Friday, 25 February 2011

Fact or fiction?


I'll confess that at first the thought made me cringe. Google refused to come to my rescue and the growing realisation dawned: I may have invented a myth. That is a rather grand way of saying that the lies I told as a tour guide my brother took as truth and presented to YouTube. Obviously, I didn't intentionally set out to misrepresent my adopted home, or to mislead my brother, or his YouTube audience. I still maintain that my information came from somewhere other than my fertile imagination, but I have yet to find the facts to back this up.


Clearly a video about a different kind of tanning booth has great potential on the internet. It was only after seeing it titled and tagged that I began to doubt the description I'd given. Online all I can find is references to 'mills' or 'water mills'. (Now I know which sounds more glamorous; perhaps the local tourist office is missing a trick!) I quickly came clean to my brother about my reservations and he countered with the comment that most official signs he saw in Jajce confessed to unverified sources. No different from using Wikipedia then!


Much as I'd love to sweep this whole, slightly embarrassing, episode under the carpet I felt it a useful exercise in transparency and an interesting example of the issues surrounding much of the history of this region. The truth is out there but often it seems the only sure fact is that the facts are fuzzy or altogether elusive. I doubt I am the first foreigner who, with no ill intent, misrepresented history here, I probably won't be the last. And should it, by some strange chance, end up that my recollection was, in fact, correct I will nonetheless in future remain ever mindful of the fact of my own fallibility.

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