The spin doctors of history and the Bible
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-05-11
It was Napoleon Bonaparte who said that the army with the heavier artillery gets to write history. And so, many people are taught the version of history that has been written by the victors of war.

In fact, a lot of details and perspectives in history books come from writers who are not only biased — they knowingly push the agenda of the victors to the extent that fiction is sometimes passed off as history.

Believe it or not, the Holy Bible has not been spared of the machinations of spin doctors. A lot of entries in the Old Testament were either exaggerated or heavily slanted.

A good example is the largely accepted story of King David, the giant killer and progenitor of Jesus Christ. King David is largely perceived as a great king and a God-fearing man.

A very engaging BBC documentary aired last April 23 over the Australian TV Network, retold the story of King David based on scientific research by preeminent international scholars of Hebrew culture. They included Archaeological Surveyor Gila Cook, Dr. Baruch Halpern, Dr. Barry Gittlen, and Prof. Steven McKenzie, among others. Their findings contradict some details in the biblical account on King David.

We were told that David was persecuted by an envious King Saul. But lost in the story was David’s own scheming ways which makes him no different from our cause trading politicians of today. David had even conspired with the Philistines, the traditional enemy of the Jews. This treacherous alliance with a traditional enemy was what had weakened King Saul and eventually led to his death in a battle with the Philistines.

Neither was David a good or a popular monarch, per the scholars in the BBC documentary. After having sex and impregnating Bathsheba, wife of Uriah, an officer in David’s Army, David engineered the death of Uriah by setting him up to be slain in battle.

King David’s hold on power was challenged by the revolt led by his son, Absalom. Per the BBC scholars, King David was unpopular and was “more of a conqueror than an elected” and he kept his power largely through terrorist methods.

The BBC scholars added that the Bible’s account of David’s absence in the battles where King Saul and Absalom were slain were more like a political ploy meant to clear David of involvement. Thus, biblical accounts that told about a tearful David receiving the news of the deaths of Saul and Absalom were part of public relations spin intended to mask his hand in their deaths.

Many are also unaware that the celebrated William Shakespeare was guilty of fabricating history which was the case in at least two of his plays — Richard III and MacBeth. Shakespeare is a classic case of great literature that weaves fact and fiction into a seamless masterpiece.

The real Richard III was nowhere a deformed creature as that of the “monster” depicted by Shakespeare.

“I that am rudely stamp’d, and want love’s majesty to strut before a wanton ambling nymph; I that am curtail’d of this fair proportion, cheated of feature by disembling nature, deform’d, unfinish’d, sent before my time into this breathing world, scarce half made up, and that so lamely and unfashionable that dogs bark at me as I halt by them” — Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later King Richard III), uttered in the opening soliloquy.

History never mentioned such physical descriptions of the last monarch from the House of York. With the way Shakespeare physically portrayed Richard III, there was no way that history would have omitted the deformity.

What is glaring is that Shakespeare wrote Richard III during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the granddaughter of the Earl of Richmond, who defeated and slew Richard III in the Battle of Bosworth to become King Henry VII, the first Tudor monarch.

Shakespeare portrayed a King MacBeth as a most devious and tyrannical Scottish monarch — as if MacBeth’s death was the dawn of a new great era. Ask any Scot who knows his history about King MacBeth and he will tell you that MacBeth was no worse than the Scottish kings who came before or after him.

Such fiction proliferates in our own history. There are people who have been elevated to the lofty pedestal reserved for heroes when they should be condemned for their betrayal of Filipino national interests.

In US history, they called the Native Americans savages and that justified the genocide of many of their tribes. Here the American colonizers branded our nationalists as “militants” and conditioned the public mind to reject everything that “militants” propose as “narrow-minded, misguided nationalism.”

The late Senator Claro M. Recto, former Presidents Jose P. Laurel and Carlos P. Garcia were among the victims of this US-engineered political demolition of Filipino nationalists.

Because we don’t know our real history, we never arrive at real solutions. We have no real sense of what has happened to us as a people.

How many Filipinos ever think about the incongruous laws we follow — how we reward those who promote foreign interests and condemn those who try to protect our national interests, just as what is happening in the mining industry.

Just look at how many traitors in media consistently promote foreign agendas and vilify Filipinos who are seeking to protect Philippine interests.

We even have a National Security Adviser who admitted in the Senate that he was accepting aid from a US firm — Venable — in order to change the Constitution. In another country, this man would have been lynched.

It is sad enough that, at a time when we are at one of our lowest points in history, we hardly have any heroes. It is tragic when our nation cannot even recognize its genuine heroes and we’re the first to condemn their love for people and country.

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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