Why accurate history is important – with These Bodies of Water author Sabrina Mahfouz

Selective amnesia has allowed deep misunderstandings about nations to become embedded in the public imagination, enabling large proportions of the population – including younger people – to see certain types of history as source of pride.

For example, in 2020, a third of people in the UK believe Britain’s colonies were better off for being part of an empire, a higher proportion than in any of the other major colonial powers, according to a YouGov poll. So why is it important to learn an accurate version of history?

Trigger warning: References to slavery, police brutality, colonialism, sexual and physical violence

Thanks to the following guests for participating:

Sabrina Mahfouz is a writer and performer, raised in London and Cairo and working across multiple art forms, including film, TV, opera, dance and music. She is a Royal Society of Literature fellow and a resident writer at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. Her previous theatre work includes A History of Water in the Middle East, Chef and Dry Ice. Sabrina has edited the anthologies Smashing it: Working-class Artist of Life, Art and Making it Happen, Poems from a Green and Blue Planet and The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Woman Write and she is an essay contributor to the multi award-winning The Good Immigrant. Her new book These Bodies of Water: Notes on the British Empire, The Middle East, and Where We Meet is part history, part polemic and part intimate memoir.

Chief Communications Officer of WePlay Holding, Alena Dalskaya-Latosiewicz

John Certalic, who was an 8th grade history teacher, host of the You Were Made for This podcast, and author of the Writer’s Digest Best Inspirational Book of 2016 Them

Counsellor Vanja Beric, also found on Instagram @vanjaberic

Certified Global Motivational Coach Andrea Mason

Here are some of the resources from the show:

The late historian, writer and activist Howard Zinn died of a heart attack at the age of 87 on January 27, 2010. After serving as a bombardier in World War II, Zinn went on to become a lifelong dissident and peace activist. He was active in the civil rights movement and many of the struggles for social justice over the past 50 years. In 1980, Howard Zinn published his classic book, “A People’s History of the United States,” which would go on to sell more than a million copies and change the way we look at history in America.

Books looked at this week:

Sabrina Mahfouz: These Bodies of Water: Notes on the British Empire, the Middle East and Where We Meet

Howard Zinn: A People’s History of the United States

PS. I do not receive commission for reviewing books and talks.

Want to watch special bonus material from this episode? Join the How To Be membership for only £3 per month!

BONUS: Shocking facts from These Bodies of Water book by Sabrina Mahfouz

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Published by suswatibasu

Suswati Basu is a writer, journalist, producer and feminist activist residing in London. She has written for the Guardian, Huffington Post and the F-Word blogs, and has worked for various media outlets such as the BBC, Channel 4 and for ITV News/ITN. She currently works as a senior intelligence expert.

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