Learning about Historical Events from a Native’s Perspective

Today was a holiday here in Dublin so a lot of stores were closed and there was no work. Locals said that it is called “bank day” but it is simply a day to have a day off from work in May. Therefore, we decided to have a historical walking tour with Dr. Sylvie Kleinman who is an alumni and researcher of Irish history in Trinity College Dublin. I enjoyed having a glimpse into Ireland’s history from the 18th century to the present while walking around museums, castles and modern places. I enjoyed learning about the language aspect of the country, and how the country has implemented Irish and English as official languages. Also, it was interesting to hear some controversial events that have happened in Ireland’s history that is not common for locals to talk about it to others and even visitors.

It is not common for Colombian citizens to talk about historical events in daily conversations that affected many citizens. For example, during the 1980s there was a huge drug trafficking violent war in which millions of Colombians died or suffered losses, and the economy of the country was affected by it. This event is known by many foreigners because of its main protagonist of the drug trafficking, Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria, known in tv series as “Pablo Escobar, el patrón del mal”. He was leader of a huge drug cartel in a large city in Colombia, and bought the power of many political parties and officials to keep growing his business while destroying the lives of many innocent citizens. It was a period of violence, corruption, poverty, unemployment, war and insecurity that lasted for over 20 years and is still present in the lives of many citizens who lived during this difficult time. Today, I find it difficult to talk about him and the drug war when American people mention to me that they have watched the tv series about him. I don’t feel this is an event that should represent my country worldwide and its uncomfortable to think about his role in society, politics and economics. When people ask me about my country, I never mentioned him because of the harm he caused to my country. If I were to explain this historical event to a foreigner, I would talk about the drug war, the causes and consequences of it, and the role that Pablo Escobar played in this violent event and why he is not considered by locals a representative of Colombia’s history.

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