Is history just a bunch of innocuous cold facts and dates? Or is it something more? What can we learn from the past? History is not neutral. It’s an ideological battleground. Witness the vitriolic attacks by establishment figures on those who want a reckoning of African American slavery. They want to obfuscate that sordid history. Or take the U.S. invasion of Grenada in 1983. What was that about? Or the CIA coup in Chile? Gee, never read about that in school. Elites can lie outright about history. Or they can omit facts that might lead to inconvenient conclusions. The rulers want to keep to their sanitized version of the past and maintain myths about enlightened leaders. Sure, here and there a few bad apples made mistakes but they were the exception, not the rule. Were they?
Interviewed by David Barsamian
Vijay Prashad is an internationally renowned historian and journalist. He is the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and chief correspondent for Globetrotter. He is the author of many books including The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World and Washington Bullets: CIA, Coups, and Assassinations.