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The last paragraph of my diary is intended to be an ironic twist: of course it is umimaginable within in the white U.S.American political context to use an anology between Osama bin Ladin, Hitler and Jefferson Davies. The point I was trying to make was that no historical analogy actually works. Islamic terrorists, Southern segrationalists and German national socialists are distinct historical phenomenons within a certain time and space. They have nothing to do with each other. Of course it is possible to make historical comparisons but one should always note that the totality of a certain historical situation is always unique and cannot be repeated, unless one has rather boring deterministic concept of history - which I wouldn't share.

So, I would always prefer to legitimize a certain policy with a serious argument based on the current circumstances and not week paralells with a distant past. History tells us how we got here and not where we should go.

But while we are at it, I am willing to accept your points on the Confederation. And since I am not qualified, I do not want to go into a serious debate in the multifold origins of the American civil war.

Then again, I was thinking of something else: The Confederate States was political regime designed to deliver its citizens the right to hold others as slaves on the notion of their racial infiority. This makes it a pretty racist and evil regime, by all imaginabe standards of western civilization.

So why is it, that saying so would still cost you any election in the South even 140 years after the war ended? This is the interesting question. There are huge "undercurrents" in the American political discourse I find scary. If I were to give Americans an advise, I would recommend them to come to a joint understanding of their common past - good or worse. By limiting the official historical discourse on a warped version of the own national history, the U.S. has created an unnecessary gap between itself and the rest of the world: slavery, civil rights movements, the inability to fight poverty, decades of senseless military intervention are part of the historical consciensce of many people outside the U.S., yet seem to be seen as irrelevant inside. Thus, the American political leadership lost the moment it ended to be the worlds moral superpower.

I would recommend an American Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It worked well in South Africa.

by jandsm on Sat Sep 2nd, 2006 at 06:05:20 AM EST
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