2010-11-07

Recordando a Howard Zinn

Recordando a Howard Zinn

Hoy, en un poco frecuente momento de ocio y descanso, recordaba cuánto disfrutaba leer las obras que nos regaló el historiador estadounidense Howard Zinn. Recordé cómo cada vez que leía sus libros y ensayos, o cuando acudía a alguna de sus charlas, recibía una inyección de energía producto de un análisis histórico riguroso y sin rodeos, combinado magistralmente con una dosis adecuada de reconocimiento de los logros de la humanidad y la solidaridad, y del impresionante y refrescante optimismo que caracterizaba al profesor Zinn. Tal y como lo expresó Noam Chomsky luego de la muerte del profesor Zinn (la cual comentamos en un
hace poco menos de un año), “He[] changed the conscience of America in a highly constructive way. I really can't think of anyone I can compare him to in this respect."

Así que decidí comenzar hoy mismo a releer el clásico del profesor Zinn A People’s History of the United States. Igual decidí compartir aquí un extracto del primer capítulo del libro, el cual ilustra nítidamente el estilo de Zinn que, a mi juicio, hace que la experiencia de consumir sus obras sea una tan fascinante.
My point is not that we must, in telling history, accuse, judge, condemn [historical figures] in absentia. It is too late for that; it would be a useless scholarly exercise in morality. But the easy acceptance of atrocities as a deplorable but necessary price to pay for progress (Hiroshima and Vietnam, to save Western civilization; Kronstadt and Hungary, to save socialism; nuclear proliferation, to save us all)--that is still with us. One reason these atrocities are still with us is that we have learned to bury them in a mass of other facts, as radioactive wastes are buried in containers in the earth. We have learned to give them exactly the same proportion of attention that teachers and writers often give them in the most respectable of classrooms and textbooks. This learned sense of moral proportion, coming from the apparent objectivity of the scholar, is accepted more easily than when it comes from politicians at press conferences. It is therefore more deadly. …
"History is the memory of states," wrote Henry Kissinger in his first book, A World Restored, in which he proceeded to tell the history of nineteenth-century Europe from the viewpoint of the leaders of Austria and England, ignoring the millions who suffered from those statesmen's policies. From his standpoint, the "peace" that Europe had before the French Revolution was "restored" by the diplomacy of a few national leaders. But for factory workers in England, farmers in France, colored people in Asia and Africa, women and children everywhere except in the upper classes, it was a world of conquest, violence, hunger, exploitation-a world not restored but disintegrated.
My viewpoint, in telling the history of the United States, is different: that we must not accept the memory of states as our own. Nations are not communities and never have been, the history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interest (sometimes exploding, most often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex. And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.
My point is not to grieve for the victims and denounce the executioners. Those tears, that anger, cast into the past, deplete our moral energy for the present. And the lines are not always clear. In the long run, the oppressor is also a victim. In the short run (and so far, human history has consisted only of short runs), the victims, themselves desperate and tainted with the culture that oppresses them, turn on other victims.
Still, understanding the complexities, this book will be skeptical of governments and their attempts, through politics and culture, to ensnare ordinary people in a giant web of nationhood pretending to a common interest. ...
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4 comentarios:

David dijo...

La obra de Zinn permanece, como permanecerá la de Chomsky cuando nos deje. ¿Pero cuál es esa América y su conciencia a la que se refiere Chomsky? Por muy valiosas que son las lecciones del fallecido profesor, ¿a cuántos llegó? Los EEUU se encuentran empantanados en su guerra más larga, la lucha sindical se marchita y como en otros países, la xenofobia va en aumento. Espero que estas obras lleguen a una mayoría pero eso será algún día lejano. La gotas deben primero horadar las piedras del miedo y la indiferencia, que son enormes. salud y suerte

Beato dijo...

Sus obras se pueden conseguir en linea:
http://www.indymedia.org/media/2006/02/832574.pdf
Lei pedazos de People's History of the United States. Quizas ahora le pueda dar una releida...

Myrisa dijo...

Gracias, Beato, por el enlace. Encontramos también otro con un tipo más familiar: http://www.historyisaweapon.com/zinnapeopleshistory.html. A People's History sigue siendo una obra maravillosa y es igual de maravilloso que se pueda leer en línea. Lo colocamos en la columna de la derecha y en "Paísciego recomienda".

franco dijo...

hola!!!!

desde argentina queria dicirte que tienes muy buena info y un agradable blog.

saludos y sigue asi con todos tus proyectos