“I don’t know whether Napoleon did or did not try to get across there and I don’t care. I don’t know much about history, and I wouldn’t give a nickel for all the history in the world. It means nothing to me. History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker’s dam is the history we make today.”
Henry Ford. Interview in Chicago Tribune(25 May 1916)
Maybe Henry Ford was right and life might be less complicated if one elects to ignore history but we all need to ponder the future and trying to work out where we are going is arguably easier when you know where you have been.
The problem with history is it is often in the ‘eye of the beholder’ and with the passage of time facts become malleable, allowing the historian the latitude needed to ‘spin’ events into a convenient cocktail of information that suits a particular narrative.
Our world is the most populous it has ever been and we live in an era of unprecedented volatility because the human race has never been so divided along religious, racial, ethnic, economic and class lines and never has the disparity between rich and poor been so emphatic and voluminous.
Planet earth has never been a peaceful place but with the arrival of the internet and the ‘information age’ the speed and scope of the various forms of media to feed information into the global melting pot is unprecedented. In short more people now have access to more information than ever before.
The problem lies in the ‘quality’ of the information. Those who own and control the conventional and social- media platforms and the publishing houses now wield awesome power in the way they can shape the minds and attitudes of those they inform, or in many cases ‘misinform’. Lenin, famously, and sagaciously said, ‘Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.’ If Lenin had had access to modern methods of transmission of news and entertainment one can only marvel at what more he might have achieved.
Lenin is no more but a handful of enormously powerful people have noted his entreaty and are applying it and it is in the ‘teaching’ of history that we today see how right he was and how effective the contemporary media- practitioners are.
No continent is more prone to historical distortion than Africa. Partly because the written word is a relatively recent development so much of the past is murky and the subject of conjecture and also because problems regarding race are bedevilled and exacerbated by what one population group may, or may not have done, to another group.
This discussion has morphed into something akin to dogma and the ‘Thought Police’ of the politically correct majority are there to enforce a chronicle of events that brooks no dissent.
Unfortunately, we at ‘Ex Montibus Media’, believe history is sometimes indeed ‘bunk’ but only because of intentional falsification of facts and we present ourselves as, proud ‘dissenters’ of the publishing world. While Africa is our life-blood and the core of what we aim to write about we intend to publish what we believe are the facts and not opinions that suit a particular political position. We will do this in books that are designed to tell both sides of a complicated story in the hope we might make a small contribution to the truth and to history and thereby assuage at least some of the guilt being foisted upon innocent millions by the latter day Lenins who have taken control of the traffic on the information highway of the world.