This I Believe

Adams - Inverness, Illinois
Entered on May 18, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in the power of history and the necessity to learn it. It binds us together and yet separates us in to different groups. Everyone has a history some more than others, but we all have had different experiences that make us who we are. A person can develop into such a complex entity within a few years of being. Then whole groups of people; civilizations are just as complex if not more. Our modern world is built upon the works and leaps of those who came before us but not everything they gave us is good. The past gives us many prejudices and hate for actions that never affected us directly. Many conflicts in the world and foreign relations are based on events that took place many years ago. World War II still affects the relations in East Asia even though more than sixty years have passed. Anti-western sentiment in former colonies goes back to the time of European imperialism. Some people in the Middle East still point to the crusades as validation for fighting. The Americans have a very short history compared to the old world nations and it is difficult at times to understand why people on the other side of the world hate each other over something that happened over a hundred years ago. Too many times have I heard that ‘history is in the past and it doesn’t affect what we do today or what is happening to me right now’ and ‘history has no practical purpose in life.’ Then I ask them why do they hate us? When they attacked us we weren’t over there in Iraq or Afghanistan. Why are we in the situation now? They just said that the other people were jealous of our power and wealth. This type of ignorance is too prevalent today and it breeds intolerance and misunderstandings. To understand the world’s history we can better understand the situations that our world is in today. Ignorance of the past means to repeat the same mistakes of the past by educating ourselves we can build a better future.