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The Enduring Legacy of the People’s Historian

August 24 marks six months since Russia launched its war with Ukraine, displacing millions and killing tens of thousands of civilians and soldiers. That same day, August 24th, marked the 100th birthday of the late historian Howard Zinn.

Jin was a writer, professor, and anti-war activist. His influential book, History of the American People, Christopher revealed different dissenting views on the historical arc of the Western Hemisphere, from his Columbus arrival in 1492 to the so-called “War on Terror”. First published in 1980, History of the People has become a standard text with over two million copies printed. Howard Zinn died in 2010 at the age of 87. More than a decade after his death, his words are still worth hearing in a world ravaged by war, racism and inequality.

In a 2006 speech in Madison, Wisconsin, Howard Zinn said, “War poisons everyone who engages in it. They were supporting an ongoing conflict in the place, Howard Zinn continued, “What did they settle? What did they do?”

Howard Zinn volunteered for World War II and became a bomber. He took part in his April 1945 air raids on the small French coastal town of Royan.

“This was a few weeks before the war ended and everyone knew it was over,” Jin said. Democracy Now! News Hour 2005. We dropped napalm over the small town of Royan — the first time napalm was used in the European theater. I don’t know how many people we killed or burned. But like most soldiers, subconsciously, mechanically, thinking that we are on the right side and they are on the wrong side, we do whatever we want. I thought I could do it and that was fine. “

Howard Zinn visited a French seaside resort in 1966 and spoke with survivors. He wrote a detailed history of the raids and their consequences. “It was… a very good lesson in what you call the good fight.”

In Jin’s 2006 Wisconsin speech, he said: In World War II, I was half military and half civilian. In Vietnam, 70% were civilians and 30% were military. In the subsequent war, 80% and he is 85% civilian. “

Howard Zinn taught at Spelman, a black women’s college historically located in Atlanta, during the height of the civil rights movement. Among his pupils were writer Alice Walker and Marian Wright, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, his Edelman.Jin explained Democracy Now!In 2005, Professor Zinn was again invited to Spelman to give the opening address. said.

Howard Zinn became a prominent opponent of the Vietnam War. In 1968, he and activist priest Father Daniel Berrigan flew to North Vietnam to coordinate the release of the first American prisoners of war held there. When famed whistleblower Dan Ellsberg released The Pentagon Papers, a secret history of the US government’s involvement in Vietnam, Howard Zinn and his late wife Roz hid a copy of the documents in their home. His dedication to peace and anti-war activities continued unabated throughout his life.

August 24th is both Jin’s birthday and Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union. This year, independence celebrations were banned across Ukraine for fear of a Russian attack. Russia attacked a railway station in the village of Chapline in eastern Ukraine that day, killing at least 25 people, including children. Since Biden took office, US military aid to Ukraine has totaled $13.5 billion.

Howard Zinn is not here to condemn this war or any other currently being fought. But through his example, his work, and the enduring relevance of his writings, we promise to repeat one of his central messages on the centenary of his birth. Can: War is not the answer to his 21st century conflicts.

This column was originally Democracy Now!

The Enduring Legacy of the People’s Historian

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