Can we learn lessons from history?

What could we learn from Donald Trump?

I recently said that I agreed with Donald Trump (!) that we should not try to rewrite history but study it and learn from it. I went on to say that history teaches us of the dangers of extremism and racism.

Do I need to illustrate that?

I have seen an interesting and moving account of the Partition of India, presented very sensitively by Anita Rani. It showed the terrible effects of mob violence based on religious divisions. It seems to have been mostly spontaneous, unlike the planned genocide conducted by the Nazis just a few years before, but the results were similar. At least a million deaths.

What about the present?

My previous blog,Beautiful statues? Must we be slaves to the past? Could Trump be right?¬†was prompted by the violence in Charlottesville, but many nationalists in Europe and some of our own Brexiters have been exploiting intolerance. It is all too similar to the way things began in the 1930’s. Then there’s ISIS. If Islamic extremism is evil, as we (almost) all agree, let us not react against it with its mirror image. That is what everyone seems to have done in India in 1947. Fortunately, not quite everyone. There were some beautiful examples of courage on all sides: helping victims and trying to bring people together. Learn from them!

Will India learn?

The present government in India seems determined to encourage Hindu nationalism at the expense of all that country’s minorities.

Listen to Mr Gandhi, or even (in this respect) Donald Trump, or just look at history and learn before it’s too late.

Learn the lesson or follow a demagogue?
Is this a demagogue or a warning from history?

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