Please excuse the unusual amount of dust, the musty smell and the many cobwebs you see before you, or feel on your skin and in your hair if you are as unfortunate as I am, for I haven’t been here in a while and a cleaning lady is beyond my modest income. I’m here though, and I, being conceited as you may have noticed, am enough. As the title would suggest I would like to express some thoughts I have on history. Or rather the validity of it, and the benefit of studying it. Nowadays, it wouldn’t take you fifteen minutes to verify any information in need of verification, any public figure you desire to know more about or finding that girl from high school you thought you were head over heels for but she thought you were too nerdy and now you want to see how fat she became. It’s easy enough, but it comes with the constraint that it needs to have happened in the last century or so. That is if you want the real deal; meaning some videos or at least pictures. Why ? Because other than that it’s only books, articles, chronicles and memoirs, and we all know how unreliable they are, if nothing but for the sole fact that they were written by humans, with every personal benefit, opinion and bias that comes with it. Too many events and historical facts that we thought we knew about, or were taught in schools that if we didn’t we would get a lovely red coloured ‘F’ in a circle of the same delightful colour that makes our parents’ faces as colourful but less delightful somehow, we now know to either be complete lies or have big holes in them in the shape of a truth-hiding-hand.
Since I’m Arabian I’ll start with something Arabs may relate to easily and is internationally known as well. Genghis Khan is well known worldwide as the man who founded the Mongol empire which became the largest Empire in history. Many know how he did that and the many massacres his armies committed in every town they took. No more so than the ones he committed in Khawarzmia. A Muslim empire back then that he invaded and committed so many massacres in, that it was said not a dog or a cat was left alive in the cities that stood up to his armies. So far you won’t find two opposing arguers about it, not an Arab nor a westerner. Now tell someone here that it was the Shah of Khawarzmia who killed and ransacked a trading caravan, killed a messenger sent by Genghis Khan and sent the rest of the messengers head shaven first, enraging Genghis so recklessly that if one of his courtiers had a camera we would have had ‘Rage Genghis Meme’, and you will find him, the Arab you just told all that, astonished. He simply didn’t know. We knew about the Mongol invading the Muslim empire almost since we were able to reason, coming close to memorizing an entire book about the life of the leader who defeated them in high school, but no one has seen it fit to tell us: “Hey, but we brought it on ourselves, you know. We killed 50 of their traders and refused to deliver the killers, then not only did we kill a messenger of theirs, something heavily banned in Islam, but we sent the rest of the ambassadors with shaven heads, just for kicks !!”. Other sources, mostly Muslim sources that you can’t help but feel they are justifying what happened, say the caravan was actually sent there to spy on the Khawarizmid empire in order to prepare for an invasion and that they were caught, tried and executed rather than murderously killed; which might seem logical given the fact that Genghis had just finished invading the whole of Asia with his kingdom finding it hard to stretch more without poking the Khawarizmid empire’s eyes; something he eventually did in a Tyson-esque way, whether it be accidentally or otherwise.
Another popular, worldwide, lie is almost the entire list of inventions by Thomas Edison. You remember the man that invented the light bulb amongst other inventions (1,092 patents) ?!. I wouldn’t test your patience by proving how everything he claimed to be his was actually someone else’s, or naming the people he either taken advantage of, bullied or robbed. His story with Tesla alone is well documented in various sites. Like this one.
Another example is how the western world omits the massacres committed under the name of Christ during the crusades, when writing about them, or mentioning it very briefly as a matter of collateral damage that happened in every war back then; something that, for the first time, annoyed me in Charles Dickens’s book when he shrugged it off giving the impression that it was a war between two equal sides and massacres happened to both parties. Another falsification of the truth, or more like assuming facts that can’t be proved from either side, was the reason the crusades began at all. Depending on where you look it will either be because of the continuous harassment to the Christian pilgrims by the Turks or the oversimplified reason of greed for the wealth of those lands, and there is no way of knowing for sure what happened unless someone travels in time, invents computers, internet and YouTube and gives every pilgrim a high definition camera.
The point is, it’s easy to fake the facts or withhold it so the events would mean something else entirely because our sources have as much greed, wickedness and self preservation instincts as we do, or even more. More because poets, writers and painters were at the mercy of whomsoever was sovereign; and unlike today people of opinion were like white dots on a black canvas and beheading was cheaper than reform and as easy as it would take you to say the word. To make mud muddier, after a king died or was overthrown, his predecessor would decide what to be written about him and what to be omitted. Church officials played a huge part in defacing the lives of so many kings if they disliked them and praising just as many if they fell into their favour. So not the people who were alive during a certain time dared to write it and nor was it documented correctly after it passed. One of my many wishes is to see, first hand, what archaeologists do when they find a historical monument and try to determine how old is it, whether the writing on it, if any, is consistent with what they know, and if it was, how many other measures they take to verify its credibility ?. So many misconceptions we have about most things that I can’t help but think, how much of what I know is false ? How much has been tampered with to mean other than what it was intended for ? How much is fact and how much is interpretation ?.