Remembering Howard Zinn

by
Abby Zimet

 

Today marks the first anniversary of the passing of
historian, author and activist Howard Zinn. We miss his passion,
compassion, eloquence, insight and unwavering belief that life can be
better if we work at making it so. In his honor, the Middle East Children's Alliance has announced a new water purification campaign for the children of Gaza. The Zinn Education Project urges more actions. For inspiration, hear Zinn interviews here.

From the final paragraphs of Zinn's autobiography, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train:

"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is
based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty,
but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

"What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine
our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do
something. If we remember those times and places - and there are so many
- where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to
act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a
world in a different direction.

"And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for
some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of
presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."

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