Others’ Thoughts on The Economist’s Foolishness over History and Memory

I wasn’t the only one who objected to the various arguments made in The Economist’s piece yesterday about how “Memory is not history.” There were several other thoughtful pieces that tackle the issue from different angles. Lillie deals with the false equivalency issue from a different perspective by highlighting the disparities in violence of the left and violence of the right under military regimes in Latin America. Likewise, Mike Allison makes a very important argument about the limits of Truth Commission reports and the periods they seek to “reconcile” even while providing a nuanced analysis that suggests the need to avoid romanticizing the left while condemning the more extreme violence of the right. Otto puts yesterday’s piece on memory in the broader context of The Economist’s often-problematic reporting on Latin America more generally. Steven Bodzin has an excellent piece up that draws on his interview with Ricardo Brodsky, the executive director of Chile’s Museu de la Memoria, that emphasizes both why the museums and memory projects are important historical sites even while they aren’t “history museums” per se. And Geoffrey Ramsey points out how The Economist manages to get the basic history of Uruguay wrong and ends up being “guilty of engaging in the kind of historical revisionism it claims to condemn.”

All are worth reading, and highlight just how many ways The Economist piece fails, be it in terms of history, journalism, politics, or human rights issues.

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About Colin M. Snider

I have a Ph.D. in history, specializing in Latin American History and Comparative Indigenous History. My dissertation focused on Brazil. Beyond Latin America generally, I'm particularly interested in class identities, military politics, human rights, labor, education, music, and nation. I can be found on Twitter at @ColinMSnider.
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