The Decline And Fall . . .
By Pejman Yousefzadeh Posted in Featured Stories | Foreign Affairs — Comments (22) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Forgetting one's own history through sheer laziness is bad enough. Forgetting it willfully is incomprehensible:
Britain's World War II prime minister Winston Churchill has been cut from a list of key historical figures recommended for teaching in English secondary schools, a government agency says.
The radical overhaul of the school curriculum for 11- to 14-year-olds is designed to bring secondary education up to date and allow teachers more flexibility in the subjects they teach, the Government said.
But although Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi, Joseph Stalin and Martin Luther King have also been dropped from the detailed guidance accompanying the curriculum, Sir Winston's exclusion is likely to leave traditionalists aghast.
A spokesman for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said the new curriculum, to be taught from September 2008, does not prescribe to teachers what they must include.
But he added: "Teachers know that they need to mention these pivotal figures. They don't need to be instructed by law to mention them in every history class.
"Of course, good teachers will be teaching the history of Churchill as part of the history of Britain. The two are indivisible."
Sir Winston's grandson Nicholas Soames, also a Conservative Member of Parliament, described the move as "madness."
"It is absurd. I expect he wasn't New Labour enough for them ... this is a Government that is very careless of British history and always has been.
"The teaching of history is incredibly important," he added.
"If you're surprised that people do not seem to care that much about the country in which they live, the reason is that they don't know much about it."
One is, of course, aware that Churchill had to fight to make himself heard and credible in life when people thought that he was a know-nothing, washed-up loser. Apparently, despite the awesome legacy he left behind and the special and glorious place he carved out for himself in the remembrance of humankind, he is nevertheless obliged to fight to make himself heard and credible again--and this time, from beyond the grave.
A sense of sanguinity in reaction to this astonishing news is partially restored with the hope that Churchill's legacy will allow him--even from the Great Beyond--to place himself anew at the forefront of the thoughts of his compatriots. It's a pity though that this should have ever been necessary in the first place.