For the past week America has been busy. Busy burning flags, editing them out of movies, removing references to Confederate flags, getting ready to demolish statues and rename the streets named after the Confederate leaders.
Why? It follows the tragedy of the shooting at Charleston church. The shooting suspect has been seen in a photo holding the Confederate flag.
Is the Confederate flag a symbol of racism? Maybe. Does is have anything to do with the church shooting, or the murder of blacks in America that seems to be an everyday occurrence? I doubt it.
In fact, of all blacks murdered in USA in 2013, over 90% were killed by other blacks. So we are not looking at wide-spread, racially motivated phenomenon here.
My first thought when I’ve heard about this idea of editing the flag out of history – “It’s just like Orwell’s 1984!” Not really surprising, considering the current political climate in America.
My second thought was – why is it, that displaying an ISIS flag, or a Hezbollah flag is perfectly fine, and Amazon selling ISIS flag, but removing Confederate flag is also fine with everyone – apparently it’s all about the “freedom of speech” and “freedom of expression”, but displaying a Confederate flag is suddenly an act of evil?
On emotional level I can understand the reaction. Innocent people dying is an ugly, horrifying event. An event that is sure to affect people’s ability to think rationally. However it should never result in us erasing our collective history. It’s amazing though, how often we engage in this kind of destruction of our history.
From the Tatars burning orthodox churches of Russia and Ukraine to the Communists destroying everything related to the Tsar family, to the current Ukrainian government destroying statues of Lenin and all things Commy, to the ISIS destroying mosques in Syria, to the Americans destroying their history of slavery, the story is always the same. Regardless of who’s holding the torch (or controls the demolition ball), from Golden Horde to the Communists, from Nazis to terrorists, from Whites to Blacks to Yellow, we are all engaged in one common action – destruction of the history of the humanity.
So maybe next time we stumble across something “offensive” or “undesirable” from our past, before we start looking for matches, I suggest we stop for a minute and think not about “here” and “now”, but about how erasing this particular part of our past will affect our future.
Our history, good or bad is what brought us here. Just like a tree cannot grow without its roots, the humanity cannot move forward without knowing its history.