Wither History?

by OnceProudReginan,

It is often said that history is written by the victors. There can be no more certain confirmation that it is but perception. It is not fact, nor will it ever be. Events happen but their interpretation shifts with time, temperament, personality, and politics. We were once certain that Macdonald was worthy of laud to the degree that we erected a statue. Now, that no longer seems appropriate.

In the USA, their first president was a slaveowner and historians have fought over the paradox of a man who led a war of liberation would enslave and subject his "property" to atrocity until his near-deathbed emancipation of his slaves. That country accepts that paradox -- with the certain knowledge to judge actions of the past with today's enlightened morality is folly. I wonder why it seems impossible for us to do the same.

I have paused at the Macdonald statues many times in my visits to downtown Regina. I have reflected that I live in a country that quite likely would not have existed but for his will and leadership. It is a country where diverse opinions and interpretations are not only tolerated but celebrated. Many of those visits have been on my way to pay homage to the sacrifice of veterans commemorated by the Cenotaph and today I cannot help but wonder how long it will be before some faction decides that one or more of our wars was immoral -- and demands that that structure be removed.

History is written by the victors. But we must be vigilant in whom we let win. Keep the statue in the park named for the monarch he served with the monument to those who fought to preserve it at his back. History itself is reconciliation and reconciliation, at its core, in built on paradox.