Saturday, January 30, 2010

You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train

Howard Zinn was a hero to me. Wise, nuanced and above all else, ethical, Zinn wrote history the way it should be written, unvarnished, accurate and from a point of view imbued with a sense of fairness and justice I have never seen in any other historian's writings. His People's History of the United States is a landmark piece, showing how the US was created from the perspective of the people who actually did the building, filled with prejudice, unenlightened self interest and stupidity while at the same time, showing that the nation created was valid and had real merit. The other quality Zinn had in abundance was the fact the man wrote like an angel.

"After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Zinn published a little piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education, entitled “Compassion, Not Vengeance.” Here is the last paragraph of the piece:"

“Our security can only come by using our national wealth, not for guns, planes, and bombs, but for the health and welfare of our people, and for people suffering in other countries. Our first thoughts should be not of vengeance, but of compassion, not of violence, but of healing.”

It doesn't get any better then that.

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