The Politics of History

Before 1990 in Estonia, the Soviet system made the discussion of Estonian history, while not necessarily criminal, essentially impossible. In the 1980s, under Gorbachev’s Glasnost program, Estonians tentatively began to discuss their own history, rather than the red-washed Soviet propaganda that passed for “history.” While the two cases are different in many ways, there are shades of this sense of censorship in Hawaiʻi. I began noticing first on Facebook pages related to the Occupy movement, posts that can only be described as “beyond pornographic,” and certainly not related to the content of the page. Then on my Facebook page “Mooolelo: Hawaiian History” pornographic posts began to appear – because I have to approve all posts, these were in the comments section and were not from members of the group.

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I always try to avoid conspiratorial views, but it seems clear that efforts to discredit radical groups are under way. A recent article stated that the very sense that there is surveillance leads many to self-censor. If our work is in fact under attack, this means that despite the uncontroversial nature of much of it,  teaching ourselves our own history is seen as political and likely, radical. We cannot let ourselves be silenced – or shamed by hackers.

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