Vivir en la historia

LONDRES – Recientemente participé en un debate público con Paul Keating, ex primer ministro de Australia. Es un hombre interesante, un intelectual genuino motivado por sus demonios internos tanto para despellejar a quienes le adjudican un crédito insuficiente a su papel transformacional en la política australiana como para exponer lo que él considera palabrerías y mitos.

Esto normalmente lo envuelve en la controversia, pero puede tener un propósito educativo. Recientemente, por ejemplo, denunció la idea de que los sacrificios australianos en la campaña de Gallipoli en 1916 durante la Primera Guerra Mundial de alguna manera habían conformado y redimido a su nación. Para él, Australia alcanzó la mayoría de edad en Kokoda, muchas veces llamada la Thermopylae de Australia, cuando un pequeño grupo de jóvenes soldados resistió el avance de las divisiones del ejército japonés que parecían dispuestas a tomar Port Moresby en Papúa Nueva Guinea y amenazar al continente australiano. Keating era de la idea de que la batalla de Kokoda representaba los verdaderos dolores de parto de una Australia independiente, no algún apéndice colonial de Gran Bretaña creado para servir objetivos imperiales en el Lejano Oriente.

No me atrevería a cuestionar las sensibilidades de los australianos sobre su propia historia. Me gusta demasiado su país como para hacer eso. Pero las observaciones de Keating plantean un interrogante general sobre la historia que llega al corazón de la sensación de identidad que une a cada comunidad.

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