The histories we tell

March 17, 2014 in Mark, Africa, Culture, Tanzania

Growing up in England and going through the English school system, I enjoyed (and endured) many hours of learning about history. In secondary school I remember learning that some historical sources were biased, and so had to be treated with care, while others were unbiased, and so were supposed to be more reliable. Since then I have come to realise that all history is necessarily told from a particular perspective, and there is no such thing as a neutral / unbiased / objective historical account.

Topics that I remember learning about in school include World Wars 1 and 2, the Roman occupation of Britain 2,000 years ago and the English civil war in the 17th century. There are other parts of British history that I never remember even being mentioned (although I cannot claim to have paid attention to every word that my teachers said…), for example British colonial occupations around the world, the American war of independence, and the complex history of Ireland. To this day the only understanding I have of past Scottish struggles for local autonomy from England is what I gained from watching Braveheart a few years ago. These topics do not seem to make it on to the history syllabus during the first 11 years of English school education. Read the rest of this entry →

Technology: hope or distraction?

October 12, 2011 in Mark, Computer, Culture

Much has been said and written over the last week about the life and achievements of Steve Jobs, who founded and ran one of the most successful companies ever, producing technological products that continually pushed the boundaries of expectation. Following his death last week, aged 56, many tributes have been paid to the way in which Jobs apparently changed the world, with much interest also in his philosophy on life, and death.

But amongst all the glowing tributes, two articles have really stood out and made me think. The first is from Eddie, who questions whether Steve Jobs did indeed change the world as many have claimed. Read the rest of this entry →