Saturday, November 08, 2008

Living dead (or proxying claims)

Some African cultures distinguish between the recently deceased (for whom there still lives someone who actually knew the deceased) and those for whom no such survivors remain. The sasha are those whose memory remains alive in the minds of their friends and family, but once they themselves die, the sasha move to the zamani. (the concept resonates for me. While I lost my brother-in-law 2 years ago, every family get together is a boisterous celebration of his existence in the sasha).

According to the book 'Lies My Teacher Told Me' by James Loewen, US high school history textbooks too often fall into the trap of discussing only history's zamanis, because by definition there is nobody to interject with a 'hey, that's not how it happened'. Easier to avoid such controversy (and subsequent thinking by the students) by avoiding the sasha.

It behooves those of us considering proxying of identity claims to acknowledge the distinction between first and second hand knowledge

1 comment:

Bob said...


If we are to believe today's New York Times article ( a lot of financial derivatives were zamanis rather than sashas too...