It seems the museum directors have decided to arrange the collections thematically, rather than in historical chronological order. Why is this important and why is it upsetting people? Surprisingly enough the Army Museum’s curators have thrown years of Colonial History written by the Colonists away and approached the role of the British Army in the development of the world, from a cultural perspective. They have asked questions like; what impact has the army had in developing Britain’s customs technology and values, and in perhaps the greatest change for historians, they dared to ask, what impact did the British Army have in the political, social and moral development of those countries they used their armed forces to conquer and subdue?
As a citizen of one of those colonised countries, I can but applaud the Museum’s foresightedness in finally, albeit centuries later, admitting that the colonial justifications of “educating the savages” may, in fact, have been erroneous and that the Army was used, to often violently and without fair reason destroy many existing, successful, cultures and societies throughout the world and yes, they should feel some real shame about the history that “they wrote”.
As a proud Australian with proud Aboriginal blood in my veins, I would note this:
The teaching of History education does, thankfully, does change over time.
Funnily enough, I can already hear the apologists screaming, “but, they were just savages – they achieved nothing in those forty-eight thousand years”. To them, I say, stop reading your bullshit English History Books and consider this instead:
Aboriginals knew how to survive in this most hostile environment, in peaceful coexistence for that entire time period. In one of the driest, most desolate lands on earth, these people successfully managed their lives, their health, and their societies without land wars, despite the six hundred different countries. They had all the technology they needed. They did not have a need for the great technological inventions of the British; the gun, the chains, and the hangman’s noose.
One could rightfully argue that a civilisation without land war was much more advanced and civilised than the invading European powers. We have always been taught the first people of any country, Aborigine, Maori, Native American, should be grateful to the British for civilising, educating and introducing amazing new concepts to them.
- Ethnic cleansing – attempting to hunt Aborigines into extinction.
- The theft of their land for cattle and sheep graziers
- Diseases previously unknown to the Aborigines. (Influenza, Syphilis, Ghonnoreah, the list is endless)
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- A pervading sense of failure and inferiority from decades of laws designed to “keep the Abos quiet” while we steal their land, their women, and their children. A “lost” generation of children brought about by the “paternalism” of white Australia who seriously believed that Aboriginal children would do better with white parents than with their own loving and caring people.
As always, history is in the eye of the beholder.
Hope, by Ryn Shell is an inspirational short story of survival from the minefield of childhood. In a stand-alone novel of family love and Australian outback adventure, Ryn Shell challenges NASA's version of the Skylab story. Just a Drop it the Ocean by Grant Leishman is an equally inspiring account of the coming of age of a man