". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Friday, December 14, 2007

From the New Hobsbawm

From the galley of On Empire: America, War and Global Supremacy; March 18, 2008; Pantheon Books, this from the chapter titled, "War, Peace, and Hegemony at the Beginning of the 21st Century" -- note, Eric Hobsbawm does not write in the first person in the other parts of this essay, or address the reader, as he does here:

[ Frankly, I can't make sense of what has happened in the United States since 9/11 that has enabled a group of political crazies to realize long-held plans for an unaccompanied solo performance of world supremacy. I believe it indicates a growing crisis within American society, which finds expression in the most profound political and cultural division within that country since the Civil War, and a sharp geographical division between the globalized economy of the two seaboards, and the vast resentful hinterland, the cuturally open big cities, and the rest of the country. Today a radical right-wing regime seeks to mobilize "true Americans" against some evil outside force and against a world that does not recognize the uniqueness, the superiority, the manifest destiny of America. What we must realize is that American global policy is aimed inward, not outward, howver great and runinous its impact on the rest of the world. It is not designed to produce either empire or effective hegemony. Nor was the Donald Rumsfeld doctrine -- quick wars against weak pushovers followed by quick withdrawals -- designed for effective global conquest. Not that this makes it less dangerous. On the contrary. As is now evident, it spells instability, unpredictability, aggression, and unintended, almost certainly disastrous, consequences. In effect, the global ambitions of an uncontrollable and apparently irrational government in Washington. ]

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