2003-09-19 / Columnists

From the

By Howard Schwach
From the Editor’s Desk By Howard Schwach

People with an agenda are always trying to rewrite history on the theory that there is no "truth" to history as it is written, only perception; and, usually, the perception of the winner.

There is truth to history, however.

Especially when the history turns to the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

The World Trade Center was brought down and nearly 3,000 people were killed by Moslem fanatics sent by another fanatic who does not like our way or life and the way we import that way of life to other nations.

Period! End of story!

You would never know that truth if you watched some of the coverage of last week’s second anniversary or if you read some of the tripe that is being fed our public school children, however.

We all know that both the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR) are unfailingly liberal, but one would hope that those public-funded media outlets would not fudge history. They often do, however, to the detriment of their audience’s understanding of what is happening in the world.

To digress for a moment on the WTC issue, NPR’s "All Thing’s Considered" once came to IS 53 in Far Rockaway for three days to do a story on the need for an increased Bilingual program in our schools – a program that destroys Hispanic kids but is the darling of Latino politicians everywhere.

They came to Far Rockaway because there was a large bilingual program that and because I had once edited a multicultural education guide for the Board of Education and they recommended me at the point person.

After three days of listening to kids who failed the English test on purpose because they wanted to stay in the program and after being involved in bomb scares and cafeteria riots, they left convinced that the Hispanic kids should be mixed in with the other kids.

When the story aired, however, there was a segment about the history being taught at the school decrying the fact that a Hispanic man (I forget his name after all these years) played a big part in the Confederacy. In fact, he was billed as being "more important to the Confederacy than Robert E. Lee."

He never existed.

Many years later, I went to a conference that included workshops about "Authentic Learning." The theory of authentic learning is that kids will learn better if they can somehow "buy into the learning by being interested in the people involved.

When I complained about placing a Black woman who never existed at the center of the leadership of the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention in 1848, I was asked how why Black kids would want to learn about the convention if there were no Black people involved.

They invented the woman to make the learning "authentic," just as NPR made up the Hispanic man to interest Latino kids in the Civil War.

Now, PBS is doing something similar in regard to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

They are blaming the attack not on Moslem militants, but on us.

The Ric Burns documentary, "The Center of the World," is an example.

As we watch the two jets tear into the buildings two years ago, the voice over says, "In a little less than two hours, with an almost horrifying symmetry, the symbols and instruments of the city’s air-minded culture and of globalization itself, skyscrapers, jets and the mass media, would be turned back against themselves with a devastatingly lethal impact and effect."

Get it? It was not Moslem terrorists. It was our love of globalization that destroyed the towers.

Even the mainstream television outlets seemed to forget what they were talking about.

Over and over, the networks used the word "tragedy" to describe the event.

A hurricane where hundreds are killed and left homeless is a tragedy. The death of a young person is a tragedy.

Mass murder on the scale of the World Trade Center should be called what it is: a terrorist slaughter of innocents who were only trying to do their daily jobs.

When that show is telecast year after year on PBS, those who do not remember the carnage of that day and who get their information from that station, will begin to believe that the American public was somehow responsible for the attack and will not even be told that a group of Saudi’s and other Moslems destroyed the buildings.

In fact, those who go to New York City public schools will learn the same thing.

The official lesson plans that were disseminated last year (who knows if they are still being used), ask the class to discuss the reasons for the incident, focusing on what America does to anger other nations.

More revisionist history from the folks at the Education Department.

Even the teacher’s union, the UFT, has jumped on the "authentic education" bandwagon and is rewriting history.

The UFT was planning a large curriculum project to hand to Social Studies teachers in middle schools.

I went for an interview for the per-session job of writing the material.

I was probably the only one to respond that has actually written social studies textbooks that have been published and that have sold 600,000 copies. I was also the only candidate that had written and edited curricula for the Board of Education for several years.

Despite that, I was not offered a slot because I told the two people who interviewed me that I would not rewrite history to provide "authentic" education. They looked at me as if I had two heads.

How could anybody doubt that some rewriting was necessary to "engage" today’s students?

How dare I?

In any case, the rewriting goes on, in textbooks, in curricula, on radio programs and on television.

Where will it stop? Unfortunately, it will not stop. Not as long as those who write and produce the shows really believe as they do.

Rewriting history is a dangerous thing. Not too many people in power, however, believe that fact.

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