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Forum: Gouyave Talk
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Thank you Peter St Paul

A big "thank you" to the magnificent research that Peter St. Paul has been doing on our ancestral Grenadians. Unless I have a scholastic paper to write, I find it difficult if not impossible to sit and research original documents. So again sir, big-ups" to you as the youths would say.

One of the more revealing and interesting articles that you posted was "Myth and History. A must read for WE." From my perspective the most telling point of Gerard Besson's is:

“It can be argued - and has been argued - that all written or recorded history is essentially a form of myth. Any historical account is oriented towards the needs, attitudes and values of the time in which it is composed, not the time to which it refers. Any historical account is necessarily selective, including certian elements, omitting others.
History consists not only of facts and events. It also consists fo the relationships between facts and events and the interpretation, often imaginative, of such relationship."

So-called scholarly works are often praised for their non-bias and ability that separate truth from fiction. While that should be the ultimate goal, I like Mr. Besson did, will argue that it is a goal that's virtually impossible to reach. The mere fact that there are differing versions in History books of the story of slavery for example, should help us to understand that while a fact may be indisputable, how it is told cannot be devoid of opinions, references and yes, myths too.
Read Lerone Bennett Jr.'s historical writings on Abraham Lincoln and you'll be reading an entirely different perspective of the so-called Great Emancipator. For while Lincoln is generally praised for freeing the slaves, Bennett asked how can anyone be praised as a great emancipator when that same emancipator commented that if he can save the Union without freeing the slaves he would do so, just as if he can save the Union by freeing the slaves he would do that too. "Wey he heart de dey?" as we Grenadians would query.

Why is it so hard if not impossible to find that telling comment from Lincoln in most History books that sing his glory? Why did they choose to leave it out? It's not difficult to conclude that the point in the story they were writing would have been impossible to maintain if that comment was included. They therefore had to leave it out.

Bennett's point is that the greatness of Lincoln was that he was the Great Savior of the Union, rather than being the Great Emancipator. Nothing else was as important to him as saving the Union. That was his singular interest. Therefore freeing the slaves was merely incidental to making sure that the Union was kept together regardless of the means used to achieve it.

Another example of facts being indisputable occurred after the fight between Mohammed Ali and the Argentinian boxer Oscar Bonavena. One Toronto newspaper reported that Ali won, but it took him 15 rounds to do so. Another newspaper reporting on the same fight wrote that although it took Ali 15 rounds, he still won.
The same undeniable fact was reported, but two differing versions of the appraisal of the greatness of Mohammed Ali emanated. What then is written History?

Thanks again Peter, for those beautiful historical articles, but an especial thank you for Gerard's Besson's "Myth and History."

Re: Thank you Peter St Paul - by Peter St Paul - Jun 24, 2017 2:44pm