Changes in the history books without “nationalism”

Changes in the history books without “nationalism”

Athens, December 21, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

The will to change the textbooks of history without nationalistic notions, states in an interview in the daily “Kathimerini” the Deputy Minister of Education Sia Anagnostopoulou, who after many months of cooperation between SYRIZA – ANEL and despite her ideological opposition for the latter, she speaks positively for them, excluding any case of political opportunism.

Regarding the history books at schools, the minister says that “research and the opinion of scientists on History and how it should be taught in schools must stop being placed in nationalistic molds.”

In Greece, she goes on, national history is considered what some have imposed. That is what they consider to be the national history of the Greeks. For example, she characterises the Asia Minor catastrophe as a great historic event, which, however, “did not take place because the Greeks are Greeks with a specific fate, but is a great national event, because the refugee issue is a big issue in human history”.

Describing the difference between historical and national identity, Anagnostopoulou notes that the nationalist is “obsess with the fact that the exploits of the nation are an ethnic particularity”.

She explains that “the nationalist believes that Kolokotronis existed because he was Greek and because heroism is a characteristic of the Greek nation, while the historian classifies him as a heroic figure of a European period of revolutions”.

Asked about the “secret schools” – which taught Greek during the time of the Ottoman empire – she notes that “whether or not they existed it concerns historical research” and that the Orthodox Church had religious schools.

The minister also notes that in the public history the school as a public good is a product of the nation-state.

For the case of Maria Repousi, who had expressed similar views, Anagnostopoulou confesses that “I feared for the fanaticism that held a person on the wall, trying to isolate her as a national traitor”.

Regarding her position towards the Councils, the minister replies that they did not do what they were supposed to do (fundraising for institutions) and adds:

“In many cases they acted undemocratically on the issue of the qualification of candidates rectors. Often they were unable to convene due to the absence of many of their members abroad, while at the same time within the university was created a dysfunctional dualism between the rector and the Council”.