The rewriting of history has become a trend. But, more than offering a new perspective on facts narrated over centuries and even millennia, those who are engaged in the mission of erasing the past and rewriting it seem to have no limits on their imagination. Evo Morales, the coca grower leader who was president of Bolivia between 2006 and 2019, was fruitful in inventions. Morales was so successful in telling fibs that, at least in Latin America, he is perhaps the patron of the movement.
Nothing was more symbolic than the fact that Morales instituted a second flag for the Bolivia, when in 2009 it promulgated a new Constitution, which even renamed the country. The wiphala, a checkered flag with the colors of the rainbow, is a clear invention based on the chronicles of the conquerors that the Incas would have a pennant that represented their empire. Or rather, a flag that united all native peoples who lived at least from Panama to Argentina.
The forgery is so absurd that it suggests that peoples who fought among themselves, who enslaved the defeated and who left no evidence that they were a kind of pre-Columbian embryo of UNASUR lived harmoniously in such a Great Homeland.
In 2019, demoralized and plunged into a crisis of legitimacy, Evo Morales tried to steal the election, let the country go up in flames, resigned pretending to have suffered a coup and waited for the opposition (it should be noted, incompetent and corrupt) to put its foot down to become the victim and recycle its image before the world.
In Brazil, the PT rewrote the history of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva with mastery. The leak of communications stolen by the “Аraraquara” hackers – which, by a mysterious magic, changed the view of the press and the Federal Supreme Court about Operation Lava-Jato – made Lula no longer the head of the biggest corruption case of the history of Brazil to become a victim of an addicted judicial system and a hero of democracy.
The passage between the ruin and the glory of petismo is already too well known to have to be remembered here . The fact that should be highlighted is that, in order to erase the past, PTism had a collective and voluntary amnesia that allowed Lula and his group to return to power for a third presidential term that begins in January.
Over in Egypt, there is a cry for the return of the relics stolen from the country. They want the British Museum to return the Rosetta Stone – the archaeological find dating back to 196 BC, which allowed the decoding of the hieroglyphs. The Egyptians allege that it was stolen, looted and blah… blah… blah.
They ignore that the Rosetta Stone for centuries lay under the sands of the desert and that only in 1799, by work and effort of Napoleon Bonaparte’s army, it was found and started to be studied to offer us what we know about it today. In 1801, it passed into British rule, as part of what might be called the spoils of war owed by the French, who lost it.
The Egypt claims for its mummies and other antiquities scattered throughout museums in Europe and the United States. More recently, African countries have begun to follow suit. In 2020, in the Black Lives Matter wave, African citizens even ransacked museums with displays of African artifacts, claiming that they would return them to their original owners.
These activists act as if some of the poorest countries, often plunged into sectarian conflicts and governed by dictators and corrupt people, had been able to protect, study and disseminate the cultural and artistic wealth of their societies.
As cold as it may be as it may seem: most likely, the artifacts that today tell the past of ancient civilizations and tribal cultures would possibly not exist or would be hidden in private collections.
Nobody with the slightest bit of honesty would be able to deny the atrocities of colonialism. But the period cannot be limited to historical rewriting that restricts itself to negative points and exacerbates them. In increasingly common cases, it nullifies what objectively could never be denied as a benefit.
They look at the past as if history were a succession of errors and violations. Millennia of mistakes and crimes that need to be paid for by those who live today and those who weren’t even born.
The rewriters of history use gall instead of ink. They see the world according to their beliefs, conveniences, ideologies or borderôs. They went (and go) so far beyond reason that the world they are presenting us has nothing to do with the “version of the vanquished”. It is pure invention.