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Kevan Furbank column: Trouble with our history.


TEACHERS are getting worked up over how to teach the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The problem is that there is no shared version of the past. In other words, history is so skewed by prejudice and bigotry that it's virtually impossible to identify the truth about what has happened here.

As a writer more skilled and successful than I once noted, a lie goes halfway round the world before Truth has got its boots on.

Channel 4 is about to show a programme recreating the lives of the citizens of Pompeii. Y'know, the ones who were covered in volcanic ash nearly 2,000 years ago.

We don't know precisely how they lived but using shards of pottery and dirty murals historians can give a flavour of their life.

And they will do so without having to appease the sensibilities of Protestants, Catholics or any followers of the cult of Isis. It will be as close to the truth as we can get after 2,000 years.

Perhaps that's the problem with the Troubles. They are too close. Some may say they are still living through them.

The only way in which we can can hope to teach the truth about the Troubles is when there's no one left alive who actually remembers them.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 27, 2002
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