An open letter to history

Dear History,

To say you and I have a complicated relationship is an understatement.  I’ve known you all my life: from my first day of formal education we were already well acquainted.  And I fell in love with you.  

I loved your nooks and crannies. I loved your hidden corners, your fascinating quirks, the little things that made you you.  Because of you I learnt of my continent, the women and men who came before me, who built and conquered and grew and thrived.  Because of you I took a stroll through Ancient Egypt. I saw Shaka Zulu. I experienced the glory of Great Zimbabwe.  The bond we had was magic.

Alas, the rose tinted glasses had to come off at some point.

The naivety of my youth soon ran its course, and I was exposed to your hideous reality.  Wars, death, famine, tryanny, strife, seemingly endless cycles of grief and despair.  I learnt that you had not treated my people kindly.  I learnt that you played favourites – in fact, you still do.  I learnt that your misdeeds, no matter how long ago they happened, still echo into the present.

And so my love for you cooled.  In typical adolescent fashion I put some distance between the two of us. Years passed, and even with the soberness of adulthood, I cannot get over just how ugly and unforgiving you can be.  I know I’ve been taught not to judge a book by its cover, but I’ve seen enough of you to know that you’re no good.

This is why I’m breaking up with you.

I can’t get rid of you – that’s next to impossible.  But I no longer have faith in the so-called lessons you have to teach me.  Humanity has been your student for millenia now, and to what end?  Either we’re bad pupils, or you’re a bad teacher.

So this is goodbye. Because I don’t love you anymore. And I no longer have faith that you will ever change.

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