Flanders, the battle field
I love History. I always found in it a whole world of unexpected. Like different universe. Sometimes, when I look back into the History of the world, I just picture it like a future dystopia of some universe a hundred light years from the Earth. It is fascinating trying to understand the world of my great-grandparents, even my parents’ is sometimes surprising. But I also find History a clear future, like you are coming back to the future. You are coming back to something that has not happen yet.
I guess this is the meaning of the famous quote of the Spanish philosopher Jorge Agustín Nicolás Santayana y Borrás, known in English as George Santayana.
“Quien no conoce su historia está condenado a repetirla”.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.
- George Santayana
Trying to understand how this people of a century ago is just fascinating. But sometimes, we fail when we tell and learn History: we just tell the Word’s History, forgetting that actually is the People’s History. Is the people who make it real, touchable, approachable and understandable. Is your the grandpa of your grandpa who got lost in that world and your grandma’s grandma who had to provide for 5 kids. When we tell history like some game of chess, the emotion is ripped of it. And without emotion we are tempted to forget the pawns, the victims.
The Flanders Fields Museum makes sure that doesn’t happen. Telling the History through real people stories is the most human hay to teach History. From the beginning it caught me: the fact that you got like a character, someone that actually existed, enchanted me. I really liked that part. Also all the audiovisuals, you can tell their are made from love and devotion for History.
My favourite part was the little films of the characters. It amazed me. I founded myself trying to remember that they were actors and that was not filmed a century ago. I got me completely inside of the story. It is with no doubts a great piece from the audiovisual point of view.
I was also so fascinated to see the real impact in the different cities. The fact that everything was devastated and whole cities rebuild is crazy. That is why not that big cities have so many importance. After the world, the Flemish had to rebuild entire cities, which so how strong are them; every single Flemish city I have visited has that encanto.
Since Spain was never an active part of both War World, I was never that familiar with this part of the history. It is not that I can relate as in the Spanish Civil War. I guess that is why I always felt it like so far away from reality, because when I studied it, I just learnt the political, economical and social issues. I never was told the People’s History, so it made me feel like this dystopia reality, far from mine.
All the testimonies and see how Flanders was devastated made me feel. After the museum, all I wanted to do was learn much more of this part of the History and understand how it affected to the different regions, special Flanders. And I really think that is the whole point of the museums. Making people feel about History should be the main purpose of every museum, so we are truly conscious of the magnitude of what is being told and never forget our past.