This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Thursday, 20 August 2015

A short history of Siberia: a rant

The books of the historians Antony Beevor and John Keegan 
are being removed from libraries in Siberia.

Apparently the authorities there object to Beevor and Keegan's accounts of how the Soviet Army conducted its campaign against Germany towards the end of the Second World War.

Antony Beevor reports that, under Russian law, repeating Nazi propaganda about the events of seventy years ago is a crime and can be punished with up to five years' imprisonment. The authorities presumably believe that this is what the books of Beevor and Keegan do.

It's interesting, isn't it. I thought the whole point of history was presenting all the available evidence and then attempting to argue your way from there to the truth.

But this seems not to be so in Siberia.

Word To Use Today: Siberia. This word might come from the Siberian Tatar language and mean sleeping land; or it might be named after the Sipyr or Xibe people. On the other hand it might be something to do with sever, the proto-Slavic word for North; or from the words su, water, and bir, wild land (I'm not sure of which language these words form a part) or from a Chinese phrase meaning Western borderland.

Which all just goes to show that, as Oscar Wilde said, the truth is seldom pure and never simple.

File:Siberian Jay Kittila 20100312.jpg

A Siberian Jay, Pensoreus infaustus, photographed by Estormiz in Poland.




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