A Calendar of Human History
When looking into the past, the great historian Howard Zinn said, “We never get ‘just the facts.’” We often get glaring omissions and distortions. History is always a selection from an infinite number of facts. And what is selected is based not just on one’s personal interest but on race, class, gender, and other factors. A true picture of the past is rarely achieved, and never by presenting “just the facts.” Historians need the eyes of thousands of people, the ears of poets, a nose for secrets, the hands of a master painter. And by reversing traditional lenses and viewing history through the eyes of the ignored and dispossessed, we gain a radical new perspective. The best historians draw from a rich mosaic of past events, breathe life into them and make them meaningful and useful to the present.
Eduardo Galeano of Uruguay was one of Latin America’s most distinguished writers, journalists, and historians. He was the recipient of many honors including the Lannan Prize for Cultural Freedom and the American Book Award. His groundbreaking book, Open Veins of Latin America changed the way we look at Latin America with its rich and complex cultures, traditions, and diverse political currents. Among his many other books are Memory of Fire, Mirrors, The Book of Embraces, Soccer in Sun and Shadow, Upside Down, We Say No and Mirrors. Of his writing he said, “It’s an attempt to say more with less every time, to transmit the electricity of life through the electricity of words.” He passed away in 2015.