History Is Written By The Victors, Even When They Lose

Great overview of the flawed ‘warring tribes’ narrative that is deployed to gloss over the unresolved issues of colonialism in Ireland.

[If you don’t follow An Sionnach Fionn’s blog, by the way, it’s time you got your act together.]

AN SIONNACH FIONN

The commonmaxim, “history is written by the victors“, is afavourite one amongwriters and journalists trying to elucidatethe contested pastsof colonised peoplesornations for readers more familiar withthe versionscraftedbythe colonisers. Ironically the quote is popularlyattributed to the arch-imperialist Winston Churchill despite mostsources pointing tothe anti-imperialists George Orwell and Jawaharlal Nehru (respectively, “History is written by the winners” in 1944, and “History is almost always written by the victors and conquerors, and gives their view” in 1946). The saying is especially true of Ireland’s turbulent past which has been filtered through British eyes and words since the fevered imaginings of the Medieval scribe,Giraldus Cambrensis. So accustomed did the English-speaking world become to the barbarous portrayal of the Irish that many ofour ownpeople stillseem to believe in the inherent inferiority of our indigenous language, culture and nationality. Or in the case of the British-apologist school of…

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