It’s generally understood that the victor in any battle or struggle gets to tell their story, their version of what happened. This story becomes the history of what happened, what is published in history textbooks and what is passed on from one generation to the next. That this happens is justice and truth denied and is fodder for grand tales of conquest and victory, for propaganda. A counter narrative to that story would be the version of events told by the loser in this hypothetical battle, a version of events perhaps more closely aligned with the truth.
Books could be written on this topic and thus, I’m only going to briefly discuss several examples.
Mexico and Spain
Mexico’s great new president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has launched a new program to begin teaching history again, real history, to tell the real story of what happened in and to Mexico. Through widespread ignorance and lack of basic historical knowledge, brought about by decades of corruption, the jailing of educators and the destruction of the public education system and its privatization during the NeoLiberal period’s ‘Educational Reforms’, the deliberate media blackout and silence during the Calderon Administration that turned Mexico into a mass grave, combined with the rest of Neoliberalism’s tyranny during that period in the country’s history, along with the corrosive influence of its immediate neighbor to the north, the US, Mexico continues to suffer.
One of AMLO’s main objectives is to teach the real history of the Spanish Conquista and what really happened to the Aztecs and the Indigenous peoples of Mexico. Through efforts begun by the First Lady of Mexico, Dra. Beatriz Guitierrez-Mueller, a letter of invitation was sent to King Felipe VI of Spain to come to Mexico, to participate in a ceremony of healing, to recall the Spanish role in the brutal genocide committed on this continent 500 years ago -and for Spain to formally apologize for its role and the atrocities committed.
In a classic case of history denied, Hernan Cortez is regarded in Spain as the great liberator who dispelled the darkness, converted the savage hordes, brought Christianity to the continent and ended human sacrifice, fictions quite similar to the fairy tales told in this country about Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colon in Spanish), an Italian sailing under the auspices and flag of the Spanish Crown. This is another great example of history denied and then transformed into propaganda where there is even a national holiday in this country to celebrate the destruction of entire cultures and peoples such a the Taino race in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean region.
Not surprisingly, the King of Spain refused the entreaties of AMLO and Mexico’s First Lady and transmitted his reply through Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez. Five hundred years ago Spain was a powerful Colonial Empire and that colonial attitude persists even today, evidenced by their response. There is, however, another White world-power who isn’t constrained by anything as Spain was by their Catholic Character. Although there is no doubt Hernan Cortez took advantage of the Aztec’s naïveté and generous nature and waged a brutal campaign of conquest, he had limits. The United States, however, has no such limits and their aspirations towards world empire are unconstrained. The United States has no functioning government; full stop! The constitutional structures are in place but are not functioning; the country is a rouge, criminal state with the ability to impose its will with impunity as it sees fit. Their recent actions against Venezuela serve as an example and have no historical precedent and I will follow-up with another article regarding that.
The Aztec Empire was on par with the Greeks or Romans. Their achievements in science, Astronomy, Mathematics, Politics and Governance (they had an advanced, working democracy) were unparalleled, at least in this hemisphere. Accusations of ‘Human Sacrifice‘ by the Aztecs are taken completely out of context and are only related to the treatment of hostile belligerents taken prisoner in battle. The Spanish genocide perpetrated on the Aztecs also saw the complete destruction of their advanced library system, hundreds of thousands of books and volumes were burned by Spanish priests in an attempt to impose their religion and way of life on them. Three -3- books remain out of hundreds of thousands as a written historical record from the Aztecs. The fictional account of the Conquista promoted by Spain and taught around the world as historical fact is history denied with this final action by the Spanish and Cortez, the utter destruction of the Aztec’s written history, their knowledge and discoveries, the burning of their books and destruction of their library system, something Hitler did as he conquered one European country after another was, quite literally, History Denied and a crime against civilization and the world. This is what AMLO was addressing, not only for his people, but for civilization and the world.
It was the thinking of Lopez Obrador and Mexico’s First Lady that the planned ceremony and apology by Spain would serve as closure and healing for both peoples, Mexico’s Indigenous population, the descendants of those who bore the brunt of Cortez and his Conquista and the Spanish people. That AMLO began that process -publicly, was a profound public service to the world and shines the light of truth on the prevailing attitudes and modes of thinking by major powers and how the tendency towards Colonization and Empire remain.
Cuba and the Missile ‘Crisis‘
Growing up during the mid-to-late 1960s in this country, we were constantly bombarded into thinking that the ‘Soviet Menace‘ was going to invade and that war was imminent, lies and propaganda designed to manufacture consent for the unconstrained growth of the the Security State (CIA, NSA, DIA, etc) and the Military Industrial Complex. Suggestions have been made that JFK was attempting to put limits on them and that this was the motivation for his assassination, not the prevailing fairy tale of Lee Harvey Oswald acting as the lone-gunman assassin, another case of History Denied pushed as historical fact for over 5 decades.
Within this context, the Cuban ‘Missile Crisis‘, is another case of History Denied. The lies and propaganda have been so thorough and complete that many, to this day, still believe the Soviets were the aggressors in the Caribbean and that JFK and the United States acted to prevent WW-III during the Missile Crisis (emphasis added here as in all these crises, the United States has been the protagonist, the victim or the catalyst who begins the crisis and then, miraculously comes to the rescue – the ongoing lies, propaganda and suffering surrounding the Crisis in Venezuela is a perfect case in point).
As it turns out -and this is public knowledge but is omitted or never taught, the United States was the instigator and aggressor during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The US had previously installed Short and Intermediate range missiles in Turkey and Italy first, a clear provocation and threat to the stability of that region, the ‘back yard‘ of the Soviet Union. In response, the Soviets installed missiles in Cuba. What did the Kennedy Administration and the liars in the media do? They assumed the posture of the US as victim and target of Soviet aggression by installing missiles in Cuba when, in fact, the Soviets were merely responding in kind to previous provocations by the United States. Again, another case of persistent and effective propaganda and History Denied.
Regarding Naval Blockades, the Trump Administration has now imposed a complete and illegal economic blockade against Venezuela with the threat of a Naval Blockade of Venezuelan Territorial waters, both unprecedented and illegal actions designed to deliberately strangle and choke off the country and its citizens. This isn’t just an attack against the legitimate government of Nicolas Maduro, it’s an attack against the entire population of this peaceful Caribbean Nation. Donald Trump, John Bolton, Elliot Abrams, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross are War Criminals in every sense of the term as they have caused or are the proximate cause of death and suffering to innocent civilians in Venezuela who have not threatened or are not a threat to the United States, its people or interests, nor have they attacked the United States in any way. This is an illegal and unprovoked act of aggression by the Trump Administration against this peaceful Caribbean nation with the sole purpose of illegally appropriating that nation’s oil and natural resources. This topic will be discussed in detail in a follow-up piece.