History As A Distorted Memory

History as a Distorted Memory

History, it is often said, is written by the winning side. Gavrilo Princip as a hero is rarely heard of and may even be frowned upon by the current lot of historians. He may have inadvertently triggered the chain of events resulting in World War I, but still a lot of unsolved mysteries surround him. It's been more than 99 years now and he is still being raked up on various websites and podcasts. Assassination of the Archduke by Greg King and Sue Woolmans described how Princip "had spent the last half hour wandering the quay before glumly lolling in front of Schiller's Delicatessen". They did not mention any sandwich-eating-assassin sitting in a cafe around the corner. However, things are not always what they seem.

History as a memory may not percolate well down the funnel of falsified perceptions, while memory as history serves more than necessary the purpose of  self validation and justification. Mike Dash on Smithsonian wrote that Princip never ate the proverbial and otherwise sandwich and traced it to a BBC documentary of 2003 for spreading the myth, and the probable origins in a novel. But is Smithsonian correct all the way? Forget all the way, is it correct in the beginning itself with the photograph of Gavrilo Princip being arrested?

Dr. Paul Miller of University of Birmingham and McDaniel College investigates the controversies surrounding the representative photograph in a podcast called 'The Sandwich that Sabotaged Civilisation' and even engages in a philosophical musing about the tussle between memory and history. While Angela in Far & Wise recounts her own story of discovering how imagination reconstructs the past and moulds it attuned to our present perceptions.

Terrorism has roots much older than 9/11 attacks, which have been embedded so strongly in our minds by the incessant plundering by the media. The BBC Radio 4 podcast talks about how that fateful day of June 28, 1914 turned the course of history with the ensuing Great War. Indeed it did.

Gavrilo: I am not a criminal, because I destroyed that which was evil

After all, metaphorically speaking, what was history?


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