Learn and teach history for right context — not emotion. History should teach fact, not act as a crutch for patriotism and nationalism.

Now, in this writer’s opinion, history is as important to learning as any other “coveted subject” in the education curricula and culture. In fact, all knowledge — social and scientific — is history.

And from the earliest days of our learning until the day we inevitably vacate this planet, we are all players in the great game termed history.

We learn history throughout our lives as human beings existing within time and space. Life as we live it is a process whereby we acquire experiences from moment to moment. That acquisition of experience is part of the process of history.

All over the world, in lands that hope to churn out adults from the education system with real-world perspective and true understanding of how the world has evolved and works, understanding history that is accurate and simply narrated is the best tool for that purpose.

Enlightened societies are places where people have an understanding of the past, and how that past impacts the present and paves a route to the future.



Ignorance is not a virtue. And one of the drivers of national hatred of outsiders or of minorities, intolerance leading to violence, and even civil and international war is the inability by a country’s peoples to recognise from the past tragic markers in the present. And to understand what happens when the Rubicon has been crossed from what is civil and acceptable to what is unacceptable, dangerous and even genocidal, consider Germany from 1939-1945.

Today’s United States appears to have failed to have learned from World War II and the dangers of populist strong men playing on the worst instincts and emotions of people. Millions of Americans died in that war to stop a Nazi madman.

Today, that history has been forgotten by a new generation who never understood the horror of the Holocaust, the bloody massacres of Stalingrad, or the eternal grief of hundreds of thousands of moms and dads who lost their sons on the fields of war in Europe, Africa and Asia.


Trumpian populism

Many thinkers and intellectuals expect a return to the populism of the Donald Trump days in 2025, and even colossal street violence.

It is important for a country to understand and appreciate its national history, but not because of national pride: It is important because of context.

History teaches how a country has evolved and survived in a world plagued by crisis, suffering and war. And that is why any national history without a fitting of that history into world history is essentially useless: It is history without any context.

Virgin Islands history, for example, makes more sense with an understanding of the migration to North America of Europeans from Europe from the late 1300s, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the establishment of the Spanish Empire of South America, the American Revolution, the American Civil War, British colonial history, and the post-slavery period, with the rise of nationalism and the journey to independence by territories of European powers.



Culture and heritage derive from history. And both culture and history derive from context. Context is the geography and movement of whole societies over the ages from continent to continent, to where the world is presently.

In countries where history has been ignored in the learning, a culture of the philistine is adopted. The ignorance of the past filters into every facet of life, leading to a lack of any understanding as to how the society, economy and institutions evolved.

The younger generations have no clue of the past trials faced by the country and its leaders in decades gone by that led to where the country is today. The significance of past men and women in the evolution of the country, and how the country may have avoided war and tragedy in years gone by, is forgotten.

Some sage stated once that when history is forgotten past mistakes are repeated. On the other hand, countries that remember their history, and that act swiftly to prevent tragedy when the tragic markers appear, save themselves a huge amount of trouble, and even tragedy.



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