Maryam AlShamsi Professor Chocos English 102 Assignment 4 June 16, 2013 History VS Memory So many events have occurred through out the years that have led to significant fingerprints in the history of this world and as time goes by more events are created and more historical fingerprints are printed in history. People living in the time that those events occur might be able to retell the event later on in their life from their own memory or by hearing what people talk about sending only one side of the story not knowing the truth behind the historical event it self. Learning about the past is an important factor in ones life; this is because it creates an understanding of what had happened in the past and to avoid all the negative actions from the past into the present and the future. Learning history could be done through out two ways, one is to learn the history of the past from historians who are specialized into studying what exactly happened in the past from the start to the process and till the end or on the other hand, the second way is to learn from memories from the past that people that are not specialized in the field of history can tell. However, there is a significant difference from learning history from historians that have studied the historical events and non-historians that just recall a memory from the past. Through out the article “Professing History: Distinguishing Between Memory And Past” written by the historian Elliott J. Gorn demonstrates the significant difference between history and memory. In the article Gorn emphasized the important role of historians and how they are viewed upon the people of the society, “Many people in the humanities believe that historians are nothing but mindless empiricists tweedy, seedy and dull.” (646) People tend to now show respect towards the historians and show such lack of trust towards them. On the other hand, Gorn explains the importance of the historians and the power they have into controlling the thoughts of the people. Historians are the ones who are able to distinguish between what is a memory and what is history, they also create a great affect into the society from the way they talk and analyze the past. Each historian could have a different opinion that the other but somehow their opinions have always being edited due to the power of higher positions in the hierarchy such as political reasons. Christopher Columbus has always been spoken about in a positive way to the new generation in schools. They are barley taught the real history behind his accomplishment of discovering The United States of America. The story that they are told is that Columbus discovered America by coincidence and then went back to his country with gold and several people he met through out his journey. Telling a story this way is an example of telling historyusing memory. However, the historian Howard Zinn discusses Columbus’s matter in details and talks about his achievement from another side using details studied from the past. Zinn is one of the few people out there who revealed the truth behind Columbus’s journey into discovering America through out his article “Columbus, the Indians. And Human Progress.” Zinn shows how Columbus abused the Native-Americans and took them away from their homeland and treated them like slaves in order for him to take all the gold back to his country, Spain. The negative impact about telling stories about the past from one side that is recalling a memory is that it creates damage towards the society. This is shown through out the article “Superman and Me” by Sherman Alexie as he discusses his struggles as a young native-American boy who suffered from many stereotypes about his group of people as he says, “We were Indian children who expected to fail in the non-Indian world.” This shows the negative effect upon not understanding the past in the correct way. In conclusion, history should always be told from both sides in order to show a clearer image of what really happened in the past. Memory is the poor side of explaining a historical event that has happened in the past this is because it may send the wrong message or it may hide the truth behind so many historical events such as Columbus. History should always be taught and told in a way of history studied and written by historians who have a greater and a wider span of knowledge and details about a specific historical event. This will create a clearer image of what really happened in the past in the eyes of the new generation.