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MEXICO CITY: Tepito propaganda and history textbooks

The report on the Tepito riots by Rosendo Rodriguez (apologies for misspelling his name) aroused a lot of interest. Carlos Lopez of Menlo College reports:

"I was there too and I agree with Rosendo, except that there were 1000 police cars and the full force of Granaderos, a special police unit. Evidently, the big crooks had been notified in advance of what was coming and moved all their merchandise out. It was BIG news in the Mexican newspapers, but it did not cause much of a splash worldwide."

Armando Romero sends this comment: "I read somewhere that the Church was to blame for Mexico losing the war (I thought it was preposterous)". I suppose he is referring to the 1846 war with the US. This seems like an exaggeration. In fact, the Irish Americans formed the San Patricio brigade to defend Mexico, a Catholic country. Armando does not say who made the charge, but it would not surprise me as current political propaganda, since the enemies of Fox and his ties with both the Catholic Church and the US tried to break up his inaugural address with shouts of "Juárez! Juárez!", the name of the anticlerical who began Mexico´s official hostility to the Church which has now ended. Ironically, the clericals accuse Juárez of being a tool of the US, prepared to hand over the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a charge long denied by official historians.

All this shows the importance of history as propaganda and of the control of textbooks, which form the world vision the next generation.. I would like to see history textbooks used in Cuba. Now Mexican history books will presumably change. All this shows how important the study of these textbooks is. I have got nowhere in my campaign to promote a library of such textbooks from around the world. Librarians are frightened of the space implications. The Library of Congress destroyed a collection of Nazi history textbooks, and now is organizing collections of books by their size, in order to save space (just like me!). The great British Library is in trouble because it is disposing of collections of nineteenth-century newspapers for lack of space. It had earlier destroyed a collection of nineteenth-century railway time-tables, which social and economic historians would love to have. It may be that the Rosetta project, promoted by Stanford libraries, will solve the problem.

Ronald Hilton - 12/07/00