past faded away. Remnants of Italian and Roman architecture fell to be replaced by parking garages. The statue of Septimius Severus, Roman emperor who claimed Libya as his birthplace, disappeared from the main square, Martyr’s Square, in Tripoli. The glorious past of Libya as a cultural and economic crossroads was wiped away with the pen of a chaotic dictator.

But the people remember. They remember who they are and are not willing to give up their birthright – their identity and their potential.

Identity, which history teaches us, allows us to know who we are and where we came from. Without knowing where we come from, we cannot begin to understand where we are going. We, as Americans, are in danger of losing our history and identity; not at all because of a dictator, but because of our own lethargy.

History as a subject is almost a sham. In no other profession is the scholar’s knowledge and research so dramatically different from classroom lessons. Multitudes of myths and charming vignettes choke our history textbooks until they are no more meaningful than a packet of fairytales. Why do we still teach Columbus as the daring explorer, when in reality he was a seeker of riches and made no lasting contributions in discovery? Why do we look away from the massacres our ethno-centric ancestors (and brethren!) committed and still do commit to this very day? Why do we fail to acknowledge the truth of our nation’s mistakes (Vietnam being just one of the most glaringly obvious)?

More importantly, glossing over our nation’s true history keeps “the beast” asleep. The beast of the Republic, who desires to carve out equality for his fellow man, woman and child. Who desires for equal treatment between all races. Who desires his birthright of identity… and thus, the means to attain his true potential.

Because of this, I urge and challenge you to reconsider who you are and where you came from. Don’t depend on your elementary history lessons to do the job – they are as elementary as they are useless. Be skeptical. Observe. Forget about your few years on this terrestrial ball and consider: who are we, truly? Where have we been, and what have we done? And what can we now do, so that my brother, my sister, that all of humanity, may move forward?

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106 thoughts on “Historical Revolution

  1. ianroycefadol says:

    Reblogged this on Ian Royce Fadol.

  2. You must have had some bad history teachers, and I do feel sorry for you in that respect. I am one of the bespectacled professors whom you castigate, and your representation of our guild is unfair. I spend most of my days correcting the errors you learned in elementary school; those aren’t our fault. I also must add that the historical “truths” about American history that you offer as substitutes are just as naive as the “truths” you dismiss from elementary school. The answers are never that simple.

  3. The Dow Free Press says:

    The glorification of Columbus is odd isn’t it? He deserves mention, but his importance in history is certainly exaggerated. I would put his efforts on par with those of Neil Armstrong. Both were the first to step on foreign lands (not even really the case with Columbus), but neither did something that another man or woman could not have done.

  4. “Multitudes of myths and charming vignettes choke our history textbooks until they are no more meaningful than a packet of fairytales.”

    That is a completely unsubstantiated statement. How do you know? You can’t know. While some history books might be of very poor quality, there are some of very high quality.

    “Why do we still teach Columbus as the daring explorer, when in reality he was a seeker of riches and made no lasting contributions in discovery?”

    Well, why do we pay people to be soldiers and promise them promotions and then give some a Medal of Honor for doing something they had no idea they would ever do? Because they actually were uncommonly heroic and did do what we rewarded them for doing.

    “Why do we look away from the massacres our ethno-centric ancestors (and brethren!) committed and still do commit to this very day?”

    Why did we NOT look away from the Holocaust and the Rwanda massacres? Why did we TRY to keep Somalis from starving in 1992-1993? Why did we NOT look away from them?

    “Why do we fail to acknowledge the truth of our nation’s mistakes (Vietnam being just one of the most glaringly obvious)?”

    We don’t. Some do.

    Your “lense” – you “inner eye” appears to be a bit clouded young lady. All is not as bad as you imagine it to be. :-) I recommend that if you can pray to God to help you to have a reason to hope and trust more, then do so. Help will be on the way. It’s okay. :-)

  5. Congratulations – a worthy FP. I couldn’t agree with you more. History is the oddest of subjects; historical perspectives based on geographical location rather than cold hard fact. Revisionist,– often bent to the perspective of the teacher’s time or place.I see history as fluid. rather than definitive.Our children learn dusty old historical timelines as cold hard fact.. It makes me crazy.Sanitized;, politically or religiously correct lessons are not history.History is open to interpretation, and should be presented as such.
    My interest lies in ancient history. Archaeology and science have made mincemeat of textbook history yet educators stay the course – spoon feeding tired old rhetoric to young impressionable minds.


  6. Adam Day says:

    Nice read, thanks for sharing. If you enjoy reading and learning about what God can do for you, then please visit my friends blog and help him get started. Thank you! http://matthewday238.wordpress.com/

  7. While I agree with some of the other comments that your criticisms are a bit inaccurate, I applaud you for challenging the status quo. Advances in Archeology and Geology are causing much of our history to be rewritten but the academic and religious elite do not like to have their credibility challenged. Further, theory gets exaggerated into fact and facts exaggerated into unfounded conclusions by platforms like The History Channel and Wikipedia, much for entertainment purposes.

  8. jlorenzo93 says:

    Love the last paragraph, so much wisdom in it. :)

  9. ManalAllam says:

    Its the same everywhere – Speaking of Egypt where I live, the fight is purely over power monopoly. And in order to do that, power seekers mess up with people’s identity under the name of God.
    Egypt is an ancient civilization that has a unique authentic culture – Deep faith – appreciation for art – modesty – imagination – ability to laugh in the darkest times – reselience – humour – family love..and so many other things.
    Power seekers want us to forget – they tell us that our history makes God angry thats why we should strip it away to please God. They mess up with history – anyone who picks up an authentic book will discover the incredible gap between what they say and what really happened.
    But…the fight will never end – some people dont forget, and I hope and pray I am one of them
    Brilliant topic that touched a nerve…M

  10. richtofein says:

    I guess we have been lucky to be living a phase of history .. which, though very short, has been relatively peaceful .. at least for the new generation .. for most “established” dominant world powers.

    Otherwise .. revolution has always been a “constant” for most.

    Never the less .. nice article :)

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