Parallels in personal and national histories

I spent much of my working life as a psychologist and psychotherapist, helping people come to terms with the uncomfortable and often painful realities of their lives and personal histories. I was therefore struck by parallels with the attitudes to our national history as deftly described by David Olusoga (‘My job is to be a historian. It’s not to make people feel good’, 7 六月). The defences are similar: suppression, selective memory, denial, delusion, distortion, myth creation and, for a number of people, grandiosity. In the end, perhaps we as a nation can learn from the experience of individuals who find themselves liberated by finally facing up to difficult realities, past and present.
Nick Barton
Henstridge, Somerset

David Olusoga says “my job is to be a historian. It’s not to make people feel good.” My grandson, 老龄化 13, recently told me he’d studied the British empire at school. He didn’t like it much: “Too many atrocities!” At least his school is getting it right.
Nicholas Lescure
Headley Down, Hampshire

My five-year-old grandson saw the Edward Colston statue 在星期一. After being told the background and that opinion was split, he was asked what he thought should happen. He said that the statue should be halved and one half put back on the plinth.
Lawrence Alpren
Hertford, Hertfordshire

I am wondering why Nero’s bust is in a prime position at an exhibition, whereas the statue of Edward Colston is defaced and placed in an odd position. Both were slavers, both killed thousands of people, 和, according to history, Nero was worshipped by many, and Colston was a benefactor as well as a murderer. Do we perceive them differently? Why?
Anne Williams
Hove, East Sussex

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