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Old Friday, July 08, 2011
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Default Written essays on various topics

Most of the history is guessing rest just prejudiced.

· Scientific age’s dilemma
· The politics of anthropologists, sociologists and historians.
· Physical calibration doctrine
· Technological development used as a yard stick to establish supremacy.
· The criterion of being advanced and primitive
· The spread of civilization doctrine and the conquering empires.
· From Mesopotamia to the Great Britain; linear depiction of history.
· Corollary’s ideal that if it was white it must have been great
· Denial of American history.
· Language a tool in the hands of historians; stereotyping.
· Polarization
· Renaming; oppressor and t he oppressed.
· Degradation of meaning by the historians.
· Double-think strategy applied to history to achieve certain golas.
· Power of images
· Religion and the historians
· Concealed prejudice of the historians aimed at the public.
· Print and electronic media, entertainment cinemas, art catalyst of the subjectivity of the historians.
· A new multidisciplinary approach to history.

The present age is the child of empiricism. Based on the scientific method guessing and hypothesis is just the beginning, only after testing the proposition is either established as a proven fact or is discarded in the absence of any proof. Though intangibles become an exception in this regard yet an objective unbiased approach is adopted to determine them. However, what has been found is quite contrary, element of prejudice has always been found in the first step of formation of the hypothesis leading to myopic conclusions and findings. Because of such fault lines one has to rely on his or her senses, observations, findings and unverified knowledge of the matters to gain knowledge about historical facts and figures. Various doctrines, theories, recorded history alongwith double fold meanings behind language, images, renaming and distortion of meanings is quintessential to this dark side of past’s portrayal.

The victims of the twisted history face the biasness of the historians, anthropologists, sociologists mostly because of the colonial, expansionist attitudes towards certain parts of the world. Edward Said’s eloquent description of such attitudes in Orientalism has elucidated the politics of the oppressors, the facts how the colonized became ‘us’ and the colonized ‘them’ with the self proclaimed white man’s burden to mould the world by any means. Every aspect of history no matter how people have tried to report it has neglected the rights of the historic subjects by only showing one side of the story.

In physical calibration doctrine white anthropologists treat people as racial specimens, measuring "cephalic indices" and attempting to prove superiority of the "white" brain. Racist terminology: "prognathism," "platyrhiny," "steatopygous," "sub-Egyptian." Mug-shot lineups of "the Veddan female," "Arapaho male, "Negroid type," "Mongoloid specimen" characterize this approach. Out of favor in the mid-20th-century, it has enjoyed a revisionist comeback with sociobiology and works claiming racial differentials in intelligence, such as "The Bell Curve." Heart of darkness is the depiction of such biasness from the writers like Joseph Conrad.
Then there is technological calibration doctrine that Insists on forcing archaeological finds as well as living cultures into a grid of "development" based on whether tools, materials and techniques valued by "Western" scholars were in use. Example they use are like : "They were a stone age civilization who never discovered the wheel!". Hence to the white protagonist in Robinson Crusoe the knowledge of the technology gave him an edge over the Africans fighting with spears. This model forces cultures into a progressional paradigm: Old and New Stone Ages, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Industrial Revolution, Space Age. This classification ignores the complexity of culture, and the fact that metallurgic technology and military might are not the ultimate measure of advanced culture and therefore, cannot be the criterion for one’s supremacy over the other.
The assumption that "primitive" cultures represent lower "stages" in historical evolution, and have yet to attain advanced forms of culture is what is known as the stages of development doctrine. One English scholar referred to "the child-races of Africa" based on such standards. Usually, social hierarchy, militarization and industrialization are taken as prime measures of "advanced" civilization. In the 19th century, scholars openly used the terms "savage," "barbarian," "civilized." Though these offensive words have mostly been dropped, the underlying assumptions are still quite influential. That’s the reason writers like Chinua Achebe took the power of pen in their hand and demonstrated difference in culture does not mean one nation is primitive to the other. His Things fall Apart , addresses the issues by drawing a binary opposition between the ‘whites’ and the prejudiced depiction of the Africans in history
The spread of civilization doctrine is another effort to demoralize nations. It Credits all achievements to conquering empires, assuming their superiority in science, technology, and government. Adherents are usually incapable of perceiving advanced earth-friendly systems of land management, agronomy, medicine, collective social welfare networks, healing, astronomical knowledge, or profound philosophical traditions among peoples considered "primitive" by dominant "Western" standards. Iraq is a very recent example of such believes where America invaded to liberate them, though Iraq had been the centre of all the knowledge that later became the base of the modern sciences.
Passing of the torch doctrine claims a chain of cultural transmission from Mesopotamia and Egypt to Greece to Rome to western Europe to the USA, leaving vast gaps where the history of the rest of the world should be. And the discussion never returns to Egypt or Iraq to consider what happened there after the fall of their ancient empires. Most of the planet's cultures are discussed only in relation to the European conquest, if mentioned at all. As a result, few people have any idea of the history of Sumatra, Honduras, Niger, Ecuador, Mozambique, Ohio, Hokkaido, and Samoa.
If advanced science, art, or architecture is found in Africa or South America, then Phoenecians, Greeks, Celts, Vikings must be invoked to explain their presence. This bias gives rise to a pronounced tendency to date American or African cultures later than warranted, and as a result dating for these regions is constantly having to be revised further back into the past as evidence of greater antiquity piles up.
Corollary’s ideal that if it was white it must have been great is the reason that the conqueror Charlemagne was a great man, in spite of his genocidal campaign against the Saxons, but the Asian conquerors Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan were simply evil. Stereotypes of cannibals are always pictured as the Africans. However, no one mentions with that the recorded evidence of cannibalism in the West. After all the deliberate efforts to deny any goodness in the ‘others’ the approach the historians take is the one that if it was not white, and its greatness is undeniable, then it must be deprecated in some way. The Epic of Man, published in the '60s by Time/Life Books, says of the advanced civilization of ancient Pakistan: "It is known that a static and sterile quality pervaded Indus society." Likewise, It used to be the academic fashion to call ancient Egypt a "moribund" civilization which "stifled creativity." Similar writings dismissed the "Incas" (Quechua) as "totalitarian," or the Chinese as "isolated" and "resistant to change," though China is emerging as the next Super power.
The bering strait doctrine insists that all indigenous American peoples came across a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska, filtering down through Central America into South America. Problem: numerous archaeological sites in the Americas predate any possible Bering Strait migration by many thousands of years. Access from Alaska to the rest of North America was blocked for millennia by two great ice sheets that covered Canada. A narrow opening that might have allowed passage appeared much too late (about 13,500 years ago) to explain the growing evidence that people were living in both North and South America much earlier than these "first" migrations.By 1997-98, the tide of opinion began to turn: several scientific conclaves declared that a majority of attending scholars rejected the Bering Strait theory as a full explanation of how the Americas were peopled. The long-doctrinal hypothesis of Clovis hunters as the first immigrants is crumbling before the new dating, as hundreds of pre-Clovis sites pile up: Cactus Hill, Virginia (13,500 BP); Meadowcroft Rock Shelter in Pennsylvania (14,000 - 17,000 Before Present); Monte Verde (13,500 BP); Pedra-Furada, Brazil (15,000 BP, and possibly as old as 32,000 BP).
Bering Strait diehards discount the oral histories of indigenous Americans. In spite of the huge diversity among the American peoples and differences between most Americans and east Asians, all are declared to be of "Mongoloid racial origin." After the initial press stampede declaring "Kennewick Man" to be "white," study of the genetic evidence shows something entirely different. Instead, it appears that there have been several waves of migration: from central China, from the ancient Jomon culture of Japan, from south Asia or the Pacific islands. And "Luzia," an 11,500-year-old female skeleton in Brazil "appeared to be more Negroid in its cranial features than Mongoloid," in the stodgy anthropological terminology of the New York Times (Nov 9, 1999). (Actually she most closely resembles aboriginal Australians.) But there is also a uniquely North American X-haploid group of mitochondrial DNA, which has yet to be explained.
Language is a tool used by the historians to further deviate form the truthful depiction of history. Stereotyping entire people as mad, uncontrollable threats; "Wild Indians", "Yellow Hordes" or "the Yellow Peril." as inferior nonhumans: "primitives", "savages", "gooks", "niggers", terms used not only against African-Americans, but also by 18th-century English colonizers of Egypt and India. Even the word "natives," which originally meant simply the people born in a country and by extension the aboriginal inhabitants took on heavy racist coloration as an inferior ‘Other’.
"Scientific thought" vs. "primitive belief"; "undeveloped" vs "civilized"; or "the world's great religions" vs. "tribal superstitions," "cults," "idolatry" or "devil-worship” is how the world has been unjustly polarized. Depending on where it was created, a sculpture could either be described by the masters of prejudice as a "masterpiece of religious art" or an "idol," "inspirational," or "devil".

Renaming the oppressed to further demoralize them has always been the norm where historians aid the purpose of the oppressors. Dutch colonists called the Khoi-khoi people "Hottentots" (stutterers). Russians called the northwest Siberian Nentsy "Samoyed" (cannibals). These are blatant examples, but many nationalities are still called by unflattering names given by their enemies: "Sioux" (Lakota); "Miao" (Hmong); "Lapps" (Saami); "Basques" (Euskadi); "Eskimos" (Inuit). European names have replaced the originals in many places: Nigeria, Australia, New Caledonia, New Britain, etc. History mentions the name without mentioning why they were changed or the true reasons behind this act.

Degradation of meaning by the historical recordings further adds to their biasness. "Mumbo jumbo" has become a cliché signifying meaningless superstitions, but it comes from a Mandinke word -- mama dyambo . fanaticism had been associated with the negative connotations to suppress the muslims, when found that religion of muslims actually asks for that then new coinage was inculcated into the minds as terrorists and extremists. One mentions a terrorist and only the Muslims come to one’s mind though world daily caters with the terrorists of all casts and creeds. "Fetish" now connotes an obsessive sexual fixation, but originated as a Portuguese interpretation of sacred West African images as "sorcery" (feitição). The holy city of Islam is often used in phrases like "a Mecca for shoppers." To destroy the feeling of sanctity associated with that.
Conquest becomes "unification," "pacification", "opening up," “liberation” and conquered regions are dubbed "protectorates." The convention is to use Europe as the standard, writing texts from the viewpoint of the conquerors and colonizers. In Iraq all the local literature has been burnt, teachers kidnapped or killed. Newspapers printed with an agenda, radios broadcasting what the colonizers want the people to listen thus narrating event to lay down base for another era of prejudiced history. Likewise, a rebellion against English rule in the sub-continent was termed the "Indian Mutiny." A peculiarity of this thinking is the tendency to refer to times of bloody invasions and enslavement with respectful nostalgia, as in The Golden Age of Greece and The Glory That Was Rome, or How the West Was Won. British subjugation of southern Nigeria is recast as The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger. Following Machiavelli’s’ Prince has always been the driving force of the Western politics. So with the help of that Double-think West finds ways to recast genocide as regrettable but necessary, due to failings of the people being killed, who are somehow unable to "adapt." Distancing the agent is key here, obscuring the violence with the idea that some kind of natural process is at work is how the subjective history presents the horrors.
Religion couldn’t escape the discriminatory historians. Bible had deliberately been altered, some old pages have been found in the caves of Egypt that tell a whole new version of Christianity, books like Davinci Code are banned for the reason that no one should guess the foul play. Religions like Islam are associated with violence and bloodshed. Historic events like the reign of the Mughals are portrayed as the cruelest eras. Very few people describe the truth.
Power of images is another undeniable factor that explains the subjectivity of the ones that depict history and leave a mark on the lives of the people for decades. Hollywood tom-toms beat as fake Indians jump up and down, uttering brainless cries and grunts. There's the "squaw" complex in literature and cinema, the faithful Indian sidekick, and Robinson Crusoe's "Man Friday." John Wayne as the Western movie hero, saying: "There's humans and then there's Comanche”. The actor tried to justify the settler theft of Indian countries later as "There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves."
Tarzan; a white man goes up against witch doctors and eye-rolling African chiefs. The Caribbean is shown as full of fearful, superstitious natives and zombies, Arabs who have nothing to do all day but loll around in harems, or cheat with the white hero. Seductive Suzie Wongs, thieving Mexicans, and shiftless and sexually insatiable African-Americans along with the Chinese as obsequious and deceitful, Arabs as treacherous, Africans as ignorant and barbaric, is all the history had been telling.
A reader who might react negatively to a blatant expression of racism often misses perceiving one cloaked in scholarly language. In assumptions, judgments and misinformation most people have not been educated to catch the deceitful lies. It does not occur to many people to question a pronounced overemphasis on Europe, the smallest continent. If a chapter or two on African and Asian history is inserted in a textbook, publishers go ahead and call it a world history. Typically, media depictions of history have not caught up with information now available in specialized academic sources, and continue to present the old stereotypes and distortions as fact. V.S.Naipaul’s Among the believer is a deliberate scholarly distortion of history in a fiction, to effect the ignorant minds of the readers.
In the early '90s a hue and cry was raised in the national media against "multiculturalism" giving rise to Xenophobia. It threatened the very foundations of Western Civilization, explained an outpouring of magazine articles and newspaper columns which shed much heat but little light. A Newsweek cover blared: "THOUGHT POLICE: There's a 'Politically Correct' Way to Talk About Race, Sex and Ideas. Is This the New Enlightenment -- Or the New McCarthyism?" As if this wasn't heavy-handed enough, it adds a warning, "Watch What You Say." Further elucidated by William A. Henry that, "In U.S. classrooms, battles are flaring over values that are almost a reverse image of the American mainstream. As a result, a new intolerance is on the rise." Something which is a clear evidence of what the prejudiced history is doing to the initiators of this genre. On the other hand anything that discusses Muslim ideology is labeled under the literature of hate. All the western media , the debates, the discussions, the documentaries promote only one thing; that is hate against the Muslims, so much so that the Israeli kids kissed the missiles fired that the Lebanese in the recent war killing innocent children, men women.
In the last half century, the boundaries of "acceptable" history have been expanded by a multidisciplinary approach, including sources previously dismissed, such as the orature (oral tradition), linguistics, anthropology, social history, art, music and other cultural sources. More recently, the social locations of historians have come under consideration as a factor shaping their perspectives, along with a sense that there is no absolutely "objective" view of history. Past claims of objectivity have biases clearly visible today, notably in siding with European settlers and slavers against non-Christian cultures, and the almost total eclipse of female acts and experience from historical accounts.
Comparative literature originated and gained momentum by the ones who not only guessed but with proofs came forward to actually fight this prejudiced aspect of history*.As the colonizers have succeeded to make English an international language, the writers write in the language of the colonizers to assert back. Yet the process is a slow one in the world where the societies are under a new attack attired with new names of democracy, tolerance and liberation in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Pakistan.
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