The adage that “it is the victors who write history” in matters relating particularly to war and conflict is something of a euphemism when applied to recent military campaigns conducted by America and its NATO allies. For what is disputable – no, let us say repugnant – about the official accounts of these events is not merely a difference in emphasis or nuance on the matter, which the adage may infer. It is rather that the victors’ version of history is a wholesale fabrication, an obscene travesty of actual events. It is not a case of victors writing history, more one of victors “violating history”.
Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and what is unfolding covertly in Syria and Iran stand out as egregious examples of how the dominant Western powers are not just writing history with a certain self-reflecting vainglorious bias. They are instead concocting events in such a way as to completely distort the facts of history. It is fair to say that in many ways what is taking place is an inversion of realities and language.
“Peace-keeping” really means “war-making”; “protecting human rights” really means “bombing civilian centers”; “upholding international law” really means “committing crimes against humanity”. Accusations of “tyrants”, “miscreants”, “rogues” and “renegades” are hurled likes bricks in a glasshouse by perpetrators who arrogate the privilege to call themselves “civilized, democratic, law-abiding governments”. What needs to be contested, therefore, is not some kind of half-baked history, pitted here and there with flaws and hubris, but rather what needs to be challenged is out-and-out willful propaganda purporting as history.
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